Bobowler, cheeselog, dimpsy ... 12 poets to highlight forgotten dialect words
Twelve poets have been commissioned to write poems using local dialect words from a shortlist drawn up by Oxford English Dictionary experts to help celebrate National Poetry Day.
The #freetheword project, a partnership between the BBC’s English regions, National Poetry Day and the ORD, and inspired by National Poetry Day’s 2017 theme of freedom, has searched for unrecorded words used in everyday speech in different locations across the country to set down in poetry.
Black Country poet Liz Berry, pictured, will be writing a poem featuring the West Midlands word bobowler, meaning a large moth, while Hollie McNish has chosen the Berkshire word cheeselog (woodlouse). Other poets involved in the project are Vanessa Kisuule (gurt – great or very, Bristol); Katie Hale (twine – to complain, Cumbria); Chrissy Williams (dimpsy – twilight, Devon); Dean Wilson (didlum – a community savings scheme, Hull); Vidyan Ravinthiran (ginnel – alleyway, Leeds); Toby Campion (mardy – moody, Leicester); Caleb Femi (fam - familiar form of address for a friend, London); Chris McCabe (geg in – to butt in, Merseyside); Rebecca Watts (on the huh – lopsided, wonky – Suffolk); and James Brookes (twitten – an alleyway, Sussex).
The BBC will broadcast the poets’ finished poems on National Poetry Day on Thursday 28 September – and a poem featuring all 12 words will be performed by 19-year-old performance poet Isaiah Hull as part of the BBC’s Contains Strong Language poetry festival in Hull.