New Work in Poetry: Examples 2012

Poets regularly create new work for contexts beyond the printed word, whether for performance, broadcast, monumental inscription, or in collaboration with artists of other disciplines. Details of some of the new work that was presented in 2012 can be discovered below. To stay up to date with the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry visit the main page, or visit the history section to find out about past winners.

Penning Perfumes
Claire Trévien and Odette Toilette

Creative collaboration between poets and perfumers
Date: June 2012
Twelve poets, both well-know figures such as David Morley, and up-and-coming poets such as Nia Davies, were given anonymous scents from which to create poems. Meetings between poets and perfumers were also arranged during which they shared the similarities and differences in their craft and perfumers created new scents based on one of 'their' poets' scents. In June 2012 this culminated in an event at the Book Club in which we presented scent-inspired poetry and poetry-inspired perfumes, all specially created for the event. For more information see the Penning Perfumes website

You Should Have Seen Us
Paul Mills
Moving image
Date: July - November 2012

A fifty minute screen presentation of silent films from the Yorkshire Film Archive edited to combine moving image with spoken text. The presentation, shown at Bridlington, Lancaster, Ilkley and Sheffield Festivals, covers a period from 1908 to 1958. The commentary includes conversation and monologue, imagined voices from before, during and after the Second World War. More information from Paul Mills' website.

Tales from the Bridge
Mario Petrucci (poetry), Martyn Ware (music/design) and David Bickerstaff (design)
World's largest poetry soundscape
Date: July/August/September 2012
A vast poetry installation on the River Thames, written for two voices by Mario Petrucci. Commissioned by the GLA, this project forms a major part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, spanning London's Millennium Bridge from 8am to 10pm each day. Poetry and music combine to evoke the story and the symbolic, cultural and literary significance of the Thames throughout the centuries. With a score from Ware, including 'Water Night' by Eric Whitacre. Find out more from Mario Petrucci’s website.

Your New Favourite Poet
Luke Wright
Stand up comedy poetry
Date: 22nd – 26th August 2012
A new show from the young poet and spoken word artist, featuring eight new poems and an array of characters. Wright explains: “The themes are Britain, the press and good old fashioned bawdy fun”. The show runs for five nights at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information, visit Wright’s blog.

Luke Wright - Your New Favourite Poet. Image credit: Martin Figura.

Ben Mellor (poet) and Dan Steele (music)
Stand up poetry and music
Date: 10th – 17th August
The BBC Radio 4 Slam Champion has a new show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, taking the audience on a journey through the human body, with his own stand-up poetry and music from Dan Steele. Together they attempt to take the temperature of modern life via anatomical analogy. For more information, see Mellor’s website.

Conversations with the Wind
Alice Oswald
Poetry for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing
Date: 7th June – 26th July 2012

Eight new poems originally written for the Weymouth sailing Olympics, and sold on the beach to ensure a good sailing wind. "Each poem is a packet of wind sent by airmail to the reader," says Oswald. The poems also act as a ‘source text’ for others involved in the Battle for the Winds project to use and rework. To find out more visit the Battle for the Winds website.

The Marlowe Papers
Ros Barber
Verse Novel
Date: 30th May 2012

The unofficial story behind Christopher Marlowe’s supposed death in a tavern brawl in 1593. Inhabiting Marlowe, Barber shows us the poet, playwright, spy and lover who lives in exile, but continues to write as one William Shakespeare. A new take on the persistent mystery surrounding Marlowe’s death and Shakespeare’s identity. Find out more from Ros Barber’s website.

Fortune Telling
Aoife Mannix (poet) and Leticia Valverdes (photographer)
Poetry, photography and prose book
Date: 14th May 2012
Collaboration between All Change and Islington Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot Women’s Welfare Group supported by Arts Council England.  Poet Aoife Mannix and photographer Leticia Valverdes worked with Turkish-speaking refugee women to create a book of poetry, photographs and stories. The project was part of In Between, a writer’s residency with All Change, and was launched as part of the Word2012 Festival. Find out more from Aoife Mannix’s website.

Gwyneth Lewis
Play in verse
Date: 18th April – 5th May 2012

Agamemnon has sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to save his people in a time of desperation. His wife Clytemnestra awaits his return and her own revenge. Lewis comments: “It’s been a huge artistic adventure to use Greek legend to think about modern issues such as scarcity, justice and revenge. I’ve known the Greek plays for decades and working with them is like a massive shot of poetic adrenalin. They don’t date and they show the human mind stripped of inessentials...”. Clytemnestra is a Sherman Cymru production.

The Debris Field – Salvaging the Titanic in Word, Sound & Image
Simon Barraclough, Isobel Dixon and Chris McCabe
Multimedia production
Date: 14th April 2012

A multi-media collaboration exploring the cultural debris accumulated in the aftermath of the loss of the Titanic. The three poets are accompanied by original music from Oli Barrett and film from Jack Wake-Walker. The Debris Field premiered at the British Film Institute one hundred years to the night of the disaster, repeated at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July and will be performed in Liverpool on November 15th.  A recording and DVD are in development. Find out more and watch the trailer at

Pink Mist
Owen Sheers
Radio play in verse
Date: 15th – 23rd March 2012
Dramatic poem produced for Radio 4’s More Than Words listening festival in Bristol, and for subsequent transmission on Radio 4 in five fifteen-minute episodes. The poem centres on three soldiers living in Bristol and the women in their lives. All three soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan, and are now coping with the physical and psychological aftershocks. Pink Mist draws on ancient and classical sources as well as extensive contemporary research with recently wounded service personnel and their families. For more information see the original BBC synopsis on Sheers’ website.

Pink Mist promotional image

The Murmur Line
Holly Pester
Sound installation
Date: 14th – 18th March 2012
Part of St Andrew’s StAnza Poetry Festival, Pester’s site-specific sound installations offer chance encounters with text and voice in unexpected parts of town. The compositions use news items reconfigured into a poetic soundscape. For more information on Pester’s projects see her website.

Night Visions
Paul Farley
Radio programme
Date: 9th March 2012

Paul Farley travels into the London night on board a Metropolitan Police helicopter. The helicopter sees the world below through transforming thermal image cameras. Farley reflects on his experience in his poem ‘The Asset’, excerpts of which are played throughout the programme. Listen again on the BBC website.

Liverpool Doors
Roger McGough
Art installation
Date: From 15 February 2012
An exhibition exploring the history and character of Liverpool through stories and memories symbolised by doors from across the city. The doors were donated to Roger McGough and book artist Mark Cockram following a public appeal. Students from Liverpool John Moores University's School of Art and Design used the doors as canvasses for extracts from Roger's poems. More information from the Museum of Liverpool.

It Turned Out This Way Cos You Dreamt It This Way
Robert Montgomery
Billboard poems
Date: 3rd – 25th February 2012
Exhibition reflecting Montgomery’s project covering up advertising billboards with posters of his own poetry. The show at KK Outlet features three new billboards on Old Street, with text referencing the concerns of the various Occupy movements, the experience of living in the city, and our troubled relationship with capitalism. Find out more from Black and Blue.

Rob Montgomery

More Information

Examples from previous years:

Penning PoemsPenning Perfumes: Claire Trévien and Odette Toilette

Still from Paul Mills's You Should Have Seen UsYou Should have Seen Us: Paul Mills

Mario Petrucci - Tales from the BridgeTales from the Bridge: Mario Petrucci

Ben Mellor, AnthropoetryAnthropoetry: Ben Mellor

Conversations with the WindConversations with the Wind: Alice Oswald

The Marlowe Papers: Ros Barber

Fortune Telling - Aoife MannixFortune Telling: Aoife Mannix

Clytemnestra - Gwyneth LewisClytemnestra: Gwyneth Lewis

The Debris FieldThe Debris Field: Simon Barraclough, Isobel Dixon and Chris McCabe

Holly PesterThe Murmur Line: Holly Pester

Night Visions: Paul FarleyNight Visions: Paul Farley