New Work in Poetry: Examples 2011

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 2011 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.

The Cynical Ballads
Luke Wright
Performance Poetry
Date: August 2011 (performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

Luke is a young poet and spoken word artist who headlines festivals, regularly writes and works for the BBC, and tours nationally and internationally with his critically acclaimed poetry. This year ‘Aisle Sixteen’ was published in The Captain’s Tower – 70 poems for Dylan at 70 – and he’s taking The Cynical Ballads, “eight caustic tales from broken Britain” to the Edinburgh festival; sure to be a sell-out gig. Find out more from Luke's blog.

Audio Obscura
Lavinia Greenlaw (poet), Tim Barker (sound design), Harry Escott (underscore)
Sound Work: Manchester
Date: 2-17 July 2011
This new work encourages participants to mingle with the crowds at Picadilly Station, Manchester, while listening in on headsets to fragments of monologues written by Lavinia Greenlaw. The project was commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and Artangel. The aim is to create an audio version of the camera obscura. Find out more from the Manchester International Festival. This work was also repeated at St Pancras International Station, London from 13 September to 23 October 2011.

Poems on Kirkgate
Antony Dunn and Peter Spafford
Public Art: Leeds
Date: 23 March 2011
Leeds' oldest street, Kirkgate, has been improved with poems carved into paving and seating as part of a Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Forward funded project. Of his piece, Antony Dunn says "I hope that my little poem says something about our communal life in Leeds. Its residents, its traders, the tourists who visit for a short time, have all contributed to the history of this street and the wider city." Find out more from BBC News

Sean Borodale (artist) and Jonathon Houlding (writer and film-maker)
Poetry Book Project
Date: 17th-25th March

Greymatter is an experimental artists’ book project whose texts enact the experience of ones consciousness bearing, enduring, or understanding absurdity, trauma, and memory - amongst other experiences. The text is deliberately warped, tangled and hazy; it represents ones interior world without palpable spaces. This inward nature represents the impossible physical spaces of the mind – both of the author’s mind, and of the reader’s. See the blog.

The Secret Loves of Objects Part II: Timepiece
Stevie Ronnie
Poetry Installation
Date: 17th-20th March
The second in a series of audio / visual installations exploring the voices of objects and the way in which literature is presented and experienced. Audio recordings of poems were implanted into three objects: A granddaughter clock, a telephone and a musical typewriter. Each poem was written from the point of view of the object that contained it. Timepiece was designed for and shown at StAnza poetry festival.  

Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster
Simon Armitage
Radio Broadcast
Date: 11 March 2011
Simon Armitage penned new poems (written from the perspective of murder victim Sophie Lancaster) for this drama documentary broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The programme was billed as "an elegy to the young gap-year student who was murdered in Stubbeylee Park, Bacup, Lancashire... Aged twenty, Sophie suffered fatal injuries while cradling her boyfriend Rob's head in an attempt to protect him from a ferocious attack by a group of youths." Find out more information from the BBC.

'Slicing the Brain'
Valerie Laws
Audio / Visual Installation: Newcastle

Date: 14 January 2011 - 2 March 2011
Alongside work by Renoir, Degas, Henry Moore, and contemporary artists, an AV installation of poetry by Valerie Laws is part of 'Coming of Age: the Art and Science of Ageing', an Exhibition at Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, 14 January-2 March. The poetry sequence, 'Slicing the Brain', is screened on a 50" plasma screen, in animated text with synchronised recorded sound. Find out more from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.

Breath Taking: Revitalising a new wave in Glass Blowing
Adam O’Riordan
Date: 22nd January, 2011

The Crafts Council commissioned poet Adam O’Riordan to write a poem inspired by this new, exciting exhibition of British Glass-blowing. The works champion imagination over functionality, and thus explore the medium's possibilities for new aesthetic expression. O’Riordan’s poem is called ‘And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire…’

South Kilburn Speaks
Aoife Mannix
Public Art: Kilburn
Date: January 2011, on-going

Aoife Mannix, Niall O’Sullivan and Simon Mole are living, working and interacting with residents of Kilburn, and understanding their community. The poet’s in residence are writing poetry in collaboration with the members of the community, and the work is then blogged, displayed on sandwich boards, featured in art installations and engraved into the town itself. The poet’s hope that this community art will “create a permanent testament to the vibrancy of the area” and encourage cross-generational ties. Find out more from the South Kilburn Speaks blog.

Short Shrifts
Twelve short plays by Peter Oswald, directed by Tim Carroll
Soho Theatre, London 
Date: 2 - 5 November 2011
Beautiful, grotesque, absurd – an illusive journey of surprising twists and turns; two people lost in a desert, a ventriloquist and his dummy, cannibalism… Alice Oswald, Peter Oswald, Martin Holland and Josephine Larsen combine poetry, live music, drama and dance in performances that embrace the realms between the forms. By constantly shifting from one form to another, they hope to lift the audience to a new level of attention. Find out more from the Soho Theatre

Riot Acts
Richmix and Penned in the Margins present four new works written in response to the August riots

Richmix, London
Date: 19 November 2011
Stand-up poet Luke Wright, performance artist and theatre maker Greg McLaren, Sophie Woolley and theatre collectives The Hurly Burly & Circus Kinetica present a scratch performance of four new works, selected from 30 submissions, inspired by the summer riots. Find out more from Penned in the Margins.

Tristan Bates Theatre, London
Date: 1 December 2011
Celebrating the 400th anniversary of The Tempest, this is a public reading of award-winning poet John Agard's new quirky, thought-provoking contemporary verse version of Shakespeare's classic. Find out more from Tristan Bates theatre.

The Oh Fuck Moment
Poet Hannah Jane Walker and Theatre Producer Chris Thorpe
Live Show
Date: August 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival
Sometimes, fuck ups are so massive there’s no way back. Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe examine the poetic guts of mistakes in a bundle of words and strip lighting. Fucking up is the truest, funniest, most terrifying moment you can experience. You will make a mistake, maybe you’ll learn from it. The oh fuck moment is a conversation around a desk for brave souls to hold their hands up and admit they fucked up, or for people to laugh at us because we did. Find out more here.

Old Me
Spoken Word Performance
Date: 21 November to 3 December 2011 at The Roundhouse
Combining storytelling with live sound design, musical score and projected visuals, audiences are invited into the mind of two versions of the same person. This show draws on Polarbear’s experiences of leaving his life as a Brummie builder and heading to London to be an artist, and soon after, father. Old Me invites us to reflect on the moments in life in which everything changes and why we take the decisions we do. More information here.

Luke Wright'The Cynical Ballads': Luke Wright

'Slicing the Brain': Valerie Laws

Poems on Kirkgate: Peter Spafford with Cllr Gerry Harper

Timepieces: Stevie Ronnie

Photograph by Raymond Antrobus, rights reserved by the Poetry SchoolSouth Kilburn Speaks: photograph by Raymond Antorbus