I have just had the best evening. I logged onto Facebook, saw I had a message in my inbox (almost unheard of!) found it was from the Poetry Society, clicked on the link they had sent me, and from there stumbled upon the Poetry International website where I spent some hours watching clips of poets from all nations talking about and reading their work. Then, exploring the site further, I came upon The Itinerant Poetry Library. This is what Sarah Reams writing for Poetry International says about it:
The Itinerant Poetry Library has no vehicle, no building, next to no budget. Instead, the collection travels around in the suitcase of the librarian, Sara Wingate-Gray, who since 2006 has been continuously roaming the world, relying on couch-surfing, soup kitchens and the generosity of strangers for food, accommodation and transport. So far, she has installed the library in over 150 locations – from parks to bookshops to cafés to people’s homes – in 11 countries and 21 cities worldwide.
Why? According to the library itself, it exists to “remind people of the importance of free public libraries; subvert mainstream channels of distribution; remind people that access to knowledge should be free and not dependent upon economic wealth hierarchies; show people that poetry/art can provide answers to questions we ask of life [and to] experiment in existing outside of ‘the market’ – thereby, instead, investing in social capital, social innovation and community”. And it succeeds in doing all of these things through a simple installation composed only of a table, a chair, a sign, one woman and some books
Tonight I will sleep with a smile on my face.