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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Jelley

Beaford Poetry Boxes

Saturday 4th August saw the installation of seven new poetry boxes along a section of the Tarka Trail in North Devon and they are already getting lots of attention. I've maintained many boxes along walking routes over the years but this is the first cycle and walking trail and also my first main commission with Beaford Arts.

Putting images in the books as seeds for poems is also new, usually a blank page and a request to 'draw, read or write inside' is enough of a catalyst but we felt that this commission required a little more. All these new images pictures are from the Beaford Archives and taken by either Roger Deakins or James Ravilious during the 70's 80s. They come from a selection of the archive which has only recently been digitised and made public; between Roger, James (and Chris Chapman) over 80,000 images were taken so it has been no small feat to digitise the lot!

Interestingly these poetry boxes have become a really curious exhibition of sorts, 'we've never exhibited them like this before' said Sophie from Beaford Arts 'so it will be really interesting to see how people react and interact.'

Over the next two months we will see what words and poems will emerge from the walkers and cyclists. The boxes will be removed on 1st October if all goes to plan (sooner if not!) so get down along the Tarka Trail (Instow - Bideford section) hunt out the boxes, enjoy the images and write a few lines about place and space.

One last thing - everyone asks what are you doing with the poems? Well a selection of the poems are being digitally geolocated to the trail during the project through

Open that link in your mobile phone browser and then journey along the trail to reveal the poems or even add new ones of your own (they geotag to your specific location).

You can also follow a little of whats going on through twitter @PoetryPin and @Storywalks where snippets of poems are automatically generated when a new poem is geotagged to the trail.

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