Explore York Libraries – Making sense of a world turned upside down this National Poetry Day

Thursday 1 October is National Poetry Day and Explore York Libraries and Archives will celebrate it in a very special way. Explore is launching a project to help everyone to make sense of the very strange year that 2020 has become by asking people in York to send in poems and drawings that will be used to create a lasting record of what has happened in our lives. The project is called World Turned Upside Down 2020 #haiflu edition.

Taking inspiration from spoken word artist Liv Torc’s phenomenally successful pandemic poetry initiative, Project Haiflu, and local community artist Stephen Lee Hodgkins interest in York’s printing heritage, Explore is asking people in York to send 2 haiku or #haiflu on the topic of no news and strange news, but with a flavour of lockdown. If people prefer to portray their thoughts and feelings visually they can send in a doodle or cartoon instead.

Throughout October and November, Explore is hosting free online haiku workshops with local poets Janet Dean and Penny Boxall, and doodle workshops with Stephen Lee Hodgkins. The first two workshops will be on National Poetry Day itself. At the beginning of November there will be an exclusive online talk and poetry show – Haiflu Ever After – with Project Haiflu originator Liv Torc.

After 30 November the deadline for submissions, 20 pairs of #haiflu and 20 doodles which reflect York’s Coronavirus experience will be chosen to be included in a book. Artist Stephen will create a 20 page limited edition chapbook printed in the traditional way on handmade paper. Each of the contributors to the final piece will receive a copy, a copy will be given to every library in York and one will be lodged in our archive alongside the original World Turned Upside Down Chapbook from 1820.

People can find full details and more information about how to get involved in the project on Explore’s website www.exploreyork.org.uk and book the workshops on their Eventbrite page.

Explore has also made a short film about the project, which will be posted on their YouTube Channel at 11 am on National Poetry Day 1 October.