In 2017 we were pleased to be working with The Royal Star and Garter Homes in Surbiton.
This programme was inspired by the thought that creative outcomes may differ if stimulus was sent postally rather than electronically. Twelve residents of the home worked with lead artist Tom Mallender to share stories and memories that were important to them. These were then used as a stimulus for poetry, which was posted to six other poets across the country from London to Newcastle, who produced work in response.
The residents were also paired with pen pals from Hinchley Wood School, who worked with artist Rachel Turner of Bounce Theatre. The older and younger pen pals shared stories and compared notes on school life, fashion, work, friends and families. The project culminated in over 35 poems being published in a dedicated anthology and the pen pals meeting at a tea party hosted by the local MP.
“I started this project assuming I would be writing about total strangers, but as the weeks have gone by, I have started feeling very differently about them all. I know these people by name. They are familiar to me in a way they wouldn’t be if they were simply a few tweets and an emoji, or half a dozen Facebook posts. Even if we never physically meet, we are not strangers any more. We have travelled together. I had forgotten how good it is to write letters and how much these things matter.”
Catherine Edmunds, Poet in Poems by Post