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To celebrate National Poetry Day, the Poetry Book Society joined forces with some of the most exciting new poets from local literary organisations to launch a major poetry takeover across Newcastle’s Nexus transport system on the 4th October. Tying in with the theme of “change”, the PBS brightened up daily commutes with “poetry for a change” from city centre metro stops to the ferry in our adopted home town.

This event featured pop-up poetry performances by a dynamic range of emerging and established poets, from page and spoken word poets to school children and students, from leading local organisations New Writing North, NCLA, Apples and Snakes and The Writing Squad.

We also appointed the first-ever NPD Metro Poet in Residence for a digital poetry takeover throughout the day. Sunderland born poet and popular Youtube Vlogger, Jen Campbell, traveled the metro tweeting poetry and sharing metro stories on Nexus Instagram @My_Metro via the hashtag #poetryforachange.

We also gave away thousands of exclusive postcards featuring Lemn Sissay’s “Anthem of the North”, commissioned by the Great Exhibition of the North, to celebrate our region’s national role at the heart of positive social “change”.

Everyone was invited to scribble their own postcard poem on the theme of “change” and share them on social media @PoetryBookSoc #Poetryforachange for a chance to win poetry goodies throughout the day.

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director for Nexus, which owns the Tyne and Wear Metro, said: “We’re really excited to be working with the Poetry Book Society to surprise and delight our passengers with the help of some of the exciting voices creating new verse today. We have a proud tradition of bringing art to Metro and public transport in North East England, and that can mean performances to be experienced and shared through social media as much as visual art on the walls of stations. Metro is part of everyday life in our region, and National Poetry Day is a reminder great poetry can be too. This is a step into the unknown. We’ve not welcomed a poet in residence onto Metro before, so we’ll be fascinated to see what happens as Jen Campbell takes over our Instagram feed for the day.”

The Poetry Book Society added: “This is an exciting celebration of poetry in our region which puts Newcastle on the National map. We’re taking our founder T S Eliot’s mission to “propagate the art of poetry” and bringing poetry to everyday commuters in Newcastle in interactive new ways.”

About our partners...

NATIONAL POETRY DAY is a mass participation annual celebration organised by the Forward Arts Foundation every autumn that enables everyone to enjoy, discover and share poetry. The media reach of last year’s NPD exceeded 217 million, trended worldwide on Twitter and enabled more than half a million children to engage with poems.

JEN CAMPBELL is an award-winning poet and short story writer. Her debut children's book Franklin's Flying Bookshop is published by Thames & Hudson. She is also the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book. Her poetry pamphlet The Hungry Ghost Festival is published by The Rialto and she won an Eric Gregory Award in 2016. She's been a poetry judge for the Costa and Forward Prizes and is the PBS Vlogger in Residence.

NEW WRITING NORTH was established in 1996 to support writers in the north of England to fulfil their creative ambitions through a wide range of initiatives including The Northern Writer’s Awards and Durham Book Festival.

NEWCASTLE CENTRE FOR LITERARY ARTS (NCLA) is a world-class centre of excellence in the field of creative writing, which contributes to the cultural life of the North East via readings and research at Newcastle University.

THE WRITING SQUAD provides workshops, 1-1 support and investment for young writers over a free two year programme for writers aged 16-21 who live, work or study in the North of England.

APPLES AND SNAKES was started by a group of poets in 1982 and has nurtured talents such as Billy Bragg, Jackie Kay, Lemn Sissay, Malika Booker, Charlie Dark, Polarbear, Kate Tempest and Benjamin Zephaniah.

GREAT EXHIBITION OF THE NORTH was 2018’s biggest cultural event, a three-month celebration of the North of England’s pioneering spirit and the impact of our inventors, artists and designers. 

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