Streets of Worcester painted with the words of local poets.

Image Description: A woman stands in the middle facing away from the camera, she is wearing a green jumpsuit with a white pattern, an orange bag and blue shoes. She is looking towards the ground where we can see a poem has been stenciled onto the pavement in large white text. In the background we can see a shop with some 'sale' signs in the window.

Written by Arches Festivals

3rd August 2021

10 local poets had their words painted onto the city’s streets as part of The Arches Worcester Festivals’ Same But Different 

The short poems selected by The Arches Worcester Festivals team were written by local poets and creative writers as part of The City Speaks project. Together they formed a large-scale poetry installation on the South Quay riverside and in St Martins Quarter, which people discovered throughout the week starting on the 19 July when Same But Different began. 

“Including so many local voices in The City Speaks project, bringing their words to life and sharing this with the city is what I always wanted this element of Same But Different to achieve. It was a pleasure to see their work on the fabric of the city and to see and hear people become captivated by their words.” – David Edmunds, Festivals Director, Severn Arts

Image Description: A little girl stands sideways showing us her profile, she is wearing a white dress with black polka dots, dark flip flops and her hair is in a plait. She is looking down at the pavement where she is reading the poem that has been stenciled onto the street in large white text. In the background we see pedestrians and shops and in the foreground we can see the trunk of a tree.

The City Speaks project was designed to highlight the thoughts and voices of those local to Worcester, sharing their responses to three themes: hope, joy and things I’ve missed. The Arches Worcester Festivals team encouraged people from all over Worcestershire with a range of writing experience to submit their poems, in hopes of amplifying the work of established, early career and aspiring poets and new writers. 

“The City Speaks Project was a great opportunity for poets from across the county to see their work on the pavements of Worcester for a week.  We’re delighted that our Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate 2020 submitted a poem that was included alongside the work of other professional poets and poems from people who love to write for a hobby. We hope everyone found a poem that they could engage with and that the installation might inspire them to read or write more poetry.” – Elaine Knight, Arts Director, Severn Arts and Project Manager for The Arches Worcester project

Image Description: A young woman stands in the center of the fram looking straight into the camera, she is wearing a light green patterned summer dress, dark boots, glasses and her hair is down. She stands with her feet slightly apart and her arms folded, looking very powerful. She is standing in a square and behind her on the pavement we can see her poem that has been stencilled onto the street in large white text. In the background we can see the blue sky, a sea gull flying a bove and buildings and pedestrians in the distance.

The large-scale installation presented a selection of the many responses received, including words by Ellie Dart (Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate 2020) and Jessica Terry who was awarded the graduate commission for The City Speaks. 

“Collaborating with the Arches Worcester Festivals team on this project has given me the opportunity to take my writing to a professional and large-scale level. Contributing to fantastic and innovative projects like this is the first step in my career as a developing writer; honing my writing craft and making up for what has felt like lost time.”Jessica Terry, The City Speaks Graduate Commission

The City Speaks also includes written work from Leena Batchelor, the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate and Poet-in-Residence at The Commandery as well as Sarah Leavesley, Lydia Sofia, Catherine Parkinson, Neil Evans, Ali McIndoe, Sophie Ruane and Sue Johnson. If you would like to listen to some of the poetry from The City Speaks, check out our sound cloud playlist below to hear Worcester 10 local poets read their words.

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