Day of the cat: ‘Poem of the Street’ workshop report

• Click here to see the poems and photos resulting from the ‘Poem of the Street’ workshop day.

big panorama V Hicks
Above, the walk in progress, by Victoria Hicks. Top, Lambeth cat, by Derek Harper.

On a balmy Halloween Saturday (31 Oct 2015), Hercules Editions founders Vici MacDonald and Tamar Yoseloff led a group of poets / psychogeographers on a walk around Lambeth. Vici spoke about the importance of documenting the cityscape through photos – citing Eugène Atget, the French flâneur and father of street photography, and Bernd and Hilla Becher, the German couple who together recorded the manufacturing and agricultural landmarks of mid-twenieth-century industry, as influences. Tammy talked about her fascination with particular Lambeth locations, such as the London Necropolis Railway, William Blake’s house (its address the inspiration for Hercules Editions), Bedlam (now the Imperial War Museum), and St Mary’s Churchyard (now the Museum of Garden History). Both stressed the importance of noticing the provisional, the ‘anti-landmark’, as documented in their collaborative book, Formerly.

The walkers captured the event through a series of poems and photographs tracing their journey, which included a couple of star turns for the striking cat, above, found keeping vigil over the road where William Blake once lived.  See our workshop showcase for all the the final poems and photos generated on the day.

The event was just the first of four themed poetry workshops offered by Hercules authors. On 5th December Claire Crowther will be inviting poets to explore the spooky world of the Poem Noir; on 30th January, Hannah Lowe will be leading a session on reconstructing history from family documents, diaries and archives; and on 27th February, Sue Rose will be discussing the work of the artist Christian Boltanski as a starting point for considering how to write homages and elegies expressing both love and loss. All sessions will be held at the marvellous Travelling Through Bookshop in Lower Marsh and can be booked through our website here. The series will culminate in a reading at Travelling Through on Friday 18th March of the poems produced in all four workshops.

• Click here to see the poems and photos resulting from the ‘Poem of the Street’ workshop day.