postcards of hope

It’s been over six weeks since I last posted a blog here. Yikes. Partly that’s because I’ve been slaving away with my fellow pandemonialists on the script of a show about Black Country humour – Finding Our Funny Roots is on Saturday October 26th at Wolverhampton’s Arena Theatre, if you were wondering, with tickets on sale here – but it’s also because I’ve been determined not to spend my precious free time staring at a computer screen. (Yes, I typed that sentence on my laptop and posted it online. I’m aware of the irony). I’d like to say that plan has worked, but it hasn’t. Instead, I’ve found myself compulsively watching the antics of our current Prime Minister – who seems hell-bent on fomenting anger and division in order to cling onto the power he’s craved for so long, whatever the consequences – and getting thoroughly depressed.

Then this postcard turned up. It’s one of a series of eight produced by Poetry on Loan, and I’m chuffed to bits that they chose my poem Olives only once, mind to be one of them. It’ll be available in public libraries throughout the West Midlands later this year and into 2020.

I’d been asking myself what the point is of being a poet when the world is busying itself with the whole hand-basket hell combo, and these postcards reminded me just how important art and imagination are. They set me thinking.

Poetry on Loan gave me copies of my postcard to use as I wish. I’m proposing selling 25 of them to raise money for Black Country Women’s Aid, with a minimum donation of £2.00 (if you want to give more, that’s fine too). I’ll cover the costs of postage, and write an individual message on each postcard sold.

In the interests of transparency, I should remind you that you’ll soon be able to pick up these postcards for free from libraries across the Midlands, but I’m hoping you’ll join me in this. You get some poetry to prop up on the mantelpiece or blu-tac to the wall, a vital charity gets some much-needed cash, and we all remind ourselves that art can do something useful in these difficult times. Drop me a line at steve@stevepottinger.co.uk if you want to be part of this, and I’ll get back to you with all the details.

By the way, the other poems in the series are by Midlands poets Sarah James, Jeff Phelps, Emma Purshouse, Brenda Read-Brown, Mandy Ross, Jane Seabourne, and Catherine Whittaker, and they’re well worth checking out. Click on any of the names in green and it’ll take you to their sites so you can check out their work.

Let’s do something good with poetry. Cheers!

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