Poetry - in Public Toilets    Shetland Library Press Release - 9th February 2009


It’s nice to find poetry in unexpected places, and thanks to a new project kicking off next month, you will soon be able to read some of the best new Shetland poems when you’re on the loo.


Bards in the Bog is the latest idea from the Poet Partner project. Local poets interested in reaching a wider audience are invited to submit poems. Six of the best will be chosen each quarter, to display in public toilets around Shetland. The selection will be made by Shetland’s Poet Partner – well known poet Jen Hadfield. “I’ve always loved the idea of sneaking poetry into unexpected places,” said Jen, “proving that poetry’s place is in the real world, in real time. I’m looking forward to another of the Library’s fantastic open mike events to celebrate the launch of Bards in the Bog.”


Shetland Recreational Trust and the Shetland Islands Council are participating in the project. The poems will be displayed in all Shetland’s leisure centre toilets, the Esplanade toilets in Lerwick, and various others places. Karen Fraser from Shetland Library said: “It should brighten up folk’s day, and maybe they’ll be inspired to pop into the library and borrow more poetry”.


The first set of poems will be selected and installed in March. The competition is open to all ages, and poems may be on any subject. The only rule is that they must be short -12 lines or less in length - as the posters need to have large print which can easily be read from a seated position! Poems will also be published on the library website, and there may be a few toilet-related poetry events throughout the year as well.


To kick off the project, there will be a Poet Partner event at Shetland Library on Wednesday 11th February. It will feature a reading from Jen, and the second part of the evening will be ‘open mike’ poetry, which means anyone with a favourite poem to share can come along and read.


Poet Partner is sponsored by the Shetland Library, Shetland Arts, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Paul Hamlyn Trust. The project enables a poet to work with the Scottish Poetry Library book collections and to promote poetry in the community. Literature Development Officer with Shetland Arts, Donald Anderson said, “I think this is an imaginative way to encourage people to write poetry and to read it. I hope that it will successfully challenge the idea that poetry is elitist.”


Closing date for the first ‘Bards in the Bog’ entries is Saturday, 7th March. There will be further opportunities to submit poems in June and September.

For more information call the Library on 01595 743868, or see the website www.shetland-library.gov.uk.




Contact: Karen Fraser, Shetland Library 01595 746868,

Karen.fraser@ Shetland.gov.uk