On the first day of the WRITE Festival 2017, Wednesday 21 June, John Prebble and Degna Stone ran various sessions as part of The Poetry Exchange which aimed to encourage the attendees to share their favourite poem with the duo and discuss what it meant to them.
This sell-out event allowed John and Degna to meet a wide variety of people and get to know them by listening to their meaningful poem – a poem that they later go on to record and send as a gift to the attendees.
Tom Kelly, who attended one of the sessions, gave his view saying that“it is an interesting experiment and shows the value of people understanding the power of poetry”.
At the end of the day’s sessions, John spoke to us about the purpose of what The Poetry Exchange aims to do.
“We’re [The Poetry Exchange] going around the country and inviting people to come and talk to us about a poem that has been a friend to them in their life and what we’re discovering is that people have all kinds of different poems in their lives and they mean so much to people for all different kinds of reasons.
We don’t often know the people who are going to walk through the door. We don’t know the poem that they’re going to bring until they arrive and then when they sit down and they open up the poem they’ve chosen, it is amazing how much opens up with it. Every single conversation, poem and person is completely different and unique and I think people find so much out about themselves and about the poem in doing it.
The whole project is really just celebrating what poetry is in life and that it can be something that is in your heart every day. It can be something that is really personal to you but it can also be something that can be shared.”
Degna added that she thought The Poetry Exchange “is a really beautiful, open-hearted project” which “gives people a space to share a poem that means something to them and for no other benefit than having a conversation and sharing their feelings”.
After all of the events that The Poetry Exchange conduct, they make a podcast with parts of the conversations they have had from that day. The podcast is shared online for others to listen to the poem the attendees have chosen to ‘exchange’ and what it means for them.
To find out more about The Poetry Exchange and listen to the podcasts, visit www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk.