July 19, 2011

arthur+martha have launched their first twitter poem - in collaboration with homeless people in Manchester and Bury. During the course of their map of you project they spoke with many homeless people. These interviews were edited by various writers to produce a long collaborative poem, which appears in tweet form four times a day at
http://twitter.com/#!/tweetfromengels
These 'verses' are snapshots in text of homeless lives, in all their moods - joy, terror, humour, resilience, anger. Famously, Engels wrote about the harshness of 19th Century Manchester; people today who live a comparable existence are the homeless. The writing imagines a dialogue between Engels and the homeless people of Manchester. Interspersed through the poem is found material from Engel's correspondence with Marx, and his classic The Condition of the English Working Class.

The idea of the poem was developed with Candian Steve Giasson - who suggested a kind of anti-epic, inspired by Louis Zukovsky. Geof Huth met several Big Issue vendors, prompting several of the lines. The Mancunian poet copland smith helped to give the poem formal design, inspired by the traditional Welsh poetic form the englyn. Longtime arthur+martha colleague Rebecca Guest helped Philip edit the final piece.

This project is in partnership with the Text Festival, The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door (Bury Housing Concern), Brighter Futures, The Booth Centre, The Lowry, LOVE Creative, the BBC. Poets and writers who've been involved include Steve Giasson, Geof Huth, copland smith, Anna MacGowan. Editors Philip Davenport and Rebecca Guest.

The resulting long poem will be tweeted over the coming weeks and streamed as occasional online video through an LED by LOVE Creative.