Introduction

Poems for…the wall  offers a large selection of small poem-posters for public display on wall or digital screen, free of charge. You can download all of the poems from this website.

The project aims to reach out to people in public places with words that can touch. We believe that poetry can speak to the truth in people. It can discover and help recover that truth. It can protect a common ground. It can open people’s lives to each other.

The project is based in the UK, but poets from all over the world are represented in its collections, especially in the largest one, called “Poems for…one world.” Many of the poets there are famous in their own countries and beyond. Just below, is a case in point, uploaded in March 2022, a few weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both the Ukrainian author and his translators gave their permission for this abbreviated version of the poem to be reproduced. (The English translation of the poem in full can be read here).

Here just below is a poem from another part of the world in which violence is being deployed against a people. Myitkyina Jail is all too well known in Myanmar (Burma). The poem’s author, known as Zarganar, is famous in his country as a comedian but also as a fearless activist and has been jailed more than once for speaking out in a manner displeasing to the military junta who run the country. There is a further irony in the poem below. Vicky Bowman, who translated it into English, used to be the UK ambassador in Myanmar. No longer in that role, she still lives and works there. In September 2022, the junta jailed her too, along with her husband, the artist Htein Lin.

But the poems available for viewing on this site, and for downloading from it, are not all about conflict and oppression. For example, here below is one from Sri Lanka.

Poems for…the wall was supported initially by the UK Poetry Society and then by the UK Arts Council. Funding thereafter has come from a range of sources, with the Arts Council frequently supplying partnership funding. You can see the names of the funding organisations along the base of this home page.

All the poems published on this site have been carefully chosen for quality and subject matter. They are formatted as posters and look good on wall or digital screen. They are displayed in healthcare waiting rooms, libraries, schools, universities and similar settings, in the UK and far beyond.

They can be displayed in a whole range of ways, of course, and can be viewed at any size – from the screen of a smart phone to a plasma display screen in a healthcare waiting room ; or printed on board and displayed in a public park – or the wall of a cathedral ! For an instance of the latter possibility, Clifton Cathedral, a Roman Catholic place of worship in Bristol, was host to an exhibition of the poems in the Spring of 2019. Some striking pictures of the exhibition as a whole and also of individual poems displayed there, are available here or (if you are on Facebook) here. For more details of the exhibition itself, go to the News section elsewhere on this site.

The following six collections are available from the site, once you have registered (see a few paragraphs down for how to do so) : 

  • Poems for…One World  numbers over 100 poems. Almost all of them are bilingual, each non-English original having an English translation alongside. Fifty different languages are represented in the collection so far and it features the work of internationally famous poets. The number of languages represented in this collection will continue to increase.
  • Poems for…All Ages  consists of fifty poems, many of them old favourites, and includes twelve poems specially for very young children.
  • Poems for…Waiting  also consists of fifty poems. This  was the project’s first collection and each of its poems was specially commissioned by the poet David Hart. Two previous UK Poet Laureates are included among the contributors. The subject in every case is waiting. The collection is intended for display in healthcare waiting rooms.
  • Poems for…self at sea is a collection of thirty poems on the subject of mental disturbance/ill-health.
  • Poems for…bridges to learning disability consists of twenty poems. This and Poems for…self at sea were both completed in 2015.
  • Poems for…Rising Ten is the project’s latest collection and consists of 25 poems selected with ten year children in mind. Completed in the Autumn of 2022, it combines text with art-work in each case – as close accompaniment rather than as literal illustration. The images were supplied by Rachel Stevens, who contributed her work free to this project. You can find some smart phone pictures of a small exhibition of the new collection here : https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=7949865511750928&set=pcb.7948868918517254

To download the poems, you need to register with us. This is a simple process and also free of charge (and there are no lurkey hooks attached !). Go to “Login/Register” on the right of the menu bar along the top of this home page and follow the directions. After registering, go to “Poem Collections” on the same menu bar and you will find all our collections named and available to you. After that, you can view, download and print the poems as often as you like. Simply log on each time.

We have changed the project’s title more than once, over the years. In 1997, when we began, our title was Poems for the Waiting Room. Later, it became Poems for…This grew into Poems for…the wall in 2017, to coincide with the project’s 20th birthday and our move to this new website.

The menu bar along the top of this page will lead you to more detailed information – how the project developed, where the poems have gone, etc (see “About Us”).

Poems for…the wall  is one of several ideas and initiatives promoted by the charity Hyphen-21.

The founder and Director of both Hyphen-21 and  Poems for…the wall  is Rogan Wolf, who did the writing for this site. For Rogan Wolf’s blog, go to https://roganwolf.com

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