independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Poets invited to Cambridge project

Carol Ann Duffy has invited leading poets to take part in a series of residencies at the University of Cambridge

Leading poets have been commissioned to write pieces inspired by unique artefacts ranging from Captain Scott's farewell letter to his wife to Charles Darwin's animal specimens.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has invited the poets to take part in a series of residencies at the University of Cambridge, supported by Arts Council England.

The poets, including Don Paterson and Jo Shapcott, have been matched with museums and collections across the university.

As well as the Scott letter, held at the Polar Museum, and Darwin's collection from the Beagle voyage, at the Museum of Zoology, other items include Isaac Newton's own copy of Principia Mathematica, at Cambridge University Library.

Each poet will spend two weeks in residence between January and March meeting researchers and exploring the collections. They will then write a poem informed and inspired by the experience.

Launching the Thresholds project, Ms Duffy said: "This is a stunning level of commitment to poetry and poets. These 10 residencies will create a unique collaboration of poets, creating a meeting of minds and disciplines and providing a catalyst for ideas.

"These 10 poets represent the best of poetry being written at the moment. I wanted to include up-and-coming poets and older poets, as well as representing different cultures and countries too.

"A poetry project of this size and scale, across so many different, remarkable and beautiful institutions, is unheard of."

The poets and their places of residency are: Sean Borodale - Museum of Classical Archaeology; Gillian Clarke - Museum of Zoology; Imtiaz Dharker - Cambridge University Library; Ann Gray - Cambridge University Botanic Garden; Matthew Hollis - The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences; Jackie Kay - Kettle's Yard; Daljit Nagra - Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; Don Paterson - Whipple Museum of the History of Science; Jo Shapcott - The Polar Museum; Owen Sheers - The Fitzwilliam Museum.

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