This is the time of year when my eye is easily drawn to an orange glow in the early evening’s darkness. So I really couldn’t help following this photo to the BBC’s website. I thought perhaps it was a story about a Stonehenge replica made out of Halloween Pumpkins.
But no! The treats here are all literary. You’re looking at a cluster of illuminated tents that speak recorded poetry to passers by – a collection of old and familiar works mixed with lesser known poems – all about love, enhanced by a soundscape and a variety of physical locations along the coastline of the U.K.
The idea is that visitors will walk among the tents and overhear the poetry fragments coming from inside the mysterious, glowing enclosures.
If you watch the video you’ll hear Irish actress Fiona Shaw, a collaborator on the project, say that she hopes people will come “with a bottle of beer in their hand” and “not speak too much to their mates – just listen.”
What are the chances that people will just listen to words coming from an invisible voice if they are in the company of others they can see and talk to directly? In my experience, it’s not likely – the pressure to carry on a conversation is too great. The one exception would be if you and your friend think you’re hearing something that was not meant for you, and if you speak you might give yourselves away.
That would be the one thing I’d change about this poetry pod project – if you speak, the recording goes quiet and then gradually returns to full volume only if you remain silent.
A reward for eavesdropping!
What is the most memorable thing you’ve overheard?