Guerilla Wordfare by Josie McQuail. Phantom Poetry Poster Run: London, England.
Having seen some of the pictures and blurbs about putting Phantom Poetry Billstickers up in places like Paris, Sydney, and of course Christchurch, Auckland, as well as those Jim Wilson has put up in New York city, Lowell, Mass. and Cambridge and Boston, Mass., I asked Jim if he wanted my to put up some poem posters in England while I was there.
My first stop in England was a conference entitled "Peripheral Visions: Suburbs, Representation and Innovation" and it was at Kingston University in Kingston June 17-18 (see pictures).
I put some poem posters up, and I created a little display at the conference I went to. There was also a display of tea towels with revolutionary sayings, which were pretty provocative! I liked the fact that we had a little art display within the conference papers. It was a very international conference with scholars from not just from the U.K. and the U.S. and Canada but Australia, Denmark, Portugal and Slovenia.There were even some films on constant loop, particularly some by the "People of Seething Wells" which were hilarious creations of community feeling
Speaking of "Peripheral Visons," I was very intimidated in London by the cameras everywhere, and I was loathe to put up any posters in public spaces unless I had permission.
So, I left a couple of posters at my neighborhood pub, The Fox on the Hill at Denmark Hill next to King's College, and tried to leave some in my other favorite pub, right by Trafalgar Square (which has great hard cider from the country) called The Harp but was defeated by the non-stickiness of Bluetac.
I took some pictures of Poems on the Underground as an idea for poem posters. I am not sure how to go about getting them up in Tube cars, but it is a campaign which has been going on for at least two years. They have a certain format that can fit on the little slots on the Tube. If you got your embassy (New Zealand) to start a campaign to attract tourists, that is what Poland has done with Polish poems on the Tube. I mean, they are just poems, but I gather Poland is doiong a big campaign to get tourists. Phantom maybe could be able to print them to the right specifications. next summer is the Olympics in London and you could tell your embassy that would be a great time to have posters mounted. Also, it would be neat to get Poem posters on busses and trains!
Guerilla Wordfare is the term I coined for the practice of posting poems in public spaces, especially those dominated by ads. What if we were flooded with positive, humanistic messages instead of constantly bombarded with ads that tell us we "need" a product because we are fat, hungry, bored and in need of a good time, or generally not good enough? I really like the Poems on the Underground project. Phantom Billstickers has also done a great public service by posting poems. I enjoy watching people reading the poems. Among the poems I had, Chris Knox's "Becoming Something Other" was very moving and always got a very emotional reaction from people. I notice from the Phantom Website that Chris had a stroke since the poster came out and that his poetry poster is on sale with all proceeds going to him.