The Great Grimsby Poetry Relay

A unique opportunity to take part in a live poetry project is being offered to the region’s public, on National Poetry Day 2013.

Grimsby-based arts organisation The Culture House is organising the Great Grimsby Poetry Relay, on October 3.

A total of 74 volunteers are sought to recite lines from a famous sea-faring poem, at given locations around North East Lincolnshire, starting at the top of Grimsby Dock Tower.

Participants will be allotted a time and asked to film and upload their section of the poem using a smartphone then upload it to the internet so that the whole poem can be pieced together and watched.

The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day, is water and the poem selected to be read during the relay is Samuel Coleridge’s famous Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

It will be broken down into sections giving approximately eight lines to each participant – lasting approximately one minute, to be read and recorded at their chosen location.

ABP have allowed The Culture House access to Grimsby Dock Tower to enable the relay to begin in style, from the top of it, using a megaphone. The poem will then ‘move around’ the region, at locations including Grimsby Fish Market which is sponsoring the event – and ending by the Fisherman’s Memorial statue in St James’ Square.


Poet Antony Suter, who is originally from Grimsby but now lives in France, is returning to the area to take part along with high-profile local business people such

as Freshney Place centre director Amanda Austin and students from both Healing School and Franklin College.

Anthony, a former pupil of Saint James and Wintringham schools, is the author of several translations between English and French and has published four collections of poetry.

One of his collections, When You Get to “G.Y.” (Redbeck Press, Bradford, 2004), is an evocation of his childhood in Grimsby.

Charlotte Bowen, Culture House director, said: “We’re delighted to be organising and hosting this relay as a launch for the literature festival, coming up in later October.

“We’ve chosen a poem that’s very fitting for Grimsby, paying homage to its maritime heritage but expressing a moral theme.

“We’d love members of the public to come forward and take part in what will be quite a unique project, that involves local people and highlights places in North East Lincolnshire.

Charlotte explained: “Within reason, participants are welcome to choose their location whether this is their place of work, or favourite café or nature spot for example.

“They can then read and record their section at the allotted time so the poem can be put together and watched in its entirety.

Charlotte concluded: “We’re welcoming the public, business-people, students and anyone who would like to take part and help make Grimsby history.

To sign up to the project and to find out more, email including Poetry Relay in the subject box.




About the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Josie Anne Gray of The Culture House:


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The poem is one of the most famous and mysterious in the English Language. Written by Coleridge in 1798 and published in Lyrical Ballads it has endured as the most well-known maritime poem in our language.

It is not clear what inspired Coleridge to write it but at its heart there is a clear moral; do no harm. Coleridge explores the moral consequences of the mindless shooting of an albatross. The Mariner undergoes severe hardship and suffering in order to come to terms with what he has done and then is compelled to tell his tale to others to enable them to make better decisions than the one he made.

Since its publication the poem has been interpreted as a Christian allegory and as a metaphor for the brutality of the slave trade. It may have been inspired by the story of Captain Cook’s voyages but whatever its origin, it is Coleridge’s powerful imagination and his passion for the natural world that comes through in the language.

Join us on National Poetry Day when we will celebrate Grimsby’s maritime heritage with a relay reading of this long and wonderful poem.