Camp by vork22, under a Creative Commons licence
Our friends at Peace Camp contacted usto see if we could help them out with a poetry project. Below they outline what they've been up to – and how you can help them.
2012 is a year of Jubilee celebrations and the first time since 1948 that the UK has hosted the Olympic Games. A patriotic year, by all accounts. While millions will be cheering on the world’s best athletes, or watching Paul McCartney serenade the Queen, others will be celebrating our country’s talents in more contemplative ways.
This July Artichoke – the company who brought a giant elephant to London in 2006, and turned 2400 people into works of art in 2009 – are producing Peace Camp. The project is inspired by the Olympic Truce; a tradition dating back to the roots of the Olympic Games in the 8th Century BC, when peace was announced before the start of the Games to ensure that every participating country could unite in celebration of sport. Wars were put on hold and death penalties were forbidden.
Theatre director Deborah Warner and actor Fiona Shaw, who created Peace Camp, interpret this ancient truce by celebrating beauty, love and our island status. Eight murmuring, glowing encampments – designed to be visited at dusk and dawn – will appear at some of the UK’s most beautiful and remote coastal locations. Both the location and the soundscape evoke peace and quiet companionship. Some of our most treasured love poetry has recorded by people from across the UK, from actors such as Jane Horrocks and Simon Russell Beale, to civil servants and accountants, to poets such as Seamus Heaney. These recordings will whisper from each installation, creating a magical combination of sound, light and landscape. Two of the eight installations will be located in Scotland: one at Valtos/Bhaltos on the Isle of Lewis, and one at Fort Fiddes, Cullykhan Bay in Aberdeenshire.
We are also creating an online anthology of love poetry that will be archived for posterity by the British Library. We invite you to nominate your favourite love poetry, or if you have written your own love poem, to add it to our collection. You are also invited to record yourself reading the poem, which can be done simply and directly from our website. In this way we hope to create an audible portrait of the UK today, celebrating our languages, dialects and accents as well as our rich poetic tradition.
So we hope to see you both in person and online. You can find out more about the project at www.peacecamp2012.com. Meanwhile, we’ll leave you with a poem by Scottish icon Robert Burns, who amidst scathing satire, radical political ideas and tremendous wit, still found time to write, with startling intensity and honesty, about love:
O, wert thou in the cauld blast
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the aingry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee.
Or did Misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
The bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.
Or were I in the wildest waste,
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a Paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there.
Or were I monarch o the globe,
Wi thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my crown
Wad be my queen, wad be my queen.
In order to preserve the quiet and contemplative atmosphere of the installations we will be limiting the number of people at the installations at any one time. In order to book your free visiting slot, please head to http://peacecamp2012uk.eventbrite.com/. If you would like to be more involved in the project, we are also looking for volunteers to join our team: you can find out more about these opportunities at http://www.peacecamp2012.com/take-part.aspx.