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Lemn Sissay: Sparking the nation’s imagination

Written by The Reader, 3rd August 2012

Our visual representation of the story of Spark Catchers - pride of place in the TRO HQ kitchen...

It's fair to say that the country, and in fact the whole world, is currently gripped by Olympic fever and while many of us at The Reader Organisation are partial to several of the sporting events, we're particularly fascinated by the poetry that is playing a substantial part in the 2012 Games. In this week's Communications Team meeting we shared the very intriguing Spark Catchers, the poem written especially for London 2012 by TRO patron and 2012 Conference guest speaker Lemn Sissay. It certainly sparked off some interesting thoughts and discussion (and is also currently being displayed against a flaming background of coloured paper reminiscent of both the Olympic flame and the London 2012 logo in the TRO HQ kitchen, in a small tribute to the way in which the poem is etched in the Olympic Park itself)...

It's good to hear that it's not just us at The Reader Organisation who have been ignited by the poem - it has also inspired 'Sparked', an educational exhibition series that took place at The View Tube, a new social enterprise and community venue located adjacent to the Olympic Park. The series ran from October 2011-May 2012 and involved some brilliant art workshops as well dynamic public readings of the poem by Lemn himself. You can take an overview of all the fun that happened as part of the project at the View Tube Art: Sparked Tumblr site.

Have a listen to Lemn talk about the story behind Spark Catchers:

Spark Catchers is part of the Winning Words Poetry Archive, the project that intends to highlight the inspirational role of poetry alongside the Olympic Games. In a Q&A with The Guardian, William Sieghart, compiler of the Winning Words poetry anthology, talks about how "an appropriate poem can be more helpful than many forms of therapy" - a sentiment that is firmly expressed within our weekly Get Into Reading groups.

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