Monday, 16 January 2017

A library within a library

The Homeless Library comes home to Manchester Central Library, Archives +  31st January to 31st March. 

THE HOMELESS LIBRARY is the first history of homelessness in Britain and has been made by contemporary homeless people. Their interviews, artworks and poems have been inscribed into handmade books. The Homeless Library celebrates their determination and insight. 

On the 31st January there will be a special Preview Opening, sharing the handmade books, full of artwork, poems and interviews. 

Complementing these are a selection of The Homeless Library audio pieces housed on the Archives+ Soundcloud 

The documentary film by John Felix The Homeless Library, will be shown and archived through the North West Film Archive.  You can also view it on youtube here. 

You can download a free copy of the Homeless Library ebook at Blurb,  Alongside the interviews, poems and artworks this book tells an emotional history. In Britain, the heritage of homelessness is brutally sparse. This is the first shared history of British homelessness. 

In the build up to the exhibition, Archives+ are re-tweeting out Tweet from Engels, 

You can view more photos at our portfolio site here. Including the beautiful portrait photos by Paul Jones.

Our thanks to everyone who has made this exhibition, archiving and event possible.

THE HOMELESS LIBRARY is an arthur+martha project, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Poetry archive

Updating and gently editing the poetry archive is a joyous thing to do,  revisiting old friends. I can hear the voices who originally spoke them, see their faces, witness the struggle it took for some  to write them- with a shaking hand from Parkinson's, or one distorted by arthritis. The fragility of the person facing an un-certain future in hospital.

Most poems on the blog are written by older people, there is poignancy here. At the time these were written the poet was in care of one form or another, either sheltered housing, hospital or care home. Many won't be here any more, but their poems and artworks are left on the page.

Many thing

I know full well we’ll never leave this place
there’s a law in chemistry that says
you can never create or destroy matter, no matter
if they cremate or bury – your remains
will become part of the strata of the rains
and winds will blow you across
the face of the agnostic earth
you the atoms cannot be destroyed
will be here doubting Thomas for millions of years

perhaps we are all the figment of someone

don’t need to dig down if you
drop by a graveyard
the bacteria come up to become
more stars in the sky than there are
grains of sand in the
oceans are not burning
me it’s an overcoat for your spirit:
do I believe in anything, do
I believe in many things?

(I never go to bed ‘til I’ve said me prayers at night:
whisper that)

David Smith, Harry Wantling, Phyllis Hollinshead, Hilda Hewitt


sitting looking out
the windowaiting
for them to come
hurry up
hurry up
it seems

Pauleen Eaton

Over the next few months I continue the long overdue job of posting poems on the blog from the last couple of years, poems from more older people and homeless people living in Greater Manchester and Derbyshire. You can follow the progress here: