The Poetry Exchange explores the idea of poems as friends. Through conversations, events and our podcast, we gather and share connections between people and poems.
At the heart of the project is the Exchange itself: an invitation for individuals to explore a poem that has been a friend to them in conversation with members of The Poetry Exchange team. In return they receive a gift: a unique recording of their chosen poem, inspired by the conversation and their thoughts and feelings about the poem.
Our team is made up of poets, writers, actors and other creative practitioners, bringing a special mix of skills in shared reading, listening, voicing and performance into our work and into every Exchange.
‘What an amazing project. The experience proved that poems aren’t only friends but the best kind – surprising, nourishing, and sometimes challenging.’ – Sarah Salway.
The Poetry Exchange Podcast
Our podcast allows anyone to listen in to these unique conversations about poems, as well as the ‘gift’ recordings of the poems made in response to these conversations.
Who we are
Fiona Lesley Bennett – Founder and Creative Director
Fiona is a creative practitioner, facilitator and a published writer. Her work has appeared in journals in the UK and USA, on BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Verb’ and she has been shortlisted in the Bridport and Much Wenlock Poetry competitions. She has over 20 years experience designing unique interventions that create a different kind of encounter between artists and audiences. She is co-director of The Map Consortium, a pioneering company designing and delivering creative interventions across sectors. Her work includes collaborations with leading cultural organisations in the UK, the USA, India, Japan and Europe.
Michael Shaeffer – Associate Director
Michael has worked as an actor for 20 years, across theatre, TV, film and radio. His recent work in the theatre has focused on new writing, including, How To Hold Your Breath; Mr Burns; Little Revolution; Table and London Road. His Film credits include, London Road; London Fields; Trance and Anna Karenina. And for TV, SS-GB; Grantchester; Foyle’s War; Luther; Parade’s End; Black Mirror and Game of Thrones.
Our creative team of poets, writers, actors and other artistic practitioners includes: Al Snell, Degna Stone, Rebecca Manley, Andrea Witzke Slot, Jacqueline Kington, Sarah Salway, Victoria Field, Subhadassi, Natasha Gordon.
The Poetry Exchange is delighted to have been able to feature the work of Elizabeth Alexander, Carol Ann Duffy, Derek Walcott, Dan Chelotti, Karen McCarthy Woolf and many other writers.
The Poetry Exchange is grateful to Arts Council England for their support through Grants for the arts.