The Poem Pedlar is the second manifestation of a specially developed character based on the historical figure of a street vendor, here activating the interrelationships of the visual, text and storytelling. The Pedlar’s domain and timeframe was StAnza, Scotland’s Poetry Festival, and St Andrews' locations that the festival temporarily inhabits – the town as everywhere and nowhere - The Pedlar was active in its nooks and crannies, and in its creative, academic and commercial institutions and venues.

Out and about and on the roam, the character engaged with, eavesdropped on and contributed to StAnza’s activities, conversing with festival participants and audiences, and the town’s visitors and residents. Triggered by poems that acted as the catalyst for conversations about poetry, reading, exchange, place and image, in exchange for the freedom to capture the essence of language constructed, released and shared through verbal presentations and  conversation, The Pedlar gifted hand-written notes to her conversants. The accumulation of spoken and written material she generated in swift, on the spot responses to the language of the festival – writing in situ – fed her online Blog. These posts present new writing, referencing poems and conversations, mixed and rehashed into forms that reveal The Pedlar’s key areas of interest. Centred on the relationship between image and text with a particular focus on the interrelationships between objects, language, collections, nature, journey, identity and place-making, this durational writing performance is a textual afterlife to the series of encounters enacted many times over a number of days.

The Pedlar as a character relates also to the tradition of mobile street sellers and to Scotland’s immigrant history stretching back to the 18th century, when strolling artists, performers and traders moved through its towns and cities, new citizens assimilating through the acquisition of language generated through exchange. The Pedlar occupied the public domain, exploring the space that exists between the terms ‘public’ and ‘art’, and the unpredictable give-and-take between artist and audience that enables new understandings of the spaces we inhabit, and of civic life.

Visit The Poem Pedlar’s Blog

In June 2013 we presented the paper 'Peddling Prints and Poems: activating the textual, the oral and the visual' on the interrelationships of the visual, text and storytelling, focusing on The Poem Pedlar and The Print Pedlar (part of WAR as EVER!). The presentation was accompanied by the gift to conference participants of a limited edition printed artwork.

Writing into Art, Strathclyde University and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, 18th and 19th June 2013.

The Poem Pedlar’s Pearls

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, St Andrews, 2012

Out and about in St Andrews during StAnza, Scotland's Poetry Festival, The Poem Pedlar collected material for her blog