Hunt The Poem

Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature planned a reading campaign for February 2010 called Carry A Poem. They were looking for something more participative than your average reading. I had the idea of running some kind of alternate reality game to work within the campaign.

I recruited a team of rather talented people — poet, visual artists, photographers, writers, magician, geocachers, web designers, and general geeks — and we set out to devise something accessible and fun with about two months to get it together. We came up with the idea of a secret family poem, passed down the generations, which becomes lost in Victorian times due to a family feud. The challenge was to solve twelve moderately intricate puzzles to rediscover the lost lines of the poem and reassemble it.

The process of finding Elizabeth Galbraith’s lost poem required the poem hunters to follow trails of history around the city, stalk dead poets on Flickr, follow secret messages through magazines and library collections, and ultimately even perform in a live poetry reading. As the lines were recovered they appeared in a giant version in the window of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Elizabeth’s poem was completed at the last moment, but not before an eerie visitation …

You can follow the full story of Hunt The Poem at its web site, which is now an archive.