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residencies - havering

In the summer of 2000, Mario Petrucci was Poet in Residence in Havering as part of the innovative Year of the Artist scheme. Mario's residency in Havering resulted in a book of poems (The Stamina of Sheep) and a poetry walk through the fascinating geology and folklore of this area.

The Thames Walk, inspired by the Thames sequence in the book, defines a communal and public role for poetry as a site-specific event.
Mario also conducted poetry workshops and readings in Havering and wrote a schools Study Pack to accompany the poems.

The book and Study Pack, supported by London Arts, have been distributed to every library and secondary school in the Borough.
The outcome is a unique and far-reaching residency.

'This work should be the study of all Writers in Residence to see the level of excellence that can be achieved.'   Writing in Education, December 2002

(read more)

Click on The Stamina of Sheep to read more about the poetry collection
or to purchase either of the books.

Click on the green Study Pack to see some of Mario's exercises
from "The Havering Poetry Study Pack".

Praise for the Study Pack:

'Brimming with good ideas . . . it is not difficult to adapt the ideas, suggestions and activities presented to a more general use'
- Martyn Crucefix, poet and teacher

Some poems from The Stamina of Sheep . . .



There's a whale in Broadway.
I saw it. It swallowed the rail-line.
The station knotted its throat.

I found it up the Creek. No?
Look. That stove-in drain might be
a blow-hole. That gray slant of slate

a fin-tip. The viaduct exposes
its ribs, New Road gives it the hump.
I've heard it sing in a creaking board.

Look again - its belly blubbers
into marsh; the sewage-works
strain bilge for particles of us.

As for the clock-tower - you can
have a whale of it there. Choose
for yourself which unblinking eye

to watch. Go on. Just take the time
and the whale will show you how
bit by bit, time can take forever.


(Durolitum, now Romford - the A12)

The curve, Briton? Admission of weakness.
Beneath your feet was flint crushed to dust

kicked up with each crunch of Celtic bone
that was many sandals strapped into perfect step.

This stretch, this rammed surface of iron slag,
brought Rome to you - the mother-city

which flowered in my rainless mind where
as if a hawk, I saw Her roads spoke outwards -

a cartwheel sliced in half by the Tyrrhenian sea.
I laid it down, Briton - your map slashed by

decisive strokes, this straightness in your arteries
and though I am dust your slave steel

trammels still to my vision - what you see
and how you move through it settles back

and back, to my first unswerving gaze.

Mario reading his poem 'Roman' during the unveiling of Gerstein's new sculpture entitled 'Romans' (Gallows Corner, Havering).


copyright mario petrucci 2001