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residencies (& other public poetry/ resources)  

For Mario's projects in Science & Ecology, including Amazonia at the Natural History Museum and the acclaimed Chernobyl film, Heavy Water... click here.

  • 2012 Olympics: Tales from the Bridge
       Commission for major interactive soundscape/ poetry installation spanning the Millennium Bridge:
    London 2012 Olympics (shortlisted for the 2012 Ted Hughes Award).


  • Imperial War Museum [first Poet in Residence] + Multicaptions / LiterARTure
         [also see The Poetry Society site].

    Summary for SEARCH AND CREATE: The Imperial War Museum.      [Discontinued after 2013 due to Museum redesign.]

    It's rare for poets to present their work among artefacts of national importance. Rarer still that poetry should occupy a central place in a national museum's educational programme and public displays. And yet, unless you were an attentive visitor, or child, you could walk straight past it.

    Mario forged a small slice of history by becoming the first and so far (2015) only poet to reside at the IWM. Not surprisingly for a former scientist, he used his time there to observe visitors observing the artefacts. He struck on the idea of writing and locating poems throughout the site so as to fundamentally challenge how children and adults perceive those objects.

    Rather than being presented ostentatiously, the poems have to be found. One poem imitates the action of a sniper; another asks you to solve the riddle of what you're looking at; a third hoodwinks you into offering yourself up to an oncoming tank. These poems are themselves snipers, of a sort. They fly just under your radar, or drop serenely like depth charges that might at any moment explode into your attention.

    A worksheet encourages visitors and schoolchildren to write their own poems in response. So successful was this initiative that it has remained in force across two decades, and was even translated to the Old Trafford site of IWM North where Mario's poems are stencilled onto the walls and jostle provocatively with captions. Visitors are often surprised by these installations, energised by the visual and emotive impact of this strangely powerful and hauntingly innovative work.


  • Links for BBC Radio 3 Poet in Residence:

         - Listen Up!
         - Twenty Minutes.

         Sample commissions:

         - Feature with Seamus Heaney: terranauts.
         - Working with orchestras.


  • Saison Poetry Library 60th Birthday Celebrations...
    2013: to mark its anniversary, the Library commissions a new poem from Mario (one of six invited poets)
    distributed on postcards and projected onto the side of the Royal Festival Hall (with audio).

    Also published by the Guardian here.

    [... to listen to the poem, click here for audio page].


  • Charles Dickens Museum
        NAWE Writing on Location educational residency [MLA Council / British Library] LinC Project 2010.


  • Descant (Southwell Minster and the Archbishop's Palace) [2014]

    In 2014, distinguished filmmaker James Norton sited an intriguing multimedia installation in the Archbishop’s Palace at Southwell Minster. Part of this project involved the commissioning of Descant, a poetic tour de force researched and composed by award-winning poet Mario Petrucci. Colourful, educational and profoundly moving, Descant offers an aesthetic and factual cross-section of the Minster's epic past, from primal well-waters to Oliver Cromwell, from Roman villa to the fallen of World War I, sketching a compelling tableau of English history to arrive in the present fully charged with poise, wit and beauty.

    The on-site installation [delivered summer 2014] drew inspiration from Descant, amalgamating Norton's own factual narrative with flickering motes taken from Petrucci's poetry, while deploying music and visuals to haunting effect. [For an audio excerpt, click here - by kind permission.] You can also read the full poetry sequence as conceived and arranged by Petrucci, by clicking here.

    Capturing the varied personality of the Palace as well as the intrigue of its famous characters and narratives, Petrucci's poetry script in four voices incorporates archetypes of elemental resources, an eerie sermon on the Green Men, and a brilliantly miniature verse play exploring the fatal but fascinating machinations between Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Cardinal Wolsey. For anyone visiting the Archbishop's Palace at Southwell Minster, Petrucci's Descant provides Norton's text, and his innovative installation, with a magic dusting of poetic pollen.


  • The Bone Ship
    (Royal College of Surgeons/ Archives for London/ Poet in the City) [2013-2014]

    Through the Door is a major poetry commission [Poet in the City/ Archives for London] that brought experienced poets into the heart of some of London's most remarkable archives. Mario composed a suite of poems entitled 'The Bone Ship' in response to the archives at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. This poetry addresses a variety of poignant and visceral medical themes, including: war wounds and the First World War; facial reconstruction and the pioneering plastic surgeon H.D. Gillies; an infamous grave robber; the archives themselves, nestled against the College's extraordinary, though sometimes vaguely alarming, anatomical collections; the impact of the Blitz on the collections, seen through a surrealist lens; historical medical and surgical attitudes to the body (which invariably implicate gender); and, not least, the irrepressible strangeness of human anatomy, its inherent beauty, even in pathology. Mario's work is challenging, vivid and sometimes shocking, but always humane. Linguistically and conceptually inventive, the poems avoid using language merely as a tool to describe or comment on experience, deploying it instead as a medium utterly involved in the processes the poems explore. The Bone Ship serves to dissect a number of assumptions pertaining to the body, whilst creating intriguing links between poetics and the history of surgery (which overlaps, compellingly, with the history of social values). The project culminated in a reading/talk by Mario at the Royal College of Surgeons (15 October, 2014) which is archived by the British Library, and a further event (involving the other poets commissioned across the various archive sites in London) held at the British Library on November 24th, 2014.

    - Click here for a short film on Mario's poetry for the RCS.
    - A 2014 anthology contains all of the poets' works [via Poet in the City or at the RCS Library] - Mario's poems are also archived here.
    - Audio for Mario's full performance at the RCS [15 Oct. 2014] is archived at the British Library ['Sound & Moving Image Catalogue'] here.
    - Click here for a separate interview [pdf text] on how a writer might best approach historical residencies/ commissions generally.
    - Click here (then enter 'Petrucci' in Search box) [or here for shortcut] to listen to audio of Mario being interviewed by Poet in the City on his RCS residency [with Mario reading some of the poetry].

    ["The poems evoke much compassion around and within the stark language... Petrucci clearly demonstrates the capacity of poetry to uniquely convey what might otherwise be ineffable... an understanding that is not dependent on literal meaning."    click here for the full review of Mario's RCS poems by Dr Columba Quigley MD FRCP MA Literature and Medicine, Reading Room Editor, Medical Humanities.]


  • Royal Literary Fund:

         - Oxford Brookes University         - Click here for the RLF website
         - Humour and Purpose. . . Click here to read the Royal Literary Fund lecture.

         **   ARCHIVED   **    Click here   for  Mission Possible: The Study Skills Pack
         . . . an outstanding resource for essay & exam preparation.

         **   ARCHIVED   **    Click here [external archive] for  Creative Writing <-> Science   [... or here for internal archive]
         . . . a unique science-based resource for writers & teachers of all ages.


  • Southwell Workhouse. . . the Fearnought Project (featured on BBC Radio 4).


  • Royal Navy Submarine Museum: Mario was awarded the first Cultural Olympiad Grant
       (youth activities on the written and spoken word) in the national scheme for London 2012 -
       residency delivered 9 July 2008.

       "I saw the wonderful work that Mario had done with the Imperial War Museum... the opportunity
        came up... I jumped at it."    Jackie Edelman, Learning & Access Officer.


  • Site-specific work for North Middlesex Hospital: 'Our Storeys' project (2010).


  • 33 Boroughs Poetry Project: London Lines [Jaybird Live Lit./ Southbank Centre, July 2013]. Representative for Enfield.


  • London Borough of Havering


  • Click here... for some playful & powerful AUDIO samples from Mario's site-specific residencies, courtesy of Archive of the Now.


  • Royal Festival Hall

    audio-visual projection: October 2013


    Southwell Minster soundscape project

    Descant (Southwell Minster & the Archbishop's Palace)


    North Middlesex Hospital

    public art: 'Our Storeys' project



    South London, 2008: Mario's poems on public hoardings stimulate eco-awareness.


    copyright mario petrucci 2001