Last year I invented a game. It’s a poetry treasure hunt, where poetry postcards are placed around a town and clues left on social media for people to follow. It is a game to celebrate National Poetry Day and to try to get people thinking about, and enjoying, some free poetry. I called it ‘Poetrymon’ as you have to find them all…
The players have been the hiders of the poems (from the writing collective I run, ME4Writers), and the seekers of the poems, (in this case the people of Medway, where we have played the game for the last two years).
Is it an immersive game? Is it theatre? Is it performance? An art installation? Is it some strange hybrid?
The Hiders are playing the role of covert operative, the Seekers the role of sleuth.
The journey is for the most part unscripted – though we have a plan of where we want to put poems, plans have to change on the fly as we encounter obstacles, such as locked gates and the approach of night.
The game takes the whole day and we document it as we go. The hiders’ increasing tiredness is part of the performance… if it is a performance… We welcome feedback and place a QR code on a poem as the only identifier of the project, so the finder needs to have access to a smart phone in order to find out more. Part of the project is that we do not expect every poem to be found, and not everyone who finds them will have a smart phone, so where and when they are found, sometimes they are a sweet mystery. We hid 28 poems across 5 towns this year. The cards are individually crafted and each one unique. Sometimes it is hard to leave them, but we hope that if they are found, they give a little joy.