Spine-tingling poetry fun at Askew Road


Askew Library was thrilled when we found out that we were to have an artist in residence for 3 days as part of the Spine Festival – Libraries Out Loud.

During the 3 day Festival (3rd-5th March) there were artists in residence in a number of libraries in London as well as lots of other free events and activities taking place to celebrate arts and literature in London.

I met with Paul Lyalls  (our poet in residence) and we came up with a plan for an action-packed 3 days of poetry events and activities to take place in the library.


Paul very kindly sent us the piece below detailing his experiences as poet in residence at the library…

“For 3 days Askew Road Library (in downtown Hammersmith and Fulham) became the centre of the universe (or one of them) as Spine festival big banged into life with non-stop class visits, all action baby bounces, poetry parachutes, under 5’s in overdrive and one enormous-as-can-be book,  The Askew Road Library Big book of poetry 2016.









The book was big: on the way in, travelling in style on the Victoria Line Escalator, wind blew it onto a 6 year old Superman, sending him stumbling backwards – is it a plane? Is it large IKEA packaging reinventing itself? No, it’s…a book! On the Thursday, babies, mums, visiting classes and grown ups wanting to rediscover their inner Beatnik came through those library doors – which slid open Star Trek style to let the masses boldly go into the rhyming frontier.  Brilliantly assisted by the regular library staff  (the overdue crew), lots of great performances, poems and feel-good poetry vibes bounced from spine to spine. We are talking-taking big happy shelfies!

IMG_0060 IMG_0058






Brackenbury Primary School









Poetry with the Under 5’s








Friday kicked on in the same vain, with the 40 mums and 40 under 2’s allowing the poetry to mix and flow into the rhyme time. By now our big book of poems was filling up with individual poems, group poems  – lots of brilliant stuff.  People were taking it off the shelf  (if they could get someone to help them land it) and the groups kept coming. By the time we hit Saturday (the last day) over 300 people had taken part. Children were putting their work and other people’s work into the book, all ages were writing poems and the pages were nearly filled. The final page was covered by the Saturday Chatterbooks group who produced ‘The greatest Roald Dahl poems never written’ (’cept they are now).  5pm came and the library closes – it’s over – but it’s not! The book has an ISBN, a bar code and keeps the poetry writing.

Massive thanks the Askew Road Library team (Z, A, V, L, J and others). And thank you all who took part: I had a Fine-sublime-Spine-time.”

John Betts Primary School







There were a total of 15 events over the 3 days with over 350 Children and Adults taking part and helping to write over 100 poems in the Askew Road Big Book Of Poetry.

Zedh Foley, Customer Service Manager, Askew Road Library

For more information about events and Activities in Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries visit our webpage.

The Spine Festival is one project that Apples and Snakes operate so to find out more about this or other projects they run, check out their website.

Paul Lyalls, our Artist in Residence has his own page on the apples and snakes website as do the other artists that work with them. He also has his own webpage here.



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One Response to Spine-tingling poetry fun at Askew Road

  1. Francis Serejenat says:

    Well done Askew Road

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