Monday, May 22, 2023


These poem-bicycles were created in collaboration with Sandwich Bikes

Some will exist in Cambridge, where they are conceived as artworks given to members of the community on a long-term loan, as part of a public art project commissioned by Resonance Cambridge

Other poem-bicycles will exist as limited edition designs available for purchase. 

I had long been looking for a design of bicycle suitable to translate into a 'poem-object'. As soon as I saw the sturdy wooden design that Yno and the team at Sandwich Bikes have created I knew the moment for the poem-bicycle had come. 

The prototype bicycle, or mobile artwork, is currently in Cambridge, where it can be seen wandering the streets whenever Phil takes it for a ride. 

The short texts draw on the minimalism and playfulness of one-word poems and circle poems – forms which I have produced over the past 2 decades – adapted to the supportive architecture of the bike frame. The texts attempt to define meaning, poetically, while also allowing it to remain in motion – the turning wheel of the season, transitory impressions of moving figures. changing street scenes, the informal pleasure of the bicycle as a physical form and flexible mode of being a passer-by in the world. 

I like that the bicycle-poem makes it's debut in the city Joseph Needham called home; it was he who suggested to Chairman Mao, when asked his opinion, that China should stick with the ordinary bicycle, not divert to the shiny motor car, in a casual conversation that arguably deferred climate breakdown by a few years. 

For ease of readability, these are the poems.

a figure / thrown over the air / shadow

for all / seasons / cycle

I make ends meet / bridge

I’m not / in a hurry / I’ve got / to get on

in a whirl / world

it’s safe to / sleep on the lion / when the lion / is asleep

pedals / bend / the metal

slow: / trailer on the path /  snail

still / a circle / wheel

the path’s / speech bubble / puddle

the wheel / we all turn around / horizon

this path / that path

Thanks to Phil for the photographs of the prototype poem-bicycle in Cambridge, and to Yno and his team for rendering the artist impressions of the designs.


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