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.