Twin City Projects
My home city Coventry was the first city in the world to twin with another. The twinning was with Stalingrad in 1944 as an expression of peace and reconciliation. Coventry has now established twinning links with 27 cities including Dresden, Belgrade and Arnhem.
I volunteer my time to sustain a twinning link promoting poetry between and Coventry and Cork in association with a great organisation called O’Bheal based in Cork. Each year sees a reciprocal exchange of poets from both sides providing touring and readings. Many of the poets exchanged have expressed the importance of a cultural twinning link between our cities. For me both artist and art-form, and reader and listener benefit from this exchange.
This link was officially acknowledged by President Michael Higgins on his historic first visit to England in April 2014. Both Paul Casey, myself and Joseph Horgan were one of a few poets invited to meet President Higgins and we read at the Guild Hall in Coventry and were humbled by his inspirational speech bridging the English and Irish communities enmeshed together by migration.
So far over 30 poets in 7 years have been exchanged and the link goes from strength to strength.