Young people's poetry hidden around Hoxton

A poem about regret displayed on a Hoxton business. 

A poem about regret displayed on a Hoxton business. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

Hackney residents are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for young people's poetry in unexpected places in Hoxton. 

From April 17, poetry started to appear in the area - on tree tops, ketchup bottles, bus stops, in cafes and schools. 

Young local poets, aged 8 to 15,  are part of the Ministry of Stories Community Writing Labs, and their works have been brought to life by award-winning design agency make:good.

Cotton the dog, who lives in Hackney, wearing a poem on her collar. 

Cotton the dog, who lives in Hackney, wearing a poem on her collar. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

Rob Smith, Ministry of Stories’ director thanked the "fantastic" Hoxton Street community" and local businesses and organisations for their support in "bringing the project to life".

He said: “I am so proud of the work our young people have produced, from brilliantly funny to heart-stoppingly poignant.

"These poems will stop people in their tracks."

Rip a poem in Hoxton. Unexpected Poetry by Ministry of Stories.

Rip a poem in Hoxton. Unexpected Poetry by Ministry of Stories. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

In all, 50 poems are being installed in the borough. Some of the places include poems printed on a dog called Cotton's collar, one hidden in a library book and another lasered onto breadsticks.

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Another poem is projected onto the wall of the railway tunnel near Hoxton station.

Young poet Keira, aged 12, who preferred not to use her surname, said: “People are going to see that, it might make their day. I’m excited to see what people are going to think.’

George Koutas, director at make:good, added: “We always learn a lot from our work designing with children and young people - their ideas and unfiltered feedback challenged us to reconnect with our most imaginative and zany selves."

A poem written in sugar reads: "I want you to listen when your son wants ice cream."

A poem written in sugar reads: "I want you to listen when your son wants ice cream." - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

More poems are set to be discovered on and around Hoxton Street, so keep your eyes peeled this spring. 

The Unexpected Poetry project is supported by Hackney Council’s Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund, Arts Council England, Mayor of London, and individual supporters of the charity.

Ministry of Stories is currently recruiting for their free Community Writing Labs. 

Children aged 8-15 can get involved by visiting www.ministryofstories.org/community-labs 

Hug poem on a mug. Unexpected Poetry by Ministry of Stories

Hug poem on a mug. Unexpected Poetry by Ministry of Stories - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

A Garden of Words poem placed in Hackney tree tops. 

A Garden of Words poem placed in Hackney tree tops. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021


Young writer Cian, aged 10, whose preferred not to use his surname.

Young writer Cian, aged 10, whose preferred not to use his surname. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

Coffee cup poem in Hackney. 

Coffee cup poem in Hackney. - Credit: © Kirsty Telford 2021

Napkins poems at Paula's Cafe on Hoxton Street. 

Napkins poems at Paula's Cafe on Hoxton Street. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021

Pinch and pull poems box in Hackney. 

Pinch and pull poems box in Hackney. - Credit: © Kirsty Telford 2021


A poem projected onto the tunnel near Hoxton overground station. 

A poem projected onto the tunnel near Hoxton overground station. - Credit: © Tom Oldham 2021


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