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24 September 2014
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March 2003
Birmingham - Capital of Culture
Roi Kwabena (Birmingham's Poet Laureate 2001-2002)
The Green Man sculpture at The Custard factory
The Green Man living sculpture by Tawny Gray
Birmingham's Poet Laureate for 2001- 2002 Roi Kwabena was specially commissioned to write this poem about Birmingham.
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FACTS

Roi Kwabena was Birmingham's Poet Laureate from 2001 - 2002.

The 'Green Man' by sculptress Tawny Gray is a 40ft high 'living' sculpture symbolising life, fertility and creativity. It stands at the gateway to the Custard Factory arts and media complex.

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Birmingham - Capital of Culture

This is no mirage
glittering canals engage
Industry alongside Genius
exporting commerce and determination
of humans in waves with precious
resources settled
in pursuit of excellence...here a river flows
directly connected to many cities,
some bear her name begrudgingly
imitating her ingenuity feigning success

an' green men guard
like the sphinxes
promise of a sustainable future
with learning elders and youth multilingual
proclaiming victories

open spaces to breathe
alongside basins of promise
near where postmodernist world
leaders have quenched their thirst
minted coins...fashioned precious stones jostle
aromas of once exotic now only tempting

cuisines galore
carnivals in the shadow of public art
an entire district dedicated to balti
Luna society of scientific enquiry
Aston hall where royalty dined
Abolitionists, friends and metal smiths
confer as harvested chocolate is still prepared
sporting arenas and automobile engines fine tuned

female advocacy...trade unionism
justice, equality and liberty
Rupert sacked but never conquered
soho house resonates charm


Be immersed in her diversity without effort
celebrate the many who gave in principle
to follow forward
52º north



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