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Juliette Hart, Poet: Five things I would change about Jersey

Juliette Hart, Poet: Five things I would change about Jersey

Friday 14 June 2019

Juliette Hart, Poet: Five things I would change about Jersey


She's normally capturing scenes of "summer lunches on benches" and "flip-flops slipped off" in sweet rhythms, but today the words being whisked up are about how to make Jersey a better place.

Well-known local poet Juliette Hart has recently paired with keen poet Stefan le Marquand to create the new poetry group, La Poèt'tie.

Their idea evolved from a Poetry Slam event that was organised last year in September. Then, with Juliette's love of arts and Stefan's inclusive attitude, La Poèt'tie was formed. Both poets hope it to be as welcoming and diverse as possible.

The group's next gathering is scheduled to be on the 26th June, 19:00 to 21:00, where there is first a discussion about poetry, leading into an open mic session where up and coming poets are welcome to share their poems.

But today Juliette has swapped rhyme for reason, and explained to Express the five ways she would improve Jersey...

1. Poetry in public places

I would like to see Jersey embrace the uplifting and thought-provoking power of poetry by making it visible in public spaces, accessible to all.

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Pictured: One of Juliette's poems displayed on a Guernsey bus.

This happens in London (Poems on the Underground) and our sister island of Guernsey (Poems on the Move, where winners of the annual Guernsey Literary Festival Poetry Competition are displayed in the island’s buses and at the airport). In 2013 a project was launched in St Helier where poems were printed on banners and displayed in empty shop windows but despite positive feedback, this did not continue. With a new vision, Jersey could show the accessibility of poetry.

2. Eradicate the 'empty shells'

There are many empty shops and offices in St Helier (soon to be adorned with poetry – see 1 above?). With the increase of online shopping it’s unlikely that many of the abandoned shops have a future in retail, and with modern offices being built the old premises are redundant.

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Pictured: Time to glam up the run-down, Juliette says, by converting St. Helier's "shells" into quirky homes.

The island desperately needs residential accommodation, so I’d like to see these shells converted into quirky apartments and perfect places to live in the middle of town.

3. Look up!

It is often said that St Helier is not very attractive (comparisons are made to the pretty port of St Peter Port) but when was the last time you walked through town and looked at the upper storeys? There is an abundance of attractive architecture.

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Pictured: "Look up to be uplifted."

Yes, there are some pretty grim buildings too, but I see that our town is managing to hold on to its character. I urge people to slow down, look up, to be uplifted.

4. Walk the walk

We are a small island which is very reliant on cars. These cars are often large, fast, loud and unsuitable for our roads and lanes. Many journeys are walk-able, so save pollution and walk the walk. If it’s too far, walk there and bus back. If it’s raining, wear boots and take a brolly!

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Pictured: There's no excuse not to take the environmentally friendly 'shoelace express', Juliette says, even in bad weather!

Walking is great for multitasking: as you walk you can unravel problems, compose poetry, or simply explore the view. Walking is good for physical and mental health, everyone can benefit from it.

5. Let's be governed by the arts

We’re lucky to be an island full of talented artists, musicians, dancers, writers and poets. For years the government’s funding of arts and culture has been on the decrease. The diverse and enriching programmes offered by our wonderful Opera House and Arts Centre have been maintained through meticulous management but their position remains precarious.

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Pictured: Juliette wants Jersey to fully embrace the arts in order to pull culture out of 'crisis' mode.

I would like to see Jersey embrace the importance of arts and culture in our society, for all ages and all abilities. I challenge everyone to pick up a programme and choose a show or performance which they wouldn’t normally attend. Go along and be surprised – talk about it, think about it, open your mind. Tickets often cost less than half a tank of petrol, but your journey will go far beyond the next set of traffic lights. And Government of Jersey, please continue to invest in this prescription for the enjoyment and wellbeing of your people.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author, and not Bailiwick Express.

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