A Tale of Two Cities Special Edition Contour WPL Magazine Issue 3


Proudly presenting the

Special Edition

Transatlantic Poetry Project

‘ATOTC’ – A Tale of Two Cities

Contour WPL Magazine Issue 3. 

Click full screen or read on issuu if easier. 

The magazine can be read online, you cannot download, but you can share across social media using the share buttons. 

It is more than double the length of a standard issue, so I do not suggest you attempt it in one sitting. I know often people dip in, read their own pages. I encourage you to spend a week or so reading the entire project because the poetry and responses are amazing. 

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The Tale of A Tale of Two Cities


I had the idea before I was appointed Worcestershire Poet Laureate to try an International Project, at the interview they asked unexpected questions and one was about Legacy, so after promising something International, it was best to deliver! 


The month after I was appointed, I contacted the Cultural Development team in Worcester Massachusetts with an idea, they put me in contact with Bob Gill of the County Poetry Society.

August/ September

Over the summer I wrote a project bid for the committee.


The bid was discussed and voted on in the Autumn.


In December Bob passed me onto Rodger Martin who masterfully recruited a matching number of poets in America and ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (ATOTC) was launched.


During December we busily recruited poets from a pool of Worcester UK and Worcester USA. Midway through the month guidelines and deadlines were set and poets started sending copious amounts of emails with initial Call poems.


Deadlines were missed (January) but by February we had the initial side of the project more or less (there are always challenges with this sort of collaborative work and we had to iron out some guideline issues and loss of partners etc.) 

In February Response poems were penned and sent, work was edited, pairings got to know one another and Bios were added. 


March/ April/May

In March I spent a HUGE amount of time editing and sending out proof copies and realising that the April/May publication was definitely going to be May. (I went back to full time work in April.)

Even after all the editing* was complete there were still 3 weeks of tweaking and the occasional hawk-eye moment. Then the process of compiling the magazine frame took a week and the last part of the process which is as straight forward as converting document files to PDF and uploading the issue took almost 8 hours. 

*I didn’t edit in the traditional sense, with 47 poets I couldn’t. Many partners took on the role of editing buddies and the poets worked on versions between them. I kept an eye on American English/ layout/ punctuation and the occasional misspelling. 


May the 20th (3 weeks until the end of my Laureateship) the Legacy project is completed – just in the nick of time.

Now I can proudly present Issue 3 Contour Worcestershire Poet Laureate Magazine Special Edition A Tale of Two Cities *try saying that in a Newsagents! 


With Thanks



I am grateful to all 47 poets involved, to Rodger Martin for obtaining a matching number of American participants, for Bob Gill for all the initial groundwork, for the support of the WLF team and Steve Mackay Worcester’s Lord Mayor (2017-18) for writing a brilliant Foreword for the publication which celebrates our City and highlights connections to America. 


black and gray microphone
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Readings are being organised now both in the UK & the USA and later this year I shall start on the ATOTC project which will hopefully be a collective reading using media and live performance Call & Response.

This is just the beginning!


  1. Reblogged this on Polly and commented:
    Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis’s third issue of Contour is her biggest project during her laureate year. A collaboration of poets in Worcester USA and Worcester UK in the form of call and response. A wonderful result and I am proud to be one of the poets. 🙂


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