60 Poems in 60 Years

Faber 60 Poems in 60 Years
How can you present poetry better on the web? 60 Poems in 60 Years re-examines how to present a poetry anthology digitally. Faber were commissioned by BBC’s The Space, and I produced the project while at Somethin’ Else.

Jubilee Lines is an anthology edited by Carol Ann Duffy, with a poem commissioned for each year of the Queen’s reign. It’s a fascinating way to slice up history, and the poems compressed ideas in all kinds of different ways, some very personal, some outwardly focused on historical events.

Poetry is so different when read out loud, and the heart of the site is newly recorded readings of each poem, from a variety of great actors. Stefanie Posavec designed beautiful visualisations of those readings, which can be paged through like a stack of index cards or records in a jukebox.

We also wanted to bring the historical references to life, and came up with a lovely way of unpacking archive with stills, and audio, and little clips of video, that can be looked through like a stack of photographs (with the accompanying bounce and drag that physical photographs would have) before coming back to the spoken poem at the bottom of the pile.

60 poems in 60 years screenshot

The third strand of making the site was designing a discovery method – how could we lead people easily and naturally to the poem that’s the right poem for them right now? Clearly, a simple way of navigating to the year you want is the primary navigation, but secondarily, we categorised the poems in a more emotional way, with tabs for twelve different themes ranging from celebration to zeitgeist to loss, which can also be looked through.

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My aim was always to use HTML5 trickery subtly and elegantly to keep the poems themselves front and centre. There are some astonishing poems in there.

Clients: Somethin’ Else/Faber/BBC The Space
Role: Producer
2012