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Brutal inspiration: why poets are writing about Coventry's ring road

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Encircling an eccentric city centre where medieval streets meet the modern world, this hulking piece of 1970s infrastructure is the subject of 27 poetry films celebrating its bizarre concrete beauty

The urban landscape has long set literary imaginations on fire– but a ring road may not spring to mind as an obvious source of poetic inspiration. In Coventry, however, the overt orbicular oddness of the ring road and its nine junctions, each elbowing the city, has been celebrated in a collaborative homage to concrete and tarmac by nine poets and nine film-makers.

“The ring road reminds me of a huge creature,” mulls Leanne Bridgewater, one of the poets involved in the Disappear Here project, dreamt up by local artist Adam Steiner. “The ring road has a great presence, not dissimilar to the old city walls,” reflects Steiner, “but driving on it reminds me of Scalextric!” The roller-coaster qualities of driving the road are legendary – you can complete the circuit in five minutes.

Related: A tale of twin cities: how Coventry and Stalingrad invented the concept

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