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Alex Russell

poems about the rain / poems to place in the rain

January 6th 2022 - February 3rd 2022

Alex Russell's latest publication, 'poems about the rain', is a micro-collection of six short poems using weather to explore responses to the uncontrollable, with the speakers of the poems gradually shifting outlook across the piece.


Accompanying 'poems about the rain' is a series of visual poems and image macros, 'poems to place in the rain'. In congruence with the residency taking place through a vending machine intended for children's stickers, these works are shared as colourful weatherproof decals. 


Each piece is an expression of love, longing, or a feeling of abundance, and those engaging with the work are invited to place them in spaces which risk being considered bleak and discouraging attention. When displayed publicly, the pieces hope to bring a point of brightness to the surroundings and invite reflection to observers.

Alex Russell is a Norwich-based nonbinary poet and mental health worker. Their writing has been published by McSweeney's, Ghost City Press and Salò Press, among others. They have read at libraries, arts centres, drag performances and house shows, and held workshops for charities, schools and the NHS Wellbeing service.


In addition to being an editor at Placeholder Press, they have edited anthologies of creative writing for OPEN Youth Trust, been part of the judging panel for Newfound's Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the editorial panel for Beyond Queer Words. While receiving a poetry prize from Café Writers that paid their winter heating bill (with a little left over for a new chapbook stapler) was likely their most notable accolade, they are also proud of being a finalist for an unofficial Taco Bell writing residency, recieving a bobblehead from Netflix in response to one of their poems, and a bird they have never met in Michigan choosing one of Alex's poetry posters as their favourite roosting spot.

Alex Russell can be found on the web at placeholderpress.co.uk, Twitter here or Instagram here


What is Special Dispensations?

Special Dispensations is an artist residency programme by Honor Ash, based in a vending machine, currently situated in the bar of Norwich Playhouse. Each month, a new artist is invited to take over and use the machine to distribute works on paper for the price of 50p per vend. 

How can I apply for a residency with Special Dispensations? 

Send us an email at specialdispensations@gmail.com and we'll get in touch with details on how to submit a proposal. 

Who gets the money from the sale of artworks? 

50% of all income goes to the resident artist, and 50% contributes towards the administrative costs of keeping it running.

What do I do if there's a problem with the machine, or it vends me a blank card? 

Email specialdispensations@gmail.com or call or text 07702440950 with the time, date, and nature of the issue, and we'll head out to fix it as soon as we can. If it eats your change, we can also arrange a refund. Please note the venue where the machine is located cannot issue a refund on our behalf. 

Norwich Playhouse

42-58 St George's Street




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