Philip Davenport writes on the world. His poems appear in art galleries, recordings, posters, publications, performances, streets and shop windows, inscribed on objects, and in books. His projects question social inequality and emotional dis/engagement. He is currently based in the UK and Berlin; works have been exhibited and broadcast internationally.

Language artist

Inscribing apples, labelling litter, or re-processing spreadsheets, Davenport gives voice to the quiet and the hidden. The pieces are metaphors for moral, political, or emotional dilemmas. Loss, violence, desire, oppression, are articulated using words and objects, connected through space, like 3D sentences. Secreted inside eggshells ("eggskulls") is a poem about genocide, street litter gives voice to an elegy for mass production, missing people are remembered on lamp posts all over Europe, and on washing lines in China... 

Since 2007, he has co-directed British arts organisation arthur+martha, with artist Lois Blackburn. They work collaboratively to devise many-voiced testimonies with homeless people, Holocaust survivors, asylum seekers, older people. These works, constructed of poem and memory are paralleled with image and textiles, they constitute a growing history of marginalised people in Britain and beyond.

Davenport’s small press Apple Pie Editions publishes books, CDs and catalogues that document these projects, along with works by many other poets and text artists.


Projects exhibited at The Southbank, The Houses of Parliament, Whitechapel Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Henry Moore Institute, tea houses in China, streets in Paris, Berlin, Bilbao, Reykjavik and many more.


Relocated to Berlin for HEAVEN PROOF HOUSE, a conversation with people who have had to leave a war at Staakenerstrasse refugee hostel, Spandau.

Co-editing the Kobitadhi online visual poetry anthology.

Heart-Shape Pornography and Vogue Divine works shown at Bury Art Museum exhibition The Art of Text.


The Homeless Library, launched at The Houses of Parliament, with public debut at Southbank London. This is the first history of British homelessness, made in collaboration with contemporary homeless people using handmade books. International collaboration between homeless people in Britain and Lithuania resulted in Sing Me to Sleep, the largest scale exhibition of works by homeless people ever shown in a gallery, worldwide.


The Senior Practical Teacher, collage book made collaboratively as The Gingerbread Tree  exhibited at Storey Gallery, Lancaster, and subsequently published in 2016 by KFS Press. September Wolves poem film made, soundtrack in collaboration with cellist Barbara Grunthal.


Devised THE DARK WOULD anthology, a major gathering of over 100 world-leading text artists and poets including Richard Long, Jenny Holzer, Fiona Banner, Shirin Neshat. Launched at Whitechapel Gallery, London. Davenport curated THE DARK WOULD at Summerhall in Edinburgh 2013-14 – large scale exhibition of text art with iconic works and practitioners, including Long, Beuys, Holzer, Hiller, Mallarme, Weiner.

THE DARK WOULD Volume 3 exhibition curated by Davenport at Text Festival 4, Bury Art Museum, featuring works and performances by Ron Silliman, derek beaulieu, Steve Fowler, anatol knotek, Rosmarie Waldrop, Richard Wentworth and many others.


the little society, visual poetry exhibition of Davenport's works as an immersive text installation across the walls, ceilings and floors of the Turnpike Gallery, Wigan, UK.


Residency in New York; Davenport interviewed leading poets and language artists (incl. Charles Bernstein, Jerry Rothenberg, Erica Baum, Bob Grenier) for THE DARK WOULD text art/poetry anthology.

Re-appropriated business cards and protest placards as intervention at Occupy Wall Street camp, NYC.

APPEAL IN AIR spreadsheet poem book, published by KFS.


this work im doin i dont kno what it is visual poetry solo exhibition at Henry Moore Institute.


A Shared Loneliness poetry residency in The Hague, Holland and 501 Studio, Chongqing, China. Curated exhibitions in both Holland and China, including the serial text art piece My Paintings Are Invisible.


Published poem/photo sequence about everything ‘an ode to mass production’, this book was expanded into the world as a mini-billposter project, labelling street litter, initiated at Liverpool Biennial (and completed in NYC 2011).

Science & Language exhibition at Mid-Pennine Arts, UK.

Constellation of Luminous Details CD of poems and sound treatments.


Poet/curator of Mercury Hymn, first commemorative gallery exhibition of Ian Hamilton Finlay works with a large commissioned text piece by Davenport, Heart Gallery, Edinburgh.


TEXT FESTIVAL. Davenport was Poet in Residence at Bury Art Gallery for this pioneering (and ongoing)festival of text art and experimental poetry. Produced a sequence of sound installations and prints, exhibited and archived at the gallery. Co-curated first major posthumous retrospective of renowned visual poet Bob Cobbing. Davenport's association with the continued sequence of Text Festivals is ongoing.


Heart Shape Pornography poetry installation at The Walker art gallery commissioned for Liverpool Biennial: texts ‘reclaimed’ from pornography handwritten onto hundreds of apples.

Curated anti-racist poster-poem exhibition for Manchester Poetry Festival.


The Imaginary Missing People poem series, made by collaging missing persons notices with Davenport’s own diaries, was billposted in Manchester, London, Brighton 1998-2001 as part of various art shows; published by Bob Cobbing through seminal experimental press Writers Forum, 1999 (then billposted again in Berlin, Reykjavik, Barcelona, Paris, Bilbao, 2007-8).

Public Collections

Extensive archive of Davenport's poetry and text art projects held at Bury Art Museum. Works held at the Southbank, Scottish Poetry Library, Vienna University Library, Sackner Archive USA. arthur+martha quilts held in the national collection by The Quilters' Guild.