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Vince Laws explains THIS POPE IS PANTS... banned from the Jubilee Library, Brighton at the launch of 'I Am A Poem' / 6 February 2013

Vince Laws with THIS POPE IS PANTS adorning his Norfolk cottage.

Vince Laws with THIS POPE IS PANTS adorning his Norfolk cottage.

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The visual poem, entitled THIS POPE IS PANTS, is made of donated pants, stitched together to form bunting. There is a letter stapled to each crotch, spelling out THIS POPE IS PANTS. THIS POPE IS PANTS was displayed at the packed artistic launch in the library on 1 February, but has now left the building.

As a poet and artist I wanted to protest at the Pope’s visit to the UK. For me that means coming up with words, a poem, a slogan – and then finding a way to make that piece visual., something that engages with the public.

When I came up with THIS POPE IS PANTS I liked the derogatory, perhaps infantile but humorous sense that PANTS evokes, and set out to spell out why this Pope is PANTS after checking out the Protest the website.


P – Protector of paedophile priests.
A – Against abortion always, even in extreme cases, vulnerable women, rape, abuse
N – No Condoms Never leading to big families and the spread of AIDS (He’s changed his view on this since I started my protest, now male prostitutes are showing responsibility when they use condoms… it’s a start.)
T – Teaching segregation by encouraging segregated education.
S – inSulting to all Sexualities who don’t fit his narrow definition of normal. 

I invited people I knew on Facebook to send me pants if they agreed with my protest and I got over 50 pairs from enthusiastic supporters. I’ve hand-stitched the briefs and y-fronts and knickers together so they hang like bunting. There are poets’ pants, artists’ pants, teachers’ pants, a pop star’s pants, mum’s pants, dad’s pants, kids’ pants, all sewn together in protest.

I hung the 3 strings of THIS POPE IS PANTS bunting on my cottage in Norfolk during the Pope’s week long visit to the UK. I was interviewed about my protest by BBC Radio Suffolk, and on North Norfolk Radio News. The letters are made of card, stapled on to each crotch.