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The earliest surviving Welsh poetry was forged on the battlefields of post-Roman Wales and the ‘Old North’ of Britain, and the Welsh-language poets of today still write within the same poetic tradition. In the early 20th century, Welsh writers in English outnumbered writers in Welsh for the first time, generating new modes of writing and a crisis of national identity. The editors of the new Cambridge history are joined by the great poet Gillian Clarke and novelist and historian Jon Gower to celebrate one of the oldest continuous literary traditions in Europe.
In honour of Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of his outstanding poem sequence, West–Eastern Divan (1819), A New Divan contains outstanding original poems by twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the East and twelve from the West. It presents a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’ and Goethe’s late, great work. Swainson, the editor of the project, is joined by Emirati, Iraqi and British poets to celebrate publication.
After her father’s death from dementia, writer and campaigner Nicci Gerrard set out to explore the illness that now touches millions of us, yet which we still struggle to speak about. What does dementia mean for those who live with it, and those who care for them? The first section of Lavinia Greenlaw’s new poetry collection The Built Moment is a sequence of poems called The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, about her father’s dementia and his disappearance into the present tense. It is not a narrative of illness so much as a meditation on the metaphysics of memory and loss. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Join us to celebrate this prestigious literary prize for writers aged 39 and under. The 2019 winner, to be announced on 16 May, talks to Dai Smith, chair of the judging panel and Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. The short-list comprises: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Zoe Gilbert, Guy Gunaratne, Louisa Hall, Sarah Perry and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
The actor gives a reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s radical 1819 poem, written in response to the Peterloo Massacre. The reading is introduced by John Mullan.
Maxine Peake was originally commissioned to perform The Masque of Anarchy in a full performace by Manchester International Festival,
How does language shape our perception of landscape? Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales, leads a walk to the valley where in 1939 TJ Morgan, a young academic (and father of the late First Minister Rhodri Morgan), made field recordings of the last native speakers of Welsh in this part of Breconshire. Morgan wrote movingly of his experience – he realised he was witnessing the end of a world. And yet, Welsh lives on the area and Morgan’s recordings, now held in St Fagan’s, took on a new life recently in the work of singer Twm Morys. The event will be in English, introducing the Welsh language poetry of Waldo Williams, Twm Morys and others in translation.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 12.30pm.
We are thrilled to launch the poet’s new eclectic book of poems, which collects commissions and collaborations of the last few years, with subjects ranging from sculpture and travel to the environment and drama.
Conran’s Dignity is a powerful novel about belonging, race, British India and contemporary Britain, by the Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted author of Pigeon. Doshi’s Small Days and Nights is a captivating and original story of family, of the ties that bind and the secrets we bury, set against the vivid and evocative backdrop of modern India. Doshi is the award-winning author of Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods and The Pleasure Seekers. They talk to Oliver Balch.
Simon Armitage hosts an all-star line-up to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of the iconic publisher, home of one of the world’s greatest poetry lists. Each of the poets reads from their own work and from the work of a Faber poet from a previous generation. The readings are interwoven with audio recordings from the Hay Player archive by the late, great Faber poets Derek Walcott, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
The Welsh publishing house throws a poetry party featuring four new collections from supremely talented poets. Costa Award-winning Jonathan Edwards reads from Gen – a book of sharp yet beautifully warm and humane poems. The title refers to people of Edwards’ generation and his recognition of the preoccupations of the age group that he shares. Catherine Fisher’s first collection for twenty years is The Bramble King, which includes poems on imaginary planets and princes, on the summer solstice, on drawing, on a glass shop – and a clockwork crow (title of her Blue Peter Award-shortlisted children’s book). Rhiannon Hooson’s beautifully resonant first collection The Other City was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year. Elizabeth Parker’s In Her Shambles is a fantastic debut of spikey, provocative, declamatory and wonderfully energetic poems. All four poets contribute to Seren's new Poems from The Borders anthology published in celebration of the English/Welsh Marches.
From the Greek island of Lesbos, Sappho presented one of the earliest forms of passionate literary subjectivity in the history of Western love poetry. As one of the first female love poets with verse embracing both men and women, her legacy in popular culture lives on and her persona has become etymologically attached to female homosexuality. What do we really know about Sappho? As a professional performer she wrote poems in various personae, yet scholars have persisted in regarding every fragment that survives as autobiographical.
Drawing on the results of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s research project, The Power of Poetry, this practical, activity-based workshop will explore how a focus on poetry in the classroom can improve children’s reading and language skills. Attendees will receive a copy of the CLPE publication Poetry in Primary Schools: What We Know Works.
‘The patron saint of poetry’ is author of over a hundred books of poetry for adults and children and one of the world’s great live entertainers. His exuberant new collection joinedupwriting ranges from forgotten friendships and the idiosyncrasies of family life to the trauma of war and contemporary global politics. These poems explore the human experience in all its shades of light and dark but always with McGough’s signature wit, irreverence and vivacity.
The year 1797–1798 is the most famous in English poetry. Out of it came The Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as Coleridge’s unmatched hymns to friendship and fatherhood, Wordsworth’s revolutionary verses in Lyrical Ballads and the greatness of Tintern Abbey, his paean to the unity of soul and cosmos, love and understanding. Nicolson tells the story of the year that Coleridge, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy and an ever-shifting cast of friends, dependants and acolytes spent together in the Quantock Hills in Somerset. What emerges is a portrait of these great figures as young people, troubled, ambitious, dreaming of a vision of wholeness, knowing they had greatness in them but still in urgent search of the paths towards it.
To research The Making of Poetry Adam spent a year living in the Quantocks in Somerset where Coleridge and Wordsworth had stayed towards the end of the 1790s when they were young aspiring poets dreaming of a world changed by poetry so that he could fully explore the genesis of the poems that came from that place and which were to become some of the most famous in the English language. Adam was accompanied for much of the time by the artist Tom Hammick who made woodcuts from fallen timber from the trees under which Wordsworth and Coleridge had sat with friends and family. In the second half of this event the artist joins Adam onstage to screen his woodcuts and discuss the nature and foundations of the Romantic revolution.
Chaired by Georgina Godwin.
The Roundhouse Poetry Collective is a group of some of the most exciting young, emerging poets in the country. Previous collective members include Jack Rooke, Caleb Femi and Cecilia Knapp. The group meets weekly to create and experiment under guidance from lead tutors Bridget Minamore (a former Poetry Collective member herself) and Cecilia Knapp. The Poetry Collective performs a mix of heartfelt, funny and challenging material, which they tour across the UK. We are delighted to present a selection of poems from this year’s collective.
The peerless theatre and film director discusses his life and his work with many of the greatest writers of this and every age. He talks about Shakespeare and language, about performance and interpretation, and he introduces and reads his debut collection of poetry.
Aphorisms have been described as ‘the obscure hinterland between poetry and prose’ (New Yorker) – short, pithy statements that capture the essence of the human condition in all its shades.
“Consciousness is the turn the universe makes to hasten its own end.”
“Agnosticism is indulged only by those who have never suffered belief.”
“Poet: someone in the aphorism business for the money.”
In this New and Selected, master of the form Don Paterson brings the best examples from his two previous volumes together with ingenious new material relevant to today’s world. Moving and mischievous, canny and profound, these wide-ranging observations of no more than one or two lines demonstrate that the aphorism is the perfect form for our times.