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Poetry on the Beeb

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  • Poetry on the Beeb

    Just watched the Robert Webb My Life in Verse thing on BBC2 and most lovely it was as well.

    It's not every day normal telly gives you windows onto the eternal cosmos and our peculiar little place in it, all shot gloriously and shot through with glory.

    And with a personal narrative weave keeping the whole beautiful beast intact and on track.

    I'd never heard the Don Patterson poem before, and given the trauma of the birth of my daughter the other week, it cut me straight to the quick.

    The Thread
    Jamie made his landing in the world
    so hard he ploughed straight back into the earth.
    They caught him by the thread of his one breath
    and pulled him up. They don't know how it held.
    And so today I thank what higher will
    brought us to here, to you and me and Russ,
    the great twin-engined swaying wingspan of us
    roaring down the back of Kirrie Hill

    and your two-year-old lungs somehow out-revving
    every engine in the universe.
    All that trouble just to turn up dead
    was all I thought that long week. Now the thread
    is holding all of us: look at our tiny house,
    son, the white dot of your mother waving.

    Good poems stick in my mind like a melody melted into the memory.
    And were as important to me growing up in Sticksville as Dylan or The Velvets or John Lydon.

    I feel all awash with it all, I do.

    Time for a G&T.
    To infinity - and beyond!

  • #2
    Don Paterson is pretty good in general, not light reading, but well worth the effort, and often very funny, in a bleak, dark-humoured way.

    As somebody who works in poetry, writing and performing it, editing a magazine etc, I'll admit I was dreading this season, expecting the usual crass celeb-fronted crap, but while there's been a bit of that, most of what I've seen has been fairly watchable, not too patronising, and at times even very good indeed: Owen Sheers giving the likes of George Mackay Brown and Lynette Roberts some deserved props was a couple of half hours well-spent, and Simon Armitage was pretty informative in his wanderings around a variety of landscapes in search of the Gawain poet, anyway.

    Not seen the Webb programme yet, but looking forward to it, especially as (a) Lincolnshire is weirdly fascinating, and figures heavily in the programme judging by advance notices and (b) 'The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock' is one of the best bits of verse ever penned and one I've been reading since I was 15 and never tired of. If only the Eliot estate would allow Linton Kwesi Johnson to release the dub recording he claims he made of it some years back...that I would like to hear!
    Last edited by wayne; 06-06-2009, 03:32 AM.
    a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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    • #3
      picked up one of the jupiter "here now"(1962-'63) l.p's in my local cancer research last week...may i reccomend this series....seemingly put together with great respect, many of the works are read by the authors.
      this one is part two, which concludes with John Wain's "Au Jardin Des Plantes"..timely in it's portrayal of the tragedy of human redundancy

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      • #4
        Good Eliot doc last night as well (save an appearance from Pantomime Dame Lloyd-Webber).
        Back and to the left... back and to the left... back and to the left

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        • #5
          My favourite poem is 'Ode To A Goldfish'...

          Oh, wet pet

          Genius.
          If I ever end up like U2 slit my throat with a garden vegetable

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