If you’ve had your radios tuned to BBC Radio 3 recently you might have heard me reading my poems at the Royal Albert Hall for Proms Extra Lates. I shared a stage with the band Snowpoet and the oh good grief the most 🌟 dazzling 🌟 voice of Lauren Kinsella. If you didn’t hear the event live, the recording is available online for the rest of the month.
I read a new poem ‘Anniversary’, plus two poems which were originally published by The Junket as ‘Charm Against Wednesdays’ and ‘From What I Remember’, here titled ‘Field Dress’. And I started off with Aft, a poem for a passenger ferry called Matilda, commissioned by Spike Island in 2015 – and that reading is also online as a clip.
A million thanks to the Poetry Society for making it happen and to Georgia Mann at BBC Radio 3. I also got to sneak into the Proms proper and open my ears to bits of Reinbert de Leeuw’s The Night Wanderer which features barking dogs, big hammers and a recitation of Goethe’s poem The Wanderer’s Nightsong in German. I was clapping with my upped thumbs and I’m so grateful for the chance (the luck of it, the opportunity to be there, both). I had never been to the Royal Albert Hall before and here is my view of the audience gathering…
And if you were listening to BBC Radio 4, you might have caught me squeaking ‘hi there!’ to John Keats (at a fictional poetry festival (in a pub run by Sally Phillips (in a collective/fever/day dream of a village (in the mind of Glyn Maxwell)))).
I was one of three ‘new poets’ in the two-part programme ‘How to Write a Poem’ alongside Victoria Adukwei Bulley and Dominic Fisher. Thanks to the incredible Mair Bosworth for inviting me to get aboard Glyn Maxwell’s minibus to share a pint with John Clare and attend a Q&A with Emily Dickinson. Keats, Clare, Dickinson and Byron reply to us with lines taken verbatim from their poems, letters and diaries. It’s strange but all the better for it.
In Episode 1, I discuss my poem ‘Female Vapourer Moth’ with Glyn and in Episode 2, I talk briefly about writing on the move and in particular on the M4 as I chase a poem all the way from Bristol to Cambridge.