Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Muse: Close-Up Poetry

This past December Simon Armitage (b. 1963) launched "Close-up Poetry", a series at The Guardian in which poets read their own favorite poem before the camera. Armitage was first up with a straight-on reading of "An Accommodation", a prose poem from his 2010 collection Seeing Stars (Knopf, 2011), one of more than a dozen poetry books he has penned. Currently professor of poetry at University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, Armitage was awarded the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry in 2010 and a 1992 Forward Prize (for Kid). He has taught at the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop at University of Iowa and is a freelance writer, translator (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Death of King Arthur), broadcaster, and playwright.

Sarah Crown, "A Life in Writing: Simon Armitage", The Guardian, December 9, 2011 (Profile)

Simon Armitage Poems at The Poetry Archive and at the poem

Simon Armitage Profile at (Academy of American Poets) and Poetry Foundation 

Simon Armitage: "Poetry is a form of dissent",  Video Interview, The Guardian, November 7, 2011

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Costa book-of-the-year winner Jo Shapcott (b. 1953) reads "I Go Inside the Tree" from her most recent and award-winning collection Of Mutability (2010; available through resellers; Faber and Faber, 2011, Kindle). President of The Poetry Society and professor of creative writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, Shapcott has published more than a half-dozen other collections of poetry, including Tender Taxes (2002; Faber and Faber, 2010; Kindle), comprising versions of Rainer Maria Rilke's poems in French. Shapcott also is an essayist, anthologist, and translator. Among her other awards are several Forward Poetry Prizes and, most recently, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

Jo Shapcott Poems at The Poetry ArchivePoetry Foundation, and Poetry Translation Centre

"Jo Shapcott Honored for Life's Work in Poetry", Poets & Writers, January 3, 2012

Kira Cochrane, "Jo Shapcott: the Book of Life", The Guardian, January 26, 2011

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The series is a welcome introduction to poets on the other side of the Atlantic and is instructive for what it shows us about these talented writers' ability, or not, to deliver their words via video. Several of the poets give beautiful readings; one in particular would be wise, perhaps, to brush up on memorization.

Other poets participating in Armitage's series are: Paul Farley, reading "Treacle" from The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (Macmillan UK, 1998); Liz Lochhead, reading "My Rival's House"; Imtiaz Dharker, reading "Honour Killing" from I Speak for the Devil (Bloodaxe, 2001); Robin Robertson reading "At Roane Head", which received a Forward Prize for best single poem in 2009; Fleur Adcock, reading "Strangers on a Train", from her collection Dragon Talk (Bloodaxe, 2010); Fiona Sampson, reading "Envoi", from her collection Rough Music (Carcanet, 2010); and Michael Symmons Roberts, reading "Pelt" from Corpus (Cape, 2004), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award (now known as Costa Book Awards).

British Council Literature


Hannah Stephenson said...

These are fantastic!!!

Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

Thank you for these two videos this morning. I'm particularly moved by Armitage's reading of his "An Accommodation." Enjoy your week!

S. Etole said...

I'll return later to listen to the videos. They sound fascinating.