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Spring and Summer 2017 events

are on the calendar below

Scroll down for full details

 


      Graham Fawcett         

    writer, teacher, lecturer, translator and broadcaster

                                                                                   photo: Birgitta Johansson

 

Events and Courses Calendar

 

e-mail: grahamkfawcett@gmail.com   telephone: 020 7405 3997

 

You may go ahead and send in your booking for any event, without first enquiring about ticket availability,

unless the event is marked 'check by e-mail before booking'

 

“an electrifying evening . . . the atmosphere was tremendous”.         (Irena Hill, Dante Night in Greenwich, 2016)


 

     Would you like to make someone a gift of a ticket to one or more of these events? If so, please click here

 


 

  Coming soon, and all bookable singly  

(this calendar is usually updated every two or three days)  

 


 

 

 

Spring 2017

 

 


MAY

AT A GLANCE

3rd - Creation 7 (Birds and Beasts) in Mayfair (morning)

4th - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Lewes - POSTPONED TO 22 JUNE

8th - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Farnham

10th - Creation 8 (Fire, Air, Earth, Water) in Mayfair (morning)

11th - Edward Thomas Night (with appearances from other War Poets) in Greenwich

17th - Creation 9 (Man) in Mayfair (morning)

24th - Creation 10 (Woman) in Mayfair (morning)

31st - Creation 11 (Man and Woman) in Mayfair (morning)

10th - Crea


MAY


Wednesday 24th May 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

10

WOMAN

Image result for mary cassatt

 

Unconstrained by Oscar Wilde’s “Women are made to be loved, not understood”, artists and writers create women they feel both for. Grace, beauty, strength, and the spectrum from pose to naturalness are tackled head-on by Mansfield, Farjeon, Tennyson, Shakespeare, Ovid, Byron, Joyce, Duffy, Forster, Tolstoy, Neruda, Heaney, Murasaki; Picasso, Praxiteles, Titian, Kandinsky, Millais, Watts, Vermeer, Romney, Dubuffet, Mary Cassatt, Renoir, Bonnard, Gauguin, and ancient artists.                                        Image: Mary Cassatt, The Reader (1877), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, US

 

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW

 


 

Wednesday 31st May 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

11

MAN AND WOMAN

Image result for marc chagall amoureux de vence images

 

Life in, and after, Eden is the elephant in the room of their encounter. Body language and the double portrait are manna to the creative appetite. Borges, Day Lewis, cummings, Muir, Shakespeare, Lawrence, John Betjeman, Shelley, Chaucer, Fitzgerald; Klimt, Holman Hunt, Rembrandt, Poussin, Martin, Bouguereau, Hamilton, Moore, Courbet, Mayan art, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir.

Image: Marc Chagall, Amoureux de St-Paul de Vence (1957)

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW

 


JUNE

AT A GLANCE

7th - Creation 12 (Children) in Mayfair (morning)

10th - Poetry and Violin Recital (Farnham Flash Festival)

14th - Creation 13 (Settling and Journeying) in Mayfair (morning)

21st - Creation 14 (History-in-the-making) in Mayfair (morning) 

22nd - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Night in Lewes 

28th - Creation 15 (Human Creation) in Mayfair (morning)

29th - Walt Whitman Night in West Bay


JUNE

Wednesday 7th June 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

12

CHILDREN

Image result for elizabeth adela forbes

 

Seen and heard through the silence of page and canvas, the child is always who we were, and the hare of memory is set running at once. Innocence confronts vulnerability and makes conflict heart-rending and vital. Coleridge, Kipling, Eliot, Greta Stoddart, Szymborska, Thomas, Dickens, Gaskell, Hardy, Jackie Kay, Stevenson, Emerson, Longfellow, Hughes, Merwin; Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes, Moore, Millais, Moran, Rembrandt, Ernst, Sargent, Monet, Renoir, Mucha.

Image: Elizabeth Adela Forbes, School Is Out (1889), Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW


Saturday 10th June 2017 at 730pm

FARNHAM FLASH FESTIVAL

ST ANDREW'S CHURCH, Upper Church Lane, Farnham GU9 7PW

Tilford Bach Society

Poetry and Violin Recital

Elizabeth Cooney                                                                   Graham Fawcett                                                               Grace Mo

 

Image result for elizabeth cooney violin

Image result for Sladers Yard

  Grace Mo, piano

 

Join writer and broadcaster Graham Fawcett, virtuoso violinist Elizabeth Cooney and pianist Grace Mo for an evening of poetry, prose and music. Featuring writers who were born or lived in Surrey and Hampshire, including Jane Austen, William Cobbett, Gilbert White, Tennyson, John Keats and Edward Thomas. Elizabeth and Grace will perform music inspired by the writings including The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams as well as pieces by Elgar and Mozart.

tickets: £9 booked in advance; £12 on the door
Booking: website - http://www.tilbach.org.uk/10-june-2017-poetry or call Sue Sagun on 01252 613130
Appropriate for: Adults and children who can sit quietly

 


 

Wednesday 14th June 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

13

SETTLING AND JOURNEYING

Image result for james tissot images

 

 

Ever since we stopped hunting and gathering, there have been settlements – by lakes, in deep country, villages, towns, cities – and dwellings set apart. But the restless spirit longs wondrously for Elsewhere. Eliot, Ibsen, Basho, Marquez, Woolf, Yeats, Chaucer, de la Mare, Humboldt, Heaney; Castiglione, Raphael, Tissot, il Grechetto, Cole, Chagall, Repin, Vermeer, Gauguin, Watteau.

Image: James Tissot, On The Thames (How Happy I Could be With Either), 1876, The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, Wakefield, Yorkshire

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW


Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

14

HISTORY-IN-THE-MAKING

https://rs.1000museums.com/filestore/9/5/3/5_ea6e78a5814c367/9535lpr_b91b57b1c199110.jpg

 

 

The canvas and the page capture events, as they happen or happened, in a breath: war and peace, diplomacy and stand-off, the rituals of coronation and revolution, building and destruction, and their images, whether eye-witness or fantastic, all read like real history. Byron, Shakespeare, Longfellow, Virgil, Chaucer, E B Browning, Amichai, Camoens, Flaubert; Goya, David, Canaletto, Picasso, Delacroix, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Brueghel, Masaccio, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Velasquez, Uccello

Image: Eugene Delacroix, Battle of Taillebourg (1837), Palace of Versailles, France

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW


Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 630pm

NEW DATE - POSTPONED FROM MAY OWING TO INDISPOSITION

UPSTAIRS BAR, THE LEWES ARMS, 1 MOUNT PLACE, LEWES, SUSSEX BN7 1YH

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

 

“Your evenings are always a revealing delight”.

(Regular member of the audience in Lewes)

 

 

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Whole-page image: from early MS of the poem, in the British Library, published by The Cotton Nero A. X Project, hosted by the University of Calgary. See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2012/08/sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-online.html#sthash.mNAjttcL.dpuf

 

 

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

When a huge stranger enters the main hall in Camelot during a banquet and invites any of the assembly there to take a single swipe at him with his own axe, in return for a similar swipe at them in the future, he has no volunteers. Gawain finally accepts the challenge because, he says, he is the youngest and so his life is the least indispensable of all those present. The Knight bows his neck, Gawain raises the axe and decapitates the Knight with his single blow; whereupon the Knight picks up his head, confirms a return meeting with Gawain a year and a day from thence at the Green Chapel, tucks his head under his arm, re-mounts his horse, and rides off into the murk.

 

To begin with, this looks like another lure journey. Then it reveals itself as an intensely necessary one, a mission of honour in which Gawain will be representing his King, the Court, himself, and a pentangle of sacred knightly values. He cannot not keep the appointment, even if the kind of honour involved also smacks of the playground dare, the illusion of necessity which bravado can so easily inflate.

 

To save face, one cannot walk away. Gawain’s journey begins there and then, as our journeys often do, with the period of anticipation of departure: he must travel because the Knight has invited him, although the Knight looks for all the world like Mozart’s Commendatore in Don Giovanni, here to fetch his quarry away to somewhere much warmer because he is ripe for a reckoning, death in Giovanni’s case, real life – and the start of life’s long steady maturing preparation for death - in Gawain’s.

 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an inspiring poetic lesson in how to face the future and not be disabled by fear of the morrow, of death itself. In this respect, its journey metaphor has no truck with neurosis, is instead about patient waiting and fear management, and the inevitability, sooner or later, of confronting oneself and one’s responsibility to oneself.

 

               Gawain with Arthur at the banquet in Camelot   

           http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projf20002g/gawain2.jpg

    

                               The Green Knight Interrupts the Banquet

     http://mrpandit.net/files/sir-gawain-0026-the-green-knight-2.png

 

    

                “The assembled folk stared, long scanning the fellow,

                For all men marvelled what it might mean

                That a horseman and his horse should have such a colour

                As to grow green and grass, and greener yet, it seemed,

                More gaudily glowing than green enamel on gold.

                Those standing studied him and sidled towards him

                With all the world’s wonder as to what he would do.

                For astonishing sights they had seen, but such a one never . . .”

 

 (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, chapter 11, lines 232- 239 tr. Brian Stone, Penguin 1959)

To book, write to Graham at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com - booking open now, to-pay tickets will be e-mailed to you by return

OR

phone the Lewes Arms on 01273 473152 - phone booking opens 1st June

 


Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 1045am (till 1245pm)

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB, 2 AUDLEY SQUARE, LONDON W1K 1DB

Creation

 

15

HUMAN CREATION

 

Allegory of Painting and Sculpture, Oil by Guercino (Barbieri, Giovanni Francesco) (1591-1666, Italy)

 

 

Men and women are creators of what they write, paint and give form to. But so often their art is about creation itself: it visibly meditates on the act of imitating the original Creator or moment of coming into being, feels towards art as a whole new world. Woolf, Longfellow, Horace, Duffy, Gunn, Eliot, Auden, E Brontë, Ginsberg, Hopkins, Lawrence, Hughes, Dante; Rublyov, Martin, Constable, Raphael, Gustavo Olmedo, Watts, Hope, John Shelley, Reynolds, Piranesi, Dürer, Bosch, Guercino                                                  Image: Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), The Allegory of Painting and Sculpture (1637), Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Rome

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

BOOKING OPEN NOW


                                                                                           Thursday 29th June 2017 at 630pm

                                                    SLADERS YARD, WEST BAY, BRIDPORT, DORSET DT6 4EL

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

Image result for walt whitman

Walt Whitman

 

When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloom'd’ is one of the most memorable titles in all poetry, and it helps to remind us how early Walt Whitman was.  Born in 1819, he wrote this deeply moving work in a double aftermath: within days of the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865 and of the end of the American Civil War. The poem appeared in the 1865 edition of Whitman’s signature collection and masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, ten years after its first edition in 1855.

With that book, Whitman had, at a stroke, revolutionised American poetry: what it could say (poets could sing about what they felt it was like to be alive as never before), how it could look on the page (long-limbed, rhapsodic and free), and how it could sound in the reading ear (orchestral, psalmic and incantatory).  Many poets since, on both sides of the Atlantic, and several composers too, our own Vaughan Williams and Delius first among them, have found new senses of direction, and solace for the spirit, from this outstanding voice.

 

 

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”

Walt Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass (1855)        

 

“Graham Fawcett’s unique style of performance, honed by his years as a broadcaster on BBC Radio 3, informs while entertaining and enriching”.

                            Anna Powell, Dorset

              

                BOOKING OPEN NOW - CALL 01308 459511

                                    (CAPACITY LIMITED TO 60)

 


JULY


   Thursday 20th July 2017 at 5pm (please note starting time - ends 6pm)

                                                    CHESTER ROOM, KEATS HOUSE, KEATS GROVE, LONDON NW3

                                               Special edition of this event from the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

                                                                     

                                                 John Keats

 

We think we know the 24-year-old who made the nightingale as much a watchword of our eternal earthly wonders as that bird’s own song has always been.  But do we?

We may yet have the pleasure of knowing what it must have been like to open an envelope from probably the greatest letter-writer in the English language.

And what a life-story !

Yet in the face of never-ending family and physical challenges, Keats was fearlessly, tirelessly, hungrily creative on the page.

So here on Keats Night we will meet again a young man dead at 25 whose sonnets can stand alongside Shakespeare’s, whose great Odes are superlative and unspeakably exciting, and the sheer beauty of whose lyrical gift has seldom been surpassed by anyone in any language before or since.

“There was”, said Joseph Severn, who was with him when he died in Rome, “a strong bias of the beautiful side of humanity in everything he did.”

 

 

Image: Joseph Severn, Portrait of John Keats (at what is now Keats House)

                                                  Seating limited to 44 - to book, write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                Booking opens 1st May

                                                                                                                      Tickets £12.50

 

17 tickets already sold

27 tickets left at the moment

Watch this space, which is being reguarly updated

Totals may change daily

 

 


 

 


 

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

SABBATICAL


OCTOBER

AT A GLANCE

5th - Pablo Neruda (Seven Olympians 7) in West Bay (Bridport)


                                                                                                 Thursday 5th October 2017 at 630pm

                                                    SLADERS YARD, WEST BAY, BRIDPORT, DORSET DT6 4EL

The Seven Olympians series of lecture-performances-with-readings

 

SEVEN OLYMPIANS 7

Pablo Neruda

           “The greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”             

(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

 

Thanks to the 1994 film Il Postino: The Postman, the clearest picture many of us have of Pablo Neruda’s life and work is that he was on Capri in 1952 with Mathilde Urrutia, who would share the last 28 years of his life.

 

Whether in enforced exile, as on Capri and visiting many of the world’s capitals, or as a diplomat in Burma, Ceylon, the Dutch East Indies, Spain during the Civil War (his in memoriam poems for Lorca, a friend, stun eye and ear), France and Mexico, Neruda travelled effortlessly; as a result, his poetry carries the authentic charge of his encounter with dramas of land and sea and the parallel unfolding of his and Chile's history most recently rememebered in the 2017 biopic Neruda about the poet's life in that creative, political and personal turning-point year of 1948.

 

The love poetry offers the glorious double intimacy of an open heart to the beloved and a confessional in friendship to the reader, and all the while Neruda’s political nerve, incisive and moderate, abundantly inspires fellow feeling beyond borders.

 

"THANK YOU so much for such a mesmerising evening last night in Taunton. My friend and I left buzzing with delight and enormously stimulated to read more of Pablo Neruda's work. Please do come back with the six other Olympians!"

          (Jane Hole, at Neruda Night in Taunton)

 

“Lots of people who experienced it all have said that it was fabulous. Andrew McMillan in particular was fervent in his praise for your delivery and the content of the talk – he was very impressed indeed”. (Antony Dunn, Neruda Night lecture at the Bridlington Poetry Festival)

 “Splendid" (George Beckmann, at Neruda Night in London)

"You took a unique approach, sent me in directions I hadn't expected, and left me wanting to discover more for myself".    (Christine Murphy, after Neruda Night in Lewes)

 

  BOOKING OPEN NOW - CALL 01308 459511

       (CAPACITY LIMITED TO 60)

 


 

 

NOVEMBER


 

DECEMBER


 

 

 

Spring 2018

 

 

 

Spring 2019

 

 

Would you like to make someone a gift of a ticket to one or more of the events on this calendar?

If so, please read on!

        

 

 

     Gift Certificates and Vouchers

  2017-

 

Picture

Paul Skirrow – a view from Little Gidding

 

Gift Certificates

Treat someone to an Eliot Quartet Day in the country, a Seven Olympians or World Poets poetry lecture in or outside London, or one of the other events in 2017 already posted on Graham’s Events Calendar at http://www.grahamfawcett.co.uk/events.htm *, and send your cheque for the cost of the event , made payable to Graham Fawcett, to him at: 2 Harpur Mews, London, WC1N 3PE. Please mark the back of your cheque with the name and date of the event. Graham will then send you a Certificate for that event to forward to the person you want to treat (remember to let me have her or his name !) and an e-ticket for the day.

Gift Vouchers

If you prefer, you can purchase gift vouchers, which can then be used towards the cost of any event *, in multiples of £5 up to £50.

 

*Please note that this gift certificate and voucher scheme cannot be extended to include

The Course sessions – yet !

 

________________________________________________________________________________

So inspirational - I could have spent all day discussing Blake's poetry.                                          Maggie Sawkins

 

 

“Thank you for the excellent day. I found my copy of Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals and dipped into it with first-time pleasure. Her entries mean so much more now you've supplied richer context.”

(Susie Barrett, WritersReadersDirect)

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

“A big thank-you to The Children’s Bookshow from our sixth form who were very positive about Graham's workshop yesterday. He was so energetic and engaged their attention brilliantly. Now we have a queue to read Iqbal! Thank you again for giving us this opportunity: it was a real treat."

                                                                      (St Mary’s School, Ilkley)

 

"Your walks really have been one of the most pleasurable aspects of living here!" (Sarah Glazer Khedouri)

              

 

“Your” London has been most enjoyable and enlightening for “an American in Bloomsbury”. (Sarah Greene)

 

 


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Elizabeth Bishop

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/uploads/authors/elizabeth-bishop/448x/elizabeth-bishop.jpg

A NEW LECTURE-PERFORMANCE-WITH-READINGS BY GRAHAM FAWCETT

 

Any poet who loved geography at school and named George Herbert as a mentor is likely to be strong on place and crystalline in clarity. Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry is steeped in a visionary narrative charisma generated by the journeys she made.

Robert Lowell praised ‘her tone’, which, he said ‘can be Venetian gorgeous or Quaker simple’ and her ‘abundance of description’ which ‘reminds one of the Russian novelists’. ‘In all matters of form: meter, rhythm, diction, timing, shaping, etc’ he said ‘she is a master’.

 

T

 

This new lecture is available, on request, to be given at a venue near you, as are others listed on the lectures page - just click [lectures] here

 

 

 

Elizabeth Bishop’s story is one of not only survival but an abundant self-realization against the odds. This spirited, clear, precise and adventurous poet had transformed, into a deep desire for travel and a passionate determination to write about it, the bitter harvest of her beginnings.

 

1911    (8th February) Elizabeth Bishop is born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the only

            child of an American father with Canadian antecedents and a Canadian mother

            “of Nova Scotian Baptist stock, . . . a sensitive woman with a fragile spirit”

             (Travisano, 1988).  (October) Her father dies. Following his death, her bereft

              and shocked mother Gertrude suffers a series of mental breakdowns which

             lead to periods in and out of sanatoriums and a final short stay with Elizabeth

             and the grandparents, after which she is permanently confined.

 

1916     The five-year-old Elizabeth leaves home - she will never see her mother again

              - to be brought up by her beloved maternal grandparents in Nova Scotia

              From there, she is “rescued” - she experienced it as a kidnap - one day at

              the age of six by her rich and puritanical paternal grandparents and taken

              away to a large house in Worcester, Mass. After nine months there, she is

              rescued again, this time by her mother’s elder sister, but, to her great relief,

              is able to return to the maternal grandparents in the summer-times. She is    

              also looked after, for a time, by her father’s sister in Boston.

 

1925      She decides to become a poet. “I was very isolated as a child”, she told

              an interviewer later, “and perhaps poetry was my way of making familiar

              what I saw around me”. . .

 

 

Elizabeth Bishop, ‘One Art’

 

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

 

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

 

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

 

Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983.

© 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel.

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/56935041.jpg?quality=90&strip=all

Shakespeare the Poet

 

This recently discovered portrait of William Shakespeare - its very existence first announced to the world in March 2009 - is believed to be the only one painted in his lifetime. Our imagination’s batteries are uniquely re-charged as we finally look into his face for the first time and feel compelled to ask ourselves afresh so many things about him. Here's one: to what extent did the author of the Sonnets feel he was writing poems in his plays as though momentarily staging a poetry recital of set pieces to hold an audience’s breath in mid-drama?

Shakespeare left plenty of answers. Yes, they are there to be uncovered the moment one begins to explore the Sonnets, the longer poems ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’, ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ and ‘Verses in Love’s Martyr’. But like steeplechase clues, they can also be come upon time and again, and often in spectacular fashion, along the pathways of his theatre, at key moments in the lyrical plays, the tragedies and the late Romances, and sometimes for whole plays on end. “Richard II is a chunk of poetry about a god who wants to be a person", Fiona Shaw declared the other month on the Andrew Marr Show.

When Postumus says to Imogen, “Hang there like fruit, my soul, /till the tree die” in Act Five Scene five of Cymbeline, the audience is in the presence of one of the best line-breaks in poetry.

Yet when we go to see a Shakespeare play, the unfolding narrative, the constant impact of the action, and the naturalness of the verse as speech so take our minds off what Shakespeare is doing with it poetically, that much of the sheer craft of it simply sails over our heads.

In this brand new lecture, specially commissioned from Graham Fawcett by the Bridport Literary Festival, he will attempt to hook that craft down out of the sky and hold it up to the audience. It will tell us, with an abundance of compelling examples from the Works, what distinguishes Shakespeare the poet from Shakespeare the dramatist, how the sonnets work, what relation there is between the longer poems and the plays, and where in particular the plays, in a stop-you-in-your-tracks way, become poetry.

 

 

Image: the Cobbe portrait controversially and confidently claimed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to be of Willam Shakespeare


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Thomas Hardy

 

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/20/11220-004-F2EA1C1E.jpg

Thomas Hardy, poet

 

Thomas Hardy became a poet because of Queen Victoria. Born in 1840, three years after her accession, Hardy the great Victorian novelist hit on a drastic way of dealing with the tsunami of Victorian moral and critical outrage which greeted both Tess and Jude The Obscure: he turned his back on fiction and his already prolific life of fourteen novels and three books of short stories, and dramatically re-invented himself at the age of 55 as the poet he had really always been since writing – in his 20s - many poems he had never published. The death of his first wife Emma in 1912 led directly to the best poetry Hardy ever wrote.

By the time of his death in 1928, Hardy had some ten collections and nearly a thousand poems to his name, some of them acknowledged now as among the finest in English: from the beautifully momentous scena of the aged bird in ‘The Darkling Thrush’ whose song at dusk Hardy imagined heralding the new century against all the odds, through wonderful love poems, like ‘Beeny Cliff’ and ‘Thoughts of Phena’ in which he is crafting dynamic cameos of women in the West Country from Dorset to Cornwall, to the robustly virtuoso pacing in his parable-like re-staging of the encounter of the Titanic and the iceberg in ‘The Convergence of the Twain’.

Hardy the poet was an outstanding technician of every aspect of poetic music from the placing of a syllable to the architecture of a stanza. He also carried on into his poetry his novelist-self’s unflinching expeditions into the world’s darkness, demonstrating in verse too a healing power in constructive and steadfast pessimism on a par with the catharsis we take away from an evening at the Greek tragic theatre, calling his poems ‘explorations of reality’.

There is to this day real comfort and endless pleasure to be had from the visionary and romantic qualities of so much of Hardy’s poetry, his sustained marriage of treasured poetic traditions with thrilling experiment, the narrative vividness of his Wessex settings wild and rustic, and the eurhythmic wonders composed by his unerring ear.

 

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 

2017 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Edward Thomas

“When first I came here I had hope,
Hope for I knew not what. Fast beat
My heart at the sight of the tall slope
Or grass and yews, as if my feet

Only by scaling its steps of chalk
Would see something no other hill
Ever disclosed . . . ”

 

wrote Edward Thomas on moving to a new home in Kent, in lines which catch his wonderful lyrical voice as a poet of nature. But might the ‘what’ and the ‘something’ also be the poetry he had discovered he could write (thanks to the prompting of Robert Frost) only three years before he died in action at Arras?

 

Walter de la Mare said Thomas’s aim had been “to express the truth about himself and his reality”. This throws light on how poetry suddenly surfaced in him: it was there all the time, in the glorious pastoral eloquence of his prose in praise of place and nature.

 

“Gently as the alighting of a bird, the sunlight dropped among the tops of the oaks, which were yellow and purple with young leaves, and blessed them”, he wrote in The Heart of England. And when he says of W H Hudson that ‘what he reverences and loves is the earth”, he is also talking about himself.

 

“First soldier, and then poet, and then both/, Who died a soldier-poet of your race”, declared Robert Frost in his tribute poem to Thomas. “I knew”, wrote Frost, “from the moment when I first met him at his unhappiest that he would some day clear his mind and save his life”.

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

OR

 

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

2017 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Edward Thomas

with appearances by other Poets of the First War whose stories connect with that of Thomas

to mark the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas on the battlefield at Arras on 9th April 2017

 

“When first I came here I had hope,
Hope for I knew not what. Fast beat
My heart at the sight of the tall slope
Or grass and yews, as if my feet

Only by scaling its steps of chalk
Would see something no other hill
Ever disclosed . . . ”

 

wrote Edward Thomas on moving to a new home in Kent, in lines which catch his wonderful lyrical voice as a poet of nature. But might the ‘what’ and the ‘something’ also be the poetry he had discovered he could write (thanks to the prompting of Robert Frost) only three years before he died in action at Arras?

 

Walter de la Mare said Thomas’s aim had been “to express the truth about himself and his reality”. This throws light on how poetry suddenly surfaced in him: it was there all the time, in the glorious pastoral eloquence of his prose in praise of place and nature.

 

“Gently as the alighting of a bird, the sunlight dropped among the tops of the oaks, which were yellow and purple with young leaves, and blessed them”, he wrote in The Heart of England. And when he says of W H Hudson that ‘what he reverences and loves is the earth”, he is also talking about himself.

 

“First soldier, and then poet, and then both/, Who died a soldier-poet of your race”, declared Robert Frost in his tribute poem to Thomas. “I knew”, wrote Frost, “from the moment when I first met him at his unhappiest that he would some day clear his mind and save his life”.


2017 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

 

               Walt Whitman

            Federico Garcia Lorca

     Edna St Vincent Millay

 

                           W H Auden

http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/i/partypictures/01_12_10/img581.jpg

                  Marianne Moore

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                e e cummings

 

and Dylan Thomas at the White Horse Tavern in Hudson Street

 

Poets of New York

 

A special evening reading from, and commentary on, some of the finest poets to have lived, stayed and worked in the Big Apple: including remarkable and memorable poems by Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca, Edna St Vincent Millay, Dylan Thomas, W H Auden, Marianne Moore, and e e cummings.

 

Graham was in New York last summer finding out about these poets and their lives and work in the City, teaching their poetry, tracking down their homes and work-places and lecturing with, and talking to, Americans about them.

 

Featuring different poems from those already included in the Dylan Thomas and W H Auden nights.

 

It is while walking the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn that a new clarity can often offer answers to why

Walt Whitman loved ferries, the sea, and his fellow human beings with such democratic passion;

Edna St Vincent Millay was so movingly and dramatically at home in the sonnet;

e e cummings was so fired up by life in Greenwich Village and his love of art that his strange new typographical experiments became urgent;

Marianne Moore felt so strongly about unusual animals with thick skins, baseball matches, and New York’s greatest-ever literary magazine, The Dial, which she edited with such distinction (Picasso and D H Lawrence were among her earliest contributors); W H Auden moved there in January 1939, what he memorably tells us he encountered, how he stayed for a decade writing himself back to faith and producing major verse homages to Yeats and Freud;

Federico Garcia Lorca landed there in the late 20s and was thrilled and horrified into a startlingly surreal poetry at the heart of which was his eye-witness rhapsody in black on the Wall Street Crash;

and Dylan Thomas returned there again and again to increasingly thunderous acclaim culminating in the triumph there of his Under Milk Wood, which cummings was so moved by that he walked the streets afterwards in tears.

 

Graham Fawcett gave lectures and seminars on these poets in New York in late June and wandered her streets in early July of 2016. Unsuspected veils kept on dropping from the poems they had written there as the place not only gave them a frame but shot through with new light the content of so many of their pages. Poets of New York Night is his story of that experience.

 


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - W H Auden

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A NEW LECTURE-PERFORMANCE-WITH-READINGS BY GRAHAM FAWCETT

 

How very much we enjoyed your Auden Night. We were interested, intrigued, challenged and stimulated, and went home and got out our old Audens to re-read.  

(Sallyann Halstead after Auden Night in Taunton, November 2016

 

 

W H Auden was a giant among poets of his generation, a master-craftsman of metrical rhythms you can feel running like Swiss clockwork through his verse lines, and a wonderfully adventurous organist of the English language.

Nourished by his native Yorkshire and the treasures of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, traveller to Iceland, China, Spain and Berlin, close-quarters commentator on politics, religion, philosophy, art and human relations, Auden translated his gifted perceptions into some of the finest and most substantial poems England and the world have ever seen.

The experience of hearing him read from his work was tantamount to a conversion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • http://ndmagazine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/yousuf_karsh15.jpg

    To book this lecture for your local venue::

    call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 

This new lecture is available, on request, to be given at a venue near you, as are others listed on the lectures page - just click [lectures] here

 


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - William Shakespeare-

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Shakespeare the Poet

This recently discovered portrait of William Shakespeare - its very existence first announced to the world in March 2009 - is believed to be the only one painted in his lifetime. Our imagination’s batteries are uniquely re-charged as we finally look into his face for the first time and feel compelled to ask ourselves afresh so many things about him. Here's one: to what extent did the author of the Sonnets feel he was writing poems in his plays as though momentarily staging a poetry recital of set pieces to hold an audience’s breath in mid-drama?

Shakespeare left plenty of answers. Yes, they are there to be uncovered the moment one begins to explore the Sonnets, the longer poems ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’, ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ and ‘Verses in Love’s Martyr’. But like steeplechase clues, they can also be come upon time and again, and often in spectacular fashion, along the pathways of his theatre, at key moments in the lyrical plays, the tragedies and the late Romances, and sometimes for whole plays on end. “Richard II is a chunk of poetry about a god who wants to be a person", Fiona Shaw declared the other month on the Andrew Marr Show.

When Postumus says to Imogen, “Hang there like fruit, my soul, /till the tree die” in Act Five Scene five of Cymbeline, the audience is in the presence of one of the best line-breaks in poetry.

Yet when we go to see a Shakespeare play, the unfolding narrative, the constant impact of the action, and the naturalness of the verse as speech so take our minds off what Shakespeare is doing with it poetically, that much of the sheer craft of it simply sails over our heads.

In this brand new lecture, specially commissioned from Graham Fawcett by the Bridport Literary Festival, he will attempt to hook that craft down out of the sky and hold it up to the audience. It will tell us, with an abundance of compelling examples from the Works, what distinguishes Shakespeare the poet from Shakespeare the dramatist, how the sonnets work, what relation there is between the longer poems and the plays, and where in particular the plays, in a stop-you-in-your-tracks way, become poetry.

 

Image: the Cobbe portrait controversially and confidently claimed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to be of Willam Shakespeare

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

+

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

Poetry Readings with Commentary - William Shakespeare-

The latest in this warmly welcomed new series of poetry readings with commentary

by Graham Fawcett

Image result for shakespeare images

William Shakespeare Night

 

Our astonishment at Sladers' Yard on discovering, even before the end of September, that Graham's 2016 Bridport Literary Festival Sunday lunchtime lecture Shakespeare The Poet on November 6th had already sold out, led to a happy New Idea.

 

Because the news just happened to coincide with a particularly warm reception given by a 40+ strong Sladers' Yard audience to the first evening in a new kind of poetry night, Graham's Poetry Reading With Commentary, Poets of New York, on September 29th.

 

So we decided, there and then, to combine these two exciting developments by making a new night including both, a different William Shakespeare Night, as the next in this new Poetry Readings With Commentary series.

 

This new William Shakespeare Night will draw on completely different highlights from those which will feature in Graham’s Shakespeare The Poet Festival lecture. This guarantee is not a tall order, of course, when you have the Complete Works to play with !

 

So Graham will intersperse different sonnets and scenes from the long poems with fresh moments of high poetic drama from the plays, a combination which - incredible as it may seem, and even though the results can be every bit as illuminating for a Shakespeare-loving audience as they are exciting - is not often attempted in the theatre, and very seldom on the page.

 

Ted Hughes is one of those who have wondered why on earth this should be so. In fact, in the introduction to his William Shakespeare selection, he talks of "the reluctance of anthologists to break into the sacred precincts of his drama and start looting portable chunks from the holy structures", when in fact a Shakespeare play speech on its own "is something else, read in less than a minute, learned in less than five, still wonderful, and a pure bonus".

 

So whether or not you have a ticket for November 6th, do book and come along to this quite different January 19th 2017 Shakespeare night. It will offer one fresh opportunity after another to step effortlessly, in the imagination, from the private chamber of confidential feeling that is the sonnet, through the dream-like poetic and dramatic labyrinths of Venus & Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, to the great open uplands, plains, forests, deep valleys, and breached private chambers of the plays, where lives are made and broken, light and shadow face up to, and even fall into, each other, and the boundaries of the possible are pushed back to well beyond the tide-lines of our own lives but always heading for the horizons of our hopes, fears, and desires.

 

Like a magician who never sleeps, the poetic engine is the creating hand, ever-present, ticking its resonant rhythm, strong as an ox, bending as bough or reed, as vulnerable and as self-delivering as a weaving, dipping, soaring bird flying straight, coming back, and setting off again carrying words of the greatest nourishment from the beginnings and ends of every line to the nests of our ever-waiting hearts.

 


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

W B Yeats: the making of a poet

from the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

 

http://shenandoahliterary.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Yeats-picture.png

W B Yeats

 

Yeats sang in the name of an ancient Ireland. His passionate study of mysticism and the supernatural fired his active involvement in a movement for the revival of Celtic identity, a poetic currency of fairies, dreams and the melancholy of decay. He cherished folk-tales, celebrating them as vitally in his verse as the history of his own times. But where did Yeats’s voice, and his extraordinary lyrical gift, come from? Born in Dublin in 1865, he would become one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century writing in English.

 

This new lecture is available, on request, to be given at a venue near you, as are others listed on the lectures page - just click [lectures] here

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

Seven Olympians - Lord Byron

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A LECTURE-PERFORMANCE-WITH-READINGS BY GRAHAM FAWCETT

 

This new lecture is available, on request, to be given at a venue near you, as are others listed on the lectures page - just click [lectures] here

 

 

 

“I awoke one morning and found myself famous”, said the 24-year-old George Gordon (Lord) Byron of the instant success of the first two cantos of his poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, 196 breathtakingly rhymed nine-line stanzas of stunning verse travel narrative intensity as his enigmatic hero bestrides Europe decompressing his melancholy into reverie at everything he sees.

 

That Byron could have doubled this poem’s length, writing better and better as he went, on is wonderful enough; all the more extraordinary, then, that he could follow it with an even more commanding, incisively satirical, masterpiece, Don Juan, left unfinished at his death and still going wondrously strong at more than sixteen thousand lines in which he charismatically turns the tables on the macho misogynist Don Juan of legend and makes the world his acceptably tastier oyster.

 

“There are but two sentiments to which I am constant”, Byron said the year before he died at the age of 36, “a strong love of liberty and a detestation of cant”.  By then he had drunk both principles to the dregs, tantalising so many who met and read him with the spectacle of a bull-in-a-china-shop private life high on edgy gloom and emotional caprice careering alongside an unstoppably hungry philosophy of existence and of art finely tuned to one of the greatest poetic ears English literature has ever heard.

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - D H Lawrence, poet

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This new lecture is available, on request, to be given at a venue near you, as are others listed on the lectures page - just click [lectures] here

 

 

   This evening is for all of you who read and love poetry, whether or not you have yet discovered D H Lawrence as a poet and not only as the author of Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow and other novels.

    If you have ever read a poem by him, the chances are that it may well have been the unforgettable early portrait, in word, picture and sound, of Lawrence remembering a woman playing a piano, or maybe the intensely relived-moment-by-moment drama of a snake in Sicily, or, perhaps especially, the extraordinary late poem – one of his finest - which takes the idea of Bavarian gentians and extends it into the underworld lives of Persephone and Pluto as though that link were the most natural thing in the world and implicit in the flower.

     But then Lawrence, who called his 1920-23 collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers, was eminently a poet of nature (among many who came after, Hughes and Plath both admired him for it) and of so much more than that.

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


 

 


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/SamuelTaylorColeridge.jpg

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a magician of the word, a hauntingly irresistible poet of nature and the imagination, a wildly inventive writer of letters, notebooks, essays, critical reviews and a unique poetical biography of himself, a thoroughly engaged political, social and literary journalist, and a talker for whom off the cuff was tantamount to off the starting-block and as though his train of thought could run through Clapham Junction on every platform simultaneously. He was an inveterate cross-country walker who covered in record time distances we might think twice about even by bus. His friendship and collaboration with William Wordsworth revolutionised English poetry. He divided his time restlessly between the West Country ,the Lakes, London and Germany, and drank deeply of the life and landscapes of all of them, while writing, largely thanks to them, some of the most justly famous and lovely poems in the English language.

 

 

"If you have never experienced Graham Fawcett, you have missed something. His childlike enthusiasm for the greats of the canon is the motor that drives through his two-part, two-hour monologues to a journey’s end of revelation. These are not literary events for those with contemporary attention spans. Fawcett does not give it to us in bite-size chunks. These are big talks, packed full of imagination and research, and ideally suited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge . . ."   

        (John Pownall, Bridport Review , 21 January 2016)

 

 

"Many thanks. A real tour de force last night. We looked on in wonder as, every inch the ancient mariner windswept and bowsprit, keel-hauled by the tides of knowledge, you peeled back the past and revealed a young troubled heart, skimming stones along the back of the Otter. . .

  (James Crowden, Crewkerne, Somerset, at Coleridge Night, West Bay, Dorset, 21 January 2016)

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Dylan Thomas

with Graham Fawcett

 

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“When one burns one's bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.”

     

(Dylan Thomas)

 

    My first discovery of Dylan came from was reading ‘Fern Hill’ aloud pacing the room and hoping that some of the pastoral Dylan stardust -  ‘honoured among wagons’ and ‘prince’ of the (Welsh) ‘apple towns’ - might rub off on a Londoner. The second was to glimpse, through a rain-spattered bus window just outside Laugharne in West Wales, the white boathouse where he wrote.

    Dylan happens to people like that, steals up on them so that they have to drink his poems with him and he buys all the rounds. We recall instantly the sound of the poet’s indelible voice on record. I can remember meeting, at the 1970 Poets’ Conference at Cardiff’s Railway Hotel, a roomful of poets who had known him. The legend through the poems makes Dylan a ‘total immersion’ read: he sang as he heard, and what he heard was extraordinary.

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - T S Eliot

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photo of T S Eliot by Lady Ottoline Morell

 

The 26-year-old Eliot landed in England in 1914 and promptly exploded his influence in all directions. By breaking up familiar metres and rhythms, he restored to poetry the known structures of English speech.

The range of Eliot’s subject-matter was largely unknown in an English poetic voice. The journey from his early Preludes to his late Quartets is so extraordinary as to suggest that there might have been several T S Eliots. His work draws us back to it like a lodestar.

A brilliant critic with a social conscience, he speaks with the voice of his ground-breaking poetry: “what we want is to disturb and alarm the public: to upset its dependence on Shakespeare, Nelson, Wellington and Sir Isaac Newton” chimes with “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?/ I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach”. And then there’s that wondrous poetic creature, ‘The Waste Land’ . . .

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 

 

“We were more than happy to stay the course, stunned and astonished in equal measure: stunned by the breadth and depth of Fawcett’s criticism, astonished at our luck to be living miles from a university yet participating in what, to all intents and purposes, was a post-graduate lecture, presented with immaculate complexity by a master of ceremonies par excellence.” 

 

(Elaine Beckett on Eliot Night, The Bridport Review, Jan. 2015 )

 

          


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

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Thomas Hardy, poet

Thomas Hardy became a poet because of Queen Victoria. Born in 1840, three years after her accession, Hardy the great Victorian novelist hit on a drastic way of dealing with the tsunami of Victorian moral and critical outrage which greeted both Tess and Jude The Obscure: he turned his back on fiction and his already prolific life of fourteen novels and three books of short stories, and dramatically re-invented himself at the age of 55 as the poet he had really always been since writing – in his 20s - many poems he had never published. The death of his first wife Emma in 1912 led directly to the best poetry Hardy ever wrote.

By the time of his death in 1928, Hardy had some ten collections and nearly a thousand poems to his name, some of them acknowledged now as among the finest in English: from the beautifully momentous scena of the aged bird in ‘The Darkling Thrush’ whose song at dusk Hardy imagined heralding the new century against all the odds, through wonderful love poems, like ‘Beeny Cliff’ and ‘Thoughts of Phena’ in which he is crafting dynamic cameos of women in the West Country from Dorset to Cornwall, to the robustly virtuoso pacing in his parable-like re-staging of the encounter of the Titanic and the iceberg in ‘The Convergence of the Twain’.

Hardy the poet was an outstanding technician of every aspect of poetic music from the placing of a syllable to the architecture of a stanza. He also carried on into his poetry his novelist-self’s unflinching expeditions into the world’s darkness, demonstrating in verse too a healing power in constructive and steadfast pessimism on a par with the catharsis we take away from an evening at the Greek tragic theatre, calling his poems ‘explorations of reality’.

There is to this day real comfort and endless pleasure to be had from the visionary and romantic qualities of so much of Hardy’s poetry, his sustained marriage of treasured poetic traditions with thrilling experiment, the narrative vividness of his Wessex settings wild and rustic, and the eurhythmic wonders composed by his unerring ear.

 

 

 

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

 

Dante Alighieri

 

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Dante Alighieri, by Giotto di Bondone, Florence (14th century)     

 

“an electrifying evening . . . the atmosphere was tremendous”                     Irena Hill, Dante Night in Greenwich, Autumn 2016

 

 

  “Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them; there is no third”, declared T S Eliot in his 1929 essay on the poet.  Dante’s masterpiece, The Divine Comedy is a 14,000-line verse narrative of heart-stopping brilliance, written in terza rima, the beguiling aba bcb cdc rhyme scheme which he had invented. It tells the apparently autobiographical story of how, at Easter in the year 1300, Dante had set out, with the ghost of the Roman poet Virgil as his guide, on a life-changing journey which led him down into Hell, up the mountain of Purgatory to the Earthly Paradise, and beyond.

 

Halfway through the lifetime of our years

I came to, in a dark and sombre wood -

the path I should be on had disappeared.

 

I'd say what it was like there if I could;

that wood, it was so wild and harsh and bleak

the fear comes back, it cannot be withstood;

 

such dread, that death is not much more to take:

remembering, though, the good there that I saw,

of other things I found there I will speak.

 

How I first came there I am still not sure,

I was so full of sleep about the time

I left the true way I had walked before.

But then I came to where a hill's incline

meant I had through the valley come at last

which had so pierced with fear this heart of mine,

looked up, and saw along the hillside's crest

a raiment laid of that same planet's rays

which guides men, as they journey, east and west.

The fear, a little, then began to ease

which had already made me - in the lake

my heart became that night - so piteous.

And as a man emerging from the waves,

out of their reach, gasping for breath, on shore,

turns to the perilous ocean, stands agape,

so did my mind, still fleeing, still unsure,

turn round for one more glance back at the pass

no living soul had left alive before.

 Dante Alighieri, Inferno, canto 1, lines 1-27

 translated from the Italian by Graham Fawcett

 

 

 

Image: Gustav Dore, Dante in the Dark Wood

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

from the acclaimed Seven Olympians series

Image result for george gordon byron

Byron

 

“There are but two sentiments to which I am constant”, Byron said shortly before he died aged 36, “a strong love of liberty and a detestation of cant”. With a fierce energy on the page and in a bull-in-a-china-shop private life. Byron’s was an unstoppably hungry philosophy of existence and of art. He was also gifted with one of the greatest poetic ears English poetry has ever heard.

 

"Byron lived fast and died young. Graham brings the poet to life again for one extraordinary evening of poetry, politics and adventure. It’s wonderful."

(Lucy Moy-Thomas, Byron Night, City of London)

 

"I found myself gripped and enthralled and am so pleased to have finally understood why my late mother was so besotted with Byron. Can't wait, now, for some time to sit down and enjoy what I've missed all these years!"   (Jane Lees, Byron Night, Farnham)

 

"I was royally entertained".      

(Annie Freud, Byron Night, West Bay)

 


 

2016-7 ENGLAND TOUR

Latest in the World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

World Poets - Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

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     Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1866, detail from a photo by Thomas C. Bayfield. National Portrait Gallery

Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

On the eleventh of May 1868, the 24-year-old Gerard Manley Hopkins set fire to his early poems. Having just decided to become a priest, he believed that writing poetry – and therefore being an individual – was in conflict with his duty to God.

Years passed, and he resisted an agonising desire to write. That we have such wonderful poems from him at all is thanks to three minor miracles: his discovery in 1872 of a medieval Scottish philosopher-theologian who revealed to him that what individual human beings knew directly was all that they could know; his learning, in 1874, of Welsh; and the intervention of a fellow-priest, sympathetic to Hopkins’s dilemma, who in 1875 placed a newspaper article before him about the shipwreck, off the coast of Harwich, of 157 people, including five Franciscan nuns who were fleeing the country’s severe anti-Catholic laws, and asked: “Why don’t you write a poem about it?”

The news shocked Hopkins back into poetry, the result not only a masterpiece but the renaissance of his poetry-writing life. All else follows from that moment, including some of the other poems for which he is loved to this day, like ‘Pied Beauty’ and ‘Harry Ploughman’, ‘Binsey Poplars’, ‘God’s Grandeur’, ‘Spring’ and that other contender for greatest Hopkins poem, ‘The Windhover’.

Several of these will feature in Hopkins Night alongside stories of the poet’s love for music, Pindar and Aeschylus, Herbert, Coleridge and Wordsworth; a demonstration of the intricate mysteries of the Sprung Rhythm he famously invented; and illustrations of the remarkable effect he had on Seamus Heaney and other poets of the 20th century which Hopkins, extraordinarily, reads as though he lived in.

To book this lecture::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 


 

The first of the original Seven Olympians series of lecture-performances-with-readings

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Pablo Neruda

 

“The greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”

                              (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

 

 

Thanks to the 1994 film Il Postino: The Postman, the clearest picture many of us have of Pablo Neruda’s life and work is that he was on Capri in 1952 with Mathilde Urrutia, who would share the last 28 years of his life.

Whether in enforced exile, as on Capri and visiting many of the world’s capitals, or as a diplomat in Burma, Ceylon, the Dutch East Indies, Spain during the Civil War (his in memoriam poems for Lorca, a friend, stun eye and ear), France and Mexico, Neruda travelled effortlessly; as a result, his poetry carries the authentic charge of his encounter with dramas of land and sea and the unfolding of history. 

The love poetry offers the gloriously double intimacy of an open heart to the beloved and friendship’s confessional to the reader, while his political nerve, exquisitely incisive and moderate, inspires fellow feeling beyond borders.

Neruda's poems will be read in Spanish and in English translation as part of the lecture.

 

 

 

"Inspiring and brilliant. An enthralling evening"

(Anna Powell, after West Bay’s Neruda Night)

"Graham Fawcett is very good indeed. He has a marvellous knack of opening up a poet's life and instantly taking you on a colourful voyage through their life and work. Very illuminating”.                                                                                                 (James Crowden, after West Bay’s Neruda Night)

 

“Splendid" (George Beckmann, at London’s Neruda night)

"You took a unique approach, sent me in directions I hadn't expected, and left me wanting to discover more for myself".    (Member of the Neruda Night audience in Lewes)

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997


                         http://www.othona-bb.org.uk/othona-bb-org-uk/_img/Image_Gallery_6f6a8840-a293-48b9-b188-236411081725/01.jpg

                              Do Words Choose Us ?

                Writing The Way You Feel and Think

                               A new 3-day residential writing course in poetry and prose

    

Thinking back, we may still remember our first encounters with the written word: our own, or in books, or both. Turning the pages of novels, stories, diaries, memoirs, biographies, and collections of poetry, we will have been left feeling differently enough about ourselves that, sooner or later, a greater sense of vitality and common desire encouraged us to try out our own voices on the quiet, safe silence of a blank page. But have you also perhaps wondered from time to time how our words come to us? We say, even without thinking twice about it, things like, “You know, it suddenly struck me that” or “Before I realized what I was saying” or even “the characters” or “the poem” seemed “to take over” or maybe only to ourselves, “I must write that down”.

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What is happening in those moments ? And do we, often enough in our writing, allow them to happen, rather than being self-burdened with a sense that we really ought to write something, or why don’t the ideas come, or, dolefully, I haven’t written anything for ages . . .   No matter how little or how much we have written so far in our lives, and absolutely no matter whether we have published or not, the desire to hold our written voices up for others to listen to or read can be valuable to us, however uncertain we feel about the value those others may find in it.

                http://www.othona-bb.org.uk/othona-bb-org-uk/_img/Image_Gallery_0543942b-717d-4e4a-a79f-0d752c6db817/01_g06_housefromlittleness.jpg

       

Do Words Choose Us? is designed to help you explore how it is that one moment we are staring at something we find “difficult to put into words”, the next brushing that difficulty aside as we feel ushered into a fluency. We will read and write and talk about it all. There will be plenty of quiet moments for writing and reflection. And most importantly of all, you will only need to write the way you personally feel and think.

This long weekend is a treat for anyone who writes or longs to write about their thoughts and feelings – in poetry or prose. In Graham Fawcett you’ll have a highly experienced guide, helping you find your own words at your own pace, rather than forcing you through any kind of pre-determined exercises. The community setting makes for mutual support too. The invitation is equally open to anyone… from an occasional journaler to a published poet.

                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

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Graham Fawcett has led writing days, weekends, and longer courses in London and Southern England over the last thirty-five years. He was involved in the setting up, and later the day-to-day running, of the Arvon Foundation’s Devon centre – Totleigh Barton at Sheepwash near Hatherleigh and has been teaching and broadcasting ever since. He is getting to be better known on the strength of his lecture-performances-with-readings at literary festivals and in art galleries, pubs and bookshops. 2017 appearances will feature venues in Exeter, Topsham, Totnes, West Bay, Lewes, Taunton, Farnham, Lancashire and Ireland as well as Islington and Greenwich.    

to request this course at a venue near you, write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


 

a Saturday in September 2017 - date coming

 

     POETRY PLACES 6

 ELIOT’S BURNT NORTON DAY

            

at Burnt Norton and Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire   

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                        photo by Burnt Out Theatre                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                    with Graham Fawcett                                      

 

 

One summer day in 1934, on the latest in a succession of long country walks with his friend Emily Hale – who was very important to him and had come over from America to stay with relatives in nearby Chipping Camden – T S Eliot ventured off the road, walked down through the woods and found himself in the upper garden of the estate of a local manor house, Burnt Norton. The owners hadn’t invited him, he just arrived. No-one knows how long he and Emily stayed. That they were there at all is barely suggested by the resulting poem whose lines still resonate for us today not for any sense of tangible geography but from the gift, handed on, of an unseen presence in a landscape of the poetry’s own making.

    

So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,

Along the empty alley, into the box circle,

To look down into the drained pool.

Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,

And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,

The surface glittered out of heart of light,

And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

  (from T S Eliot, ‘Burnt Norton’ in Collected Poems 1909 -1962,

                                   Faber & Faber 1963)

 

In this the first in this popular series of Eliot Quartet location days, Graham Fawcett will seek to recreate the poet’s own experience of Burnt Norton the place and point to clues in the poet’s life and work and his choice of moods and images, to help unravel the mysteries of the poem. The highlights of this late Summer day will be specially arranged visits to a private house where Eliot came to call on Emily Hale, and then, after lunch, to the Burnt Norton gardens – now normally not open to the public – and a close reading, one by one spaced through the day, of the five ‘movements’ of the poem which Eliot realised later had been, and could become, the start of something greater, his Four Quartets

The cost of Eliot’s Burnt Norton Day will be £45 for the teaching sessions (or £35* concessionary rate for 18 years & under, senior citizens, full-time students, unwaged - ES40 - and disabled), to include the admission charge to the Burnt Norton gardens, but exclude transport, lunch and refreshments.

The nearest station is Moreton-in-Marsh (served by London Paddington - the 0721 train is firmly recommended), from where there is a reliable bus (no.21/22 - dep rail station 0928, dep. Corn Exchange 0930) which I may also be catching to Chipping Camden (bus arr. 1012 at Town Hall), where car-drivers may hope to park (there are alternatives if full), more or less opposite our first base for the morning in the Court Room at The Old Police Station.

Meet outside The Old Police Station from 1015, or as soon as the bus arrives from Moreton. We will have our first session in the Court Room there and then walk together the short distance to our other morning venue in Chipping Campden.

I will arrange cars or taxis for the short journey to the entrance to the estate after lunch and, at 445pm, ditto for the mile or so back to Chipping Campden Town Hall, where rail passengers, having had a chance of at least high tea in Campden, should be able to catch the 1750 bus back to Moreton Rail Station (arr.1832) and then the 1845 train to London (arr. London Paddington 2056).

Please make your cheque, for £45 or £35 concessionary rate, payable to Graham Fawcett and send it with the completed booking form (below) to him at 2 Harpur Mews, London WC1N 3PE, marking your cheque PP6. You will then be sent your ticket(s) for the day.

Enquiries to: Graham Fawcett on grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com. Details of Graham Fawcett’s work, including the next East Coker, Little Gidding and The Dry Salvages Days, are, or soon will be, available at www.grahamfawcett.co.uk.

--------------------------------------------PLEASE CUT & PASTE HERE, PRINT OUT AND COMPLETE -------------------------------------------                     

                Eliot’s Burnt Norton Day 2017 with Graham Fawcett

 

□ PLEASE TICK BOX: I’d like to enrol on Poetry Places 6 – Eliot’s Burnt Norton Day - to be held in Chipping Campden and at Burnt Norton on a Saturday in September 2017.(tba)

 

I’ll be coming by car/ by train from ________________ (delete whichever does not apply).

 

I enclose a cheque for £45* (or £35* conc. rate for 18 years & under, senior citizens, full-time students, unwaged - ES40 - and disabled), to include admission to the gardens at Burnt Norton but not coffee, lunch, tea or transport.

 

Please make your cheque payable to Graham Fawcett and send it with the completed booking form to him at 2 Harpur Mews, London WC1N 3PE. You will then be sent your ticket(s) for the day.

 

NAME(S), POSTAL AND E-MAIL ADDRESSES/TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

 

PLEASE SEND DETAILS OF THIS AND OTHER EVENTS TO OUR FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES AS BELOW:


 

 

a Saturday in the autumn of 2017, 1045am-345pm

EAST COKER (NEAR YEOVIL) SOMERSET

POETRY PLACES 2

ELIOT’S EAST COKER DAY 2017

 

What a good day. I drove away from it feeling a bit like when you've seen a totally absorbing film and you can’t quite reconnect with the real world - or you want very much to connect what you've just experienced to the real world. Thanks so much for bringing that amazing work to such life - and death (!) - for us all.                                               

Greta Stoddart

 

A DAY EVENT WITH TAUGHT AND GUIDED SESSIONS
in East Coker (near Yeovil), Somerset

 

“Home is where one starts from. As we grow older

The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated . . .”

 

(T S Eliot, from ‘East Coker’, in Collected Poems 1909 -1962, faber & faber 1963)

 

Why did American poet T S Eliot choose this village in Somerset as the setting of East Coker, the second of his world-famous Four Quartets? Graham Fawcett recreates the atmospheres of the poem on location, explores Eliot’s choice of moods and images for this setting, and seeks to unravel the poem’s mysteries with the help not only of East Coker itself and the autumn day we’ll spend there but also clues in the poet’s life as he worked on the poem.

 

Thank you so much for the wonderful East Coker Day. It opened out my reading of Eliot in the best possible way & has given me much food for thought and for writing.

Pam Hope

 

 

 

                   TIMETABLE (subject to slight variation on the day)

1045 Coffee at Helyar Arms. Pre-order lunch: fine menu from sandwiches to meals.

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1100 Eliot’s East Coker 1 with GF
in the specially reserved Apple Loft at the Helyar Arms. The story of T S Eliot’s Somerset connections, of his Four Quartets and then of East Coker. Close reading of East Coker §1.
1210
Leave Helyar Arms and walk (5 mins) through the orchard to the church, St Michael and All Angels, the church of Eliot’s ancestors and where the poet’s ashes are buried and there is a corner dedicated to him.
1215-1325 Eliot’s East Coker 2 with GF at the church. Close reading of East Coker §3.
1330-1430
Lunch at the Helyar. Eliot’s East Coker 3 with GF. Close reading of East Coker §3.
1430-1545 Eliot’s East Coker 4 with GF
at the Helyar Arms. Close reading of East Coker §4 & 5.
1545
End of Eliot’s East Coker Day. Taxis or cars back to Yeovil stations.                      
                                   

Your ticket for the day excludes refreshments, lunch, transport (the taxi ride in each direction for train travellers) and a £1 donation to church funds.

 

"Thanks so much for a colourful, enthusiastic and enlightening day of East Coker and T S Eliot's beginnings, much food for thought remains and now I feel more able to be in the

poem and look around."     Michael Scott Byrne

 

Enquiries to: 020 7405 3997 or grahamkfawcett@gmail.com

Train times (please double-check with internet journey planner for any changes nearer the time)

[Train travellers who would like to share a taxi from the station to the Helyar Arms are asked to see the Taxi Sharing News box on my website]

0710 Recommended train leaves London Waterloo for Yeovil Junction

0820 Not-a-lot-of-room-for-manouevre train leaves London Waterloo for Yeovil Junction

0839 Recommended train leaves Bristol Temple Meads
0938 Better London train arrives Yeovil Junction.

1006 Bristol Temple Meads train arrives Yeovil Pen Mill

1038 Next-best London train arrives Yeovil Junction

STATIONS SERVED BY THE 0710 FROM LONDON WATERLOO

Arrives

Departs

0710

London Waterloo

-

07:17

Clapham Junction (Pick up only)

07.35

07.36

Woking

07.57

07.59

Basingstoke

08:07

08:07

Overton

08:12

08:12

Whitchurch (Hants)

08:20

08:20

Andover

08.28

08.28

Grateley

08.42

08.47

Salisbury

09:06

09:06

Tisbury

09:16

09:17

Gillingham (Dorset)

09:25

09:25

Templecombe

09:32

09:32

Sherborne

arr. 09.38 Yeovil Junction

 

FOR PASSENGERS FROM OTHER DEPARTURE STATIONS

Please note that although trains from e.g. Portsmouth and Southsea (change Salisbury to pick up the London train above) also call at Yeovil Junction, the Bristol Temple Meads train arrives at Yeovil Pen Mill (this station also served by connections at Castle Cary).

STATIONS SERVED BY THE 0839 FROM BRISTOL TEMPLE MEADS

Departs

0839

Bristol TM

08:46

Keynsham

08:53

Oldfield Park

08:57

Bath Spa

09:06

Freshford

09:08

Avoncliff

09:13

Bradford-on-Avon

09:19

Trowbridge

09:27

Westbury

09:36

Frome

09:48

Bruton

09:53

Castle Cary

arr. 1006 Yeovil Pen Mill

If, however, you would be interested in sharing a taxi from the other Yeovil train station, Yeovil Pen Mill, please let Graham know at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

Rail passengers are advised to pre-book taxis from either Yeovil Junction (5-10 mins) or Yeovil Pen Mill (15-20 mins) and ask to be taken to the Helyar Arms, a 15th century inn in the village of East Coker, arrival point also for car travellers from London and other parts of the country.(There is good car parking at the Helyar Arms).

 

"Thank you for such a great and thought-provoking day. It had tremendous depth in it – which Eliot would have appreciated - and I think it was really great for all the participants (myself included) who don’t get offered that kind of breadth of discussion or teaching so often. It was really inspiring."   

Catherine Simmonds

 

 

The day will end promptly at 345pm and those who want to will have no trouble in catching a London train round 1630 from Yeovil Junction via others’ cars or taxis.

 

- - - - - - - - - -  PLEASE CUT AND PASTE HERE, PRINT OUT AND COMPLETE -- - - -- - - - - - - - - -

 

BOOKING FORM FOR ELIOT’S EAST COKER DAY

Eliot’s East Coker Day, a Saturday in the autumn of 2017, 1045am-345pm

I’d like to enrol on Eliot’s East Coker Day in Coker on Saturday 00th ********* 2016 (day and month to be announced). I’ll come from ____________ by the ________train to Yeovil Junction/Yeovil Pen Mill/ by car

(please delete whichever does not apply)

NAME(S):

 

POSTAL AND E-MAIL ADDRESSES:

 

 

 

TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

I enclose a cheque for £45* (or £35* concessionary rate for 18 years & under, senior citizens, full-time students, unwaged - ES40 - and disabled), which does not include refreshments, lunch or transport (a 5 minute taxi ride from Yeovil Station to East Coker and back for train travellers is the recommended rail-head to venue route). Please make your cheque payable to Graham Fawcett and send it with the completed booking form to Graham Fawcett, 2 Harpur Mews, London WC1N 3PE.                

 

You will then be sent your ticket(s) for the day.

 

 


a weekend to be announced

OTHONA WEST DORSET, SOUTH WEST COAST PATH, BURTON BRADSTOCK,

BRIDPORT, DORSET, DT6 4RN

The latest in the newly popular 'Poetry And' poetry retreat series

(previous poetry retreats have included Poetry and Silence, Poetry In Silence, Poetry and Discovery, Poetry and Narrative, Poetry and Hope)

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a 2-day poetry retreat by the sea

 


One or more of the weekend 'Poetry And' poetry retreat series now available on request to be held at a retreat location near, or known to, you

Poetry and Silence, Poetry in Silence, Poetry and Discovery, Poetry and Narrative, Poetry and Hope

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a 2-day poetry retreat by the sea

EXAMPLE:

Poetry and Hope

Graham Fawcett, poetry lecturer, broadcaster, writer and translator, leads this gentle and reflective poetry retreat. It is designed to create plenty of space and time around some of the finest, most thought-provoking, and most inspiring meditations on hope to be found in poems from any time in history and anywhere in the world.

 

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul”, wrote Emily Dickinson, catching the sense we often have that hope is a fledgling bird of a feeling which keeps us company at moments when we feel vulnerable and in need of the ability to rise on wings out of where we are.

 

Of course, hope can bring with it other precarious feelings too, like longing, and so there is the risk of disappointment, something the Canadian novelist David Plante was washing his hands of when, on being asked what he was planning to give up at New Year, he said, ‘hope’. Besides, longing, like hope, may be misguided: T S Eliot wrote in his second Quartet, ‘East Coker’, “I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, For hope would be hope for the wrong thing”.

 

But perhaps, when we feel hope is not to be trusted, birds may know something we don’t, as when Thomas Hardy wondered whether, through the ‘happy goodnight air’ of an ‘aged thrush’ at a dark and chilling time of year, trembled ‘Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew/And I was unaware’.

 

So – hope is a bird, and hope is what birds know and can inspie in us. In this, poets are like birds: they absolutely understand hope as they do love. They know hope can be summoned in any emergency: “O bright-eyed Hope”, called out Keats, “my morbid fancy cheer;/Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow:/Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,/And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head!”

 

 

 

to book Poetry and Hope or for details of the other retreats in the series, write to grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

                   Waking Up and Opening Out on the Page

                                        A POETRY WRITING DAY WITH GRAHAM FAWCETT

Have you ever felt that you would like to write a poem today, or any day, but have nothing to say in it?

Or that you are brimming over with words and ideas but cannot imagine how to make anything out of them, let alone a poem?

Or even that you have written poems time and again before but they always seem to be much of a muchness?

We writers (we human beings, for that matter) can spend much of our lives in a sort of coma which feels either empty of words, flooded with them, or just plain stuck and unable to open out.

If any of these feelings rings a bell with you, do come and explore the possibilities which await you just across the river – and there’s a bridge!

                  COST FOR THE WHOLE DAY: £40 (numbers limited to 15)

                                                      TO BOOK

                        CLICK HERE AT https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/brendonbooks

                                      

                                                                        OR

                              CALL BRENDON BOOKS ON 01823 337742

                                                                     

 

 


from the acclaimed Seven Olympians series

Image result for CHAUCER IMAGES

Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was a Renaissance man long before the Renaissance. Sheer creative curiosity deployed his thoughts into a world vision. He obviously feasted on the humour and invention of Boccaccio’s Decameron, whose characters took it in turns to tell stories before Chaucer's ever did. Chaucer is a virtuoso verse-storyteller of the most disarming clarity. The Canterbury Tales may always be the star turn, but should not be allowed to upstage four captivating early dream-poems and a Troilus and Criseyde which has been dubbed ‘the first English novel’.   

 

"You gave Chaucer to us - not only with a huge breadth of knowledge but managed to present the entire subject as a great romp through the Middle Ages".    

Caroline Vero, Chaucer Night, London

 

"How much I enjoyed the Chaucer evening! My knowledge of Chaucer was minimal; however your talk has made me really interested. I feel equipped now to begin reading Chaucer myself”.

Hanne Busck-Nielsen, Chaucer Night, Oxford

"You made my mind dance".   Carla Steenkamp, Chaucer Night, Brympton Festival, Yeovil

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

call Graham Fawcett on 0207 405 3997

 


 

 

Creation

 

The more seismic the changes to our world - whether political, social, climatic, or all three together - the more we discover, beyond these immediate concerns, the far greater strength of the world itself and the uniquely inspirational role it can play in our lives - as a miracle of geology, humanity, fauna, flora, art, culture and society - if only we will lift our eyes from now and open our hearts and minds to the beauties of always. CREATION reminds us, at a time when we may need it as never before in our lives, of the supremely transcendent power of art and literature to comfort, guide and befriend us, leaving us enriched as love can, the more refreshed and ready for the fight between the light and darkness of every day.

 

 

This inspirationally compelling new course creates strength and variety from the vastness of its subject: the Creation of the World and everything in it as encountered by artists and writers throughout the centuries. Now we can read, look at, see what they saw from hill-top, valley-side, shore-line, doorway and windowsill across land, sea and sky: the Earth, and human life in all its glory and diversity. Each week’s programme names just some of the featured artists and writers.

 

1

THE CREATION OF THE WORLD

 

Performing a task as difficult as the original miracle (at what point in the seven-day or split-second cataclysm do you click the visual or verbal shutter?) our first event is imagined in dramatic detail by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Hopkins, Kipling, the Kalevala, D H Lawrence, Hughes; Bosch, Michelangelo, Raphael, Burne-Jones, J Brueghel, Courbet, and John Martin.

Image: Hieronymus Bosch, Creation of the World (1510)

 

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this course originally spread over fifteen weeks before and after Easter 2017, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

 

 


 

Creation

 

2

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

 

Creation with a capital ‘C’ alerts the 21st-century mind: is it being sold God, or intelligent design? What about the Big Bang?

For centuries, great art reflected belief in a creator. Then belief stood aside and the artist-witnesses of the world’s wonders went on seeing.

Starting from Genesis and becoming Planet Earth, Creation fields painters and writers who sell awe and delight in the four seasons, four elements, light and darkness, mountains, raging seas, the human body. In an age of anxiety, post-truths are trounced by eternal verities, and art is as true as the world it shows us. If not, why are we so comforted to stop and watch a flight of geese on sky or canvas?

 

Image result for rembrandt old man in meditation staircase

 

God divided the one from the other, and if he didn’t, something did. The marriage, co-existence, and separation of light and dark thoroughly captivated (as they do us) Donne, Byron, Heaney, Longfellow, Dostoyevsky, Baudelaire, Frost, Dylan Thomas, Anne Sexton; Van Gogh, Holman Hunt, Chirico, Whistler, Caravaggio, van Honthorst, Turner, Rembrandt, Magritte, El Greco, Goya. 

Image: Rembrandt, Philosopher in Meditation, Louvre, Paris (1832)

 


 

Creation

 

3

SEA AND SKY

Image result for courbet le bord de mer à palavas

 

Their kindred blues and greys make us yearn towards the mirage of their meeting, often hidden by cloud, storm, the towering swell. Elgar’s Sea Pictures poems; Coleridge, Masefield, Hardy, Tolstoy, Whitman, Blake, Katherine Mansfield, Edna St Vincent Millay, C S Lewis, Keats, Clare; Friedrich, Burne-Jones, Watts, Monet, di Cosimo, Raphael, Courbet, Landseer, Hopper, Renoir, Dali, Seurat, Rubens, van Ruisdael, Turner, Constable, Church, van Gogh, Tiepolo, Gauguin, Hiroshige, Titian, O’Keefe.                      Image: Gustav Courbet, Les Bords de la Mer a Palavas (detail), 1868, Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France

 

For full week-by-week details of this course spread over fifteen weeks before and after Easter 2017, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

 


Creation

 

4

FOUR SEASONS, FESTIVALS, FERTILITY

Image result for pieter brueghel the younger village festival

 

Persuaded as our senses’ appetites are activated all at once by word and image, we willingly plunge into a different season’s sensual ritual of colour and celebration. Frost, Lawrence, E B Browning, Alice Oswald, Pushkin, Laurie Lee, Emily Brontë, Thomson, Neruda; Pieter Brueghel, Millet, van Gogh, Zurbáran, Cézanne, Constable, Dürer, Burne-Jones, Alma-Tadema, Poussin, Hockney                                                                                  Image: Pieter Brueghel, Village Festival in Honour of St. Hubert and St. Anthony, 1632, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

 

For full week-by-week details of this course spread over fifteen weeks before and after Easter 2017, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  


 

Creation

 

5

MOUNTAINS

Image result for bierstadt albert mountain images

 

Summits share with birds the gift of reaching almost to heaven. So we fear, worship, climb to them. Distance vies with closeness, access with impossibility, in Wordsworth, Wang Wei, Conan Doyle, Petrarch, Marlowe, Shelley, Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Chekhov, Horace, Verne, George Eliot, Mann; Friedrich, Turner, Ruskin, Brett, Chinese painters, David, Hokusai, Bierstadt.                                                                      Image: Albert Bierstadt, In The Mountains (1867), Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut, USA|

 

Creation

 

6

RIVERS AND LAKES

Image result for corot lake images

 

 

Inspirers of legend, their speed, depth, stirred surface and beauty imitate aliveness whose source is unknowable. Forget maps. Their flow is the more momentously traced by Hopkins, Arnold, Hughes, Coleridge, E B Browning, Rimbaud, Auden, Oswald, Wordsworth, Ashbery, Amichai; Tintoretto, Constable, Monet, Delacroix, Ricci, David Roberts, Tissot, O’Keefe, Corot, Cézanne, Seurat.

Image: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Landscape with Lake and Boatman (1839) - Getty Museum, Los Angeles

 

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

 


Creation

 

7

BIRDS AND BEASTS

Image result for theodore gericault horse

 

 

They feel like kin, luring us to a life we can only aspire to. We envy their freedom, breathe easy that our survival is less precarious. Hardy, Hopkins, Edward Thomas, Smart, Blake, Gray, Burns, Dickinson, Neruda, Tennyson, Clare, Baudelaire, Coleridge, Yeats; Rubens, Poussin, Géricault, Titian, Correggio, Veronese, Tintoretto; cave paintings from Spain, France, South Africa; Middle Eastern frescoes; Rothko, Holman Hunt, Burne-Jones, Snyders, Jan Brueghel, Brancusi, Rousseau, Flanagan.

Image: Théodore Géricault, White Grey Arabian Horse (c.1812), Musee des Beaux Arts, Rouen

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  


Creation

 

8

FIRE, AIR, EARTH, WATER

 

Image result for paul klee fire at full moon

 

The power of life and death they have had over us from the beginning infuses any great attempt in word or image to capture the formidable forces of the four elements. We marvel at how they collaborate, recoil when they clash. Shakespeare, Wallace Stevens, T S Eliot, Woolf, Hughes, Bishop, Kavanagh; Beuckelaer, Turner, Bierstadt, Cole, Rembrandt, Klee, Tiepolo, the plein air painters.

Image: Paul Klee, Fire At Full Moon (1933), Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

 

For full week-by-week details of this fifteen-week course, designed for you to join at any point, click here at

http://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/lectures-and-courses/creation  

 


 

Creation

 

9

MAN

Related image

 

No better proof can be had of Hamlet’s “What a piece of work is a man!” than in man’s form and figure, action and passion; running, poised, in repose, the muscle of male nature is found poetic. Yeats, Rimbaud, Machado, Herbert, Lawrence, Chaucer, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Cervantes, Dickens, Austen; Rembrandt, Giacometti, Klee, Leighton, Burne-Jones, Raphael, Titian, van Eyck, Manet.

Image: Edouard Manet, Young Man Peeling a Pear (Leon Leenhoff) (1868), Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

 


 

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