30 Poets [With 2 Dvds] [With 2 DVDs]
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Thirty poets from around the world read to you in person. This is a new concept in publishing: your own personal poetry festival brought into your home. Each poet reads to you for about ten minutes - up to half a dozen poems chosen from across the range of their work. In Person is a collaboration between Bloodaxe Books and award-winning film-maker Pamela Robertson-Pearce. Her style of filming combines directness and simplicity, sensitivity and warmth - the perfect combination for these intimate readings. It is as if the poet were sitting in the room with you, reading just to you, and sometimes saying a few things about the poems. Apart from one recording taken from a live public performance, all the films present informal, one-to-one readings. They enhance your appreciation of the poetry. You hear how the poems sound; you see how the poets read and present their work. T.S. Eliot once described poetry as 'one person talking to another', while W.H. Auden believed it was essential to hear poetry read aloud, for 'no poem, which when mastered, is not better heard than read is good poetry'. In Person presents the oral art of poetry in that spirit. There are four hours of readings on two DVDs pouched inside the back cover, and all the poems are printed in this book. In Person celebrates 30 years of poetry from a pioneering press. Founded in 1978, Bloodaxe has published nearly a thousand titles by three hundred writers. Until now you wouldn't be able to see or hear readings by many of Bloodaxe's international range of poets. In Person makes that possible for the first time, presenting readings by 30 essential voices from Britain, Ireland, America, Spain, Hungary, Palestine, Pakistan, China, New Zealand and the Caribbean. Four out of the 30 short films present the poets' work bilingually. Menna Elfyn's reading alternates between her Welsh poems and their English translations. Joan Margarit reads in Catalan in tandem with his translator Anna Crowe reading her English translations. Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali reads in Arabic and then re-inhabits each poem as it is read in English by his translator Peter Cole. Yang Lian introduces his work in English, and reads the poems in Chinese. This anthology presents all their poems in both languages in a parallel-text format, enabling you to follow either language as the poems are read on the film. All the other readings are in English only, and in many varieties of English which will add greatly to your enjoyment and appreciation of the poetry: not just poems read in Scottish, Welsh and Irish English by Jackie Kay, W.N. Herbert, Gwyneth Lewis, Brendan Kennelly and Micheal O'Siadhail, but also George Szirtes' Hungarian-inflected English, Benjamin Zephaniah's melding of Jamaican and Birmingham, and the Caribbean lilt of John Agard and James Berry. The musical range of American voices is just as diverse, ranging from urban Detroit (Philip Levine) to the Ozark Mountains (C.D. Wright). There's also a 'bonus track': a short film of Bloodaxe's first poet, Ken Smith, made by Ivor Bowen just before Ken's untimely death.
Bloodaxe Books, 9781852248000, 272pp.
Publication Date: May 22, 2008
About the Author
Pamela Robertson-Pearce is an artist, filmmaker and translator. Her films include IMAGO: Meret Oppenheim (1996), on the artist who made the fur-lined teacup, and Gifted Beauty (2000), about Surrealist women artists including Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. IMAGO: Meret Oppenheim won several awards, including the Swiss Film Board's Prize for Outstanding Quality and the Gold Apple Award at the National Educational Film and Video Festival in America. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions in New York and Provincetown, and in various group shows in the US and Europe. Born in Stockholm, she grew up in Sweden, Spain and England, then lived mostly in America - also working in Switzerland, Norway and Albania - before moving to Northumberland. She co-edited the anthology Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (Bloodaxe Books, 2007) with Neil Astley, and worked with him on the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2008) and In Person: World Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2017), filming poets whose work is included in the two anthologies. Bloodaxe issued two more of her poetry films on DVDs with books in 2009, John Agard Live! with John Agard's Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems and Life is IMMENSE: visiting Samuel Menashe with Samuel Menashe's New & Selected Poems, followed by Jean 'Binta' Breeze's Third World Girl: Selected Poems with a live performances and interview DVD in 2011. Her full-length feature film Benjamin Zephaniah: To Do Wid Me was released on DVD by Bloodaxe in 2013 in Benjamin Zephaniah's DVD-book To Do Wid Me.Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably those in Bloodaxe's Staying Alive anthology series: Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004), Being Human (2011), and Staying Human (2020), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation; and three collaborations with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2008), and the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017). He has published two novels, The End of My Tether (2002), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (2005). He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry, was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books, and in 2018 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He also guest-edited a transatlantic all-poetry issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, the first such issue in its 43-year history. He lives in the Tarset Valley of Northumberland, England.