calendar] [poetry lecture-performance tours in England and Wales 2018]
[events on request for venues in England in 2018]
[lectures] [poetry school] [broadcasting, language work & publications] [translation coaching]
writer, teacher, lecturer, translator and broadcaster
photo: Birgitta Johansson
The Seven Olympians, World Poets and Dante Tours in 2018
In his poetry lecture-performance tours, Graham wants to give audiences who love poetry a fresh experience of each poet which he hopes will feel more like listening to a live radio programme with readings rather than to a lecture, blowing away some of the more daunting associations we have with that word . . .
“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 . . .Do go; these are very special occasions.”
(John Pownall, The Bridport Review, at Coleridge Night, West Bay, Dorset, 21 January 2016)
NEW SERIES CONTINUES IN 2018
W H Auden
T S Eliot
W B Yeats
Lorca and the Poetry of Spain
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Rainer Maria Rilke
Dante's The Divine Comedy
D H Lawrence, poet
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Gerard Manley Hopkins 100
Guillaume Apollinaire 100
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Shakespeare the Poet
These lecture-performances last for 90-95 minutes, including a 15 minute interval at about halfway through
The lectures in blue have already been launched and so are immediately available. Those in black can be made available at a few weeks' notice.
Dante Alighieri throughout 2018
attrib. Giotto, Dante, Bargello, Florence
(the oldest known portrait of Dante Alighieri)
January 2018 sees the re-start of Graham's tour of lecture-performances-with-readings on The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, probably the greatest poet who has ever lived.
If you would like your city, town or village to be included on the tour and/or would like to know more about it, write to Graham at email@example.com
POETRY READINGS WITH COMMENTARY (new series)
Poets of New York
William Shakespeare Night
Graham Fawcett's acclaimed lecture-performance-with-readings series
Seven Olympians 1
click here for extract
"A real tour de force. West Bay metamorphosed into a Roman drinking den. Hexameters at dawn.
Excellent. I learnt a lot".
(James Crowden, after West Bay Ovid night)
(Phil Manning at the London Ovid Night)
"A wonderful lecture last night, both informative
and entertaining. I was fascinated to learn about the
forgotten female poets who translated him”.
(Sally Jenner after Ovid Night in Lewes on 17th January)
I really enjoyed Ovid. These lectures are so worth pushing’.
(Stephen Yeo, after Ovid Night in Oxford)
Seven Olympians 2
with the actor Sue Aldred
"You made my mind dance".
(Carla Sheills Steenkamp)
"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"
"How much I enjoyed the Chaucer evening ! My knowledge of Chaucer was minimal; however, your talk, aided by Sue's excellent reading in Middle English of the texts, has made me really interested, and I feel equipped now to begin reading Chaucer myself. You effectively shone a light across a dark land and I now have the paths mapped out, so I can, and want to, explore what was a hidden continent before. I really want more people to hear you and learn more of the wonderful rich literary heritage we all share!"
(Hanne Busck-Nielsen at Oxford Chaucer Night, 7th February 2013)
| Seven Olympians 3
"So rich in content"
(Member of the audience)
"Byron lived fast and died young. Graham brought the poet to life again for one extraordinary evening of poetry, politics and adventure. It was wonderful."
(Lucy Moy-Thomas at London Byron Night)
"I was royally entertained".
(Annie Freud, after Byron Night in Lewes)
Thank you for your wonderful talk on Byron at the Hopblossom in Farnham. I found myself gripped and enthralled and am so pleased to have finally understood why my late mother was so besotted with Byron. Thank you for revealing why and how his work should be approached. Can't wait, now, for some time to sit down and enjoy what I've missed all these years!
(Jane Lees, at Farnham Byron Night)
| Seven Olympians 4
"I was so uplifted by your lecture on Pushkin that I am now hugely looking forward to the presentation on Baudelaire".
(Sieglinde Ward, after Farnham Pushkin Night)
"How much I enjoyed the evening ! Your lecture was brilliant”.
(Valentina Merritt, after Farnham Pushkin Night)
"Thank you for a sensational evening of Pushkin- a great ”performance” and an added bonus having your two charming colleagues. I was personally thrilled to hear these lyrical voices complementing yours because I had read that it can sometimes be difficult to fully appreciate Pushkin in translation. Both your rendering, and the translations that you chose, dovetailing so beautifully with Valentina and her colleague’s reading, proved that Pushkin is most accessible and hugely enjoyable."
(Sue Hicks, after Farnham Pushkin Night)
"A most stimulating evening. I am so glad I came".
(Jennifer Anderson, after the London Pushkin Night)
"Thank you again for an incredibly interesting and informative lecture"
(Svetlana Calladine, after the Lewes Pushkin Night)
"Particularly involving and pleasurable".
Member of the audience after the Lewes (Pushkin Night)
| Seven Olympians 5
"I was enthralled by Graham Fawcett's talk on Baudelaire. He painted such vivid pictures with words, that you felt you understood the troubled poet and essayist, and the 'modern' influences of Paris in the 1800s that had shaped his life, loves and work. Graham drew the listener into the world of the poet with such skill that, despite no previous knowledge of the subject and the sometimes complex nature of his work, I was totally at ease with Baudelaire's highly unique style. Several pieces were delivered in full in the original French, allowing the music and rhythm of the lines to be appreciated, before an equally entertaining translation was given. A thoroughly enjoyable evening".
(Meg Depla-Lake, at Baudelaire Night in Lewes)
"I want to say how much I enjoyed your lecture last night; it set me thinking.... and this is always a welcome thing".
| Seven Olympians 6
"A wonderful evening of Emily Dickinson, questions and a meal together. The evening was a huge success".
(Katrina Dennison after Emily Dickinson Night in Farnham)
"Thank you for another compelling lecture. There is a certain new slant of light in which I now look at Emily Dickinson's poetry, thanks to your inspired evocation of her as a woman of great strength, even volcanic power."
(Romee Tilanus, after the London Emily Dickinson Night)
“A really excellent evening, much enjoyed and appreciated by all those who have been in touch since. People were rapt, attentive and enthusiastic". (Liza Bingley Miller after Emily Dickinson Night in York)
I enjoyed this lecture so much that I have booked a trip to Amherst this summer to go to Emily Dickinson's family home, such was the impact her poetry had on my life!
(Emma Jane Turner, after the first Emily Dickinson Night, in Central London)
Everyone I spoke to said it had been a brilliant evening, and your talk superb -- this applied to all our members who I heard from on Sunday morning too.
So my very warm appreciation for your efforts and a tremendous talk, beautifully researched. It made the whole evening a delight, including the supper afterwards.
We would love you to come again.
(Jim Corrigall, after Emily Dickinson Night in Ipswich)
A truly memorable evening yesterday. One comes away not merely with a deeper understanding - and indeed fired with enthusiasm for your subject - but also what a different experience altogether it is to hear you read a prepared lecture. I so enjoyed hearing you read Emily's work but particularly relished the opportunity to enjoy your own way with words; not to overstate it, it put me in mind of good music well composed. Thank you for it all. How can it be that there is no CD of any of your work? The Olympians would make a splendid album!
I'm very much looking forward to your return visit to our backwoods . . .
(Sue Key-Burr, after Emily Dickinson Night in Ipswich)
Seven Olympians 7
"Inspiring and brilliant. An enthralling evening"
(Anna Powell, after West Bay Neruda Night
(John Taylor, after West Bay 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)
"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 Lewes Neruda Night)
"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, Bridlington Poetry Festival 2013).
(George Beckmann, after London's Neruda Night)
These lectures first given at St Olave, Hart Street, between January and July 2012 and then at The Poetry School and The Rugby Tavern in London, before going on tour for the first time)
If your city or town has not yet been covered by the Seven Olympians tour and you would like to stage one or more of the lectures at a venue near you during 2016, write to Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My usual fee is £450 for a morning, afternoon, or evening session, £700 for two consecutive sessions, and £850 for a whole day from morning to evening inclusive or a 24-hour period away from home, plus travel expenses, subsistence, and overnight accommodation where necessary.
If requested, and in certain cases, fees may also be negotiable in line with what your audience is used to, what the box office is likely to be, and/or other special circumstances of particular need. To this end, Graham is happy to discuss and help with publicity.
The Book You Always Meant To Read
a cycle of fifteen lectures covering the whole of Dante's Divine Comedy
Gustav Dore, Dante in The Dark Wood
1. Before reading Dante
We embark on a poet’s journey of a lifetime in what must rank as the most intense, and the most unbelievably credible, diary ever written; 14,223 lines of it, ostensibly describing the events of seven days, but which probably took the poet at least ten years to write.
What “happens” to him through these days has such a breathtaking velocity and moment and mass and range and compass and seamless continuity, that it has been like a ground bass, a continuo of meaning, for me ever since I first read it. I thought of it yet again only the Saturday before last as I saw a time-clock on the television screen measuring, there and then at the time, the hours, minutes, seconds and tenths of a second that followed the sight of the first plane flying into the first tower of the World Trade Center, and counted the breaths in that gathering picture of apocalypse; and then, changing channels, was no less poignantly shocked into another connection when faced with the stark contrast struck by live pictures from Mantua of Verdi’s jesting Rigoletto going to hell in a handcart, in real time.
Every road, including our own, sooner or later leads to this great work, crosses the path of its journey. . .
2. The Journey Begins (Inferno, Cantos 1-8)
3. The Deepening Route (Inferno, Cantos 9-15)
4. Navigating The Precipice (Inferno, Cantos 16-22)
5. Imaginable Peril (Inferno, Cantos 23-26)
6. How To Get Out of Hell (Inferno, Cantos 27-34)
7. Above the Southern Ocean (Purgatorio, Cantos 1-9)
8. Altitudes of Pride and Envy (Purgatorio, Cantos 10-16)
9. What Love Is and What It Isn’t (Purgatorio, Cantos 17-21)
10. Through the Wall of Fire (Purgatorio, Cantos 22-28)
11. Being With Beatrice (Purgatorio, Cantos 29-33 and Paradiso, canto 1)
12. The Story So Far, and The Point of Paradise (Paradiso, Cantos 1-4)
13. Heavens of Mercury, Venus, the Sun and Mars (Paradiso, Cantos 5-14)
14. The Eagle and the Ladder (Paradiso, Cantos 15-25)
15. Vision’s Pinnacle (Paradiso, Cantos 26-33)
Dante Alighieri portrayed by Domenico Michelino holding The Divine Comedy against a backdrop of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise (1465)
Santa Maria Del Fiore, (Duomo), Florence, Italy
feature being compiled