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Winter and some Spring and Summer 2019 events

are on the calendar below

Scroll down for full details

 

“Your evenings are always a revealing delight”.

(Regular member of the audience in Lewes)

 


      Graham Fawcett         

    writer, teacher, lecturer, translator and broadcaster

 

Displaying IMG_0609.jpg

On the terrace at the Keats/Shelley House, Rome                                                    Photo: Sarah Glazer Khedouri

 

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)  

 

“If you have never experienced Graham Fawcett, you have missed something . . . These are big talks, packed full of imagination and research”.         

                                                                                           Bridport Review, 2016

 

                                                                                   photo: Birgitta Johansson

 

 


CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR BREAK
 

 

2019

 

JANUARY

AT A GLANCE

21st - D H Lawrence Night in Farnham

25th - D H Lawrence Night in Hackney

29th - Charles Baudelaire Night in Greenwich

 


JANUARY

Monday 21st January 2019 at 7pm

THE OAK LOUNGE, MERCURE BUSH HOTEL, THE BOROUGH, FARNHAM, SURREY GU9 7NN

World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

 by Graham Fawcett

 

Image result for dh lawrence

D H Lawrence, poet

 

   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. It opens:

Not every man has gentians in his house

in soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas.

 

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark

darkening the day-time, torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto’s gloom,

ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue

down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day

torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto’s dark-blue daze,

black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,

giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter’s pale lamps give off light,

lead me then, lead the way . . .

     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 so much more than that.

Green

 

The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between.

 

She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen.

 

 

“It's no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You've got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they've got to come. You can't force them.” 

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)

 

To find out how to book, click link here

 

Tickets £12

 

 


 

Friday 25th January 2019 at 7pm

THE GREAT CHAMBER, SUTTON HOUSE, 2 HOMERTON HIGH STREET, LONDON E9 6JQ

 

AFTER SUCCESSES AT SUTTON HOUSE WITH WALT WHITMAN, ELIZABETH BISHOP, HOPKINS 100, JOHN DONNE AND W H AUDEN

 

World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

 by Graham Fawcett

 

Image result for dh lawrence

D H Lawrence, poet

 

   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. It opens:

Not every man has gentians in his house

in soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas.

 

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark

darkening the day-time, torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto’s gloom,

ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue

down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day

torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto’s dark-blue daze,

black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,

giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter’s pale lamps give off light,

lead me then, lead the way . . .

     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 so much more than that.

Green

 

The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between.

 

She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen.

 

 

“It's no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You've got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they've got to come. You can't force them.” 

D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)

 

Sutton House is a Grade II-listed Tudor Manor house and is owned by the National Trust. It is a pleasant 5-minute walk through St John's Churchyard from

Image result for sutton house great chamber images Hackney Central overground station, which is also served by frequent local bus services, including buses 30, 38, 48, 55, 106, 242, 253, 254, and 276

Buses stopping outside the house itself include 425 and 488.

photo: The Great Chamber, Sutton House

 

"Sutton House is a Tudor house, but the Spirit of Place there goes beyond telling one story: it welcomes everyone to experience inclusiveness, creativity and respect through its walls, its team, its visitors and events. Graham’s voice embodies in a delicate yet immersive manner the essence of Sutton House. His personality, knowledge of poetry, and passion for history enable him to help his audience enter a world of meaningful experience, space and time giving way to a place of poetry grace."

 

(Edoardo Bedin, 2018 commercial and visitor experience manager, Sutton House)

 

 

Tickets £12.50

BOOKING OPEN

To book, just click here

 


Tuesday 29th January 2019 at 7pm

THE TREEHOUSE, GREENWICH TAVERN, 1 KING WILLIAM WALK, GREENWICH, LONDON, SE10 9SW

 

Seven Olympians series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

by Graham Fawcett

 

Seven Olympians 5

Image result for charles baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

                                                         Photo: Étienne Carjat, 1863

 

Baudelaire is an exhilarating poet of the sea-voyage and the love-song who becomes the wandering lone lover of a city, descendant of Homer’s Ulysses, forefather of Joyce’s. To read him is to be instantaneously young, a champion bourgeois-baiting Frenchman, charismatically jaundiced, eloquently susceptible to beauty, isolation, melancholy, the wonders of transgression and the dark side, and hungry to paint the hidden faces of the Paris he famously dubbed a ‘swarming city, city full of dreams’.

 

Evening Harmony

Now comes the eve, when on its stem vibrates
Each flower, evaporating like a censer;
When sounds and scents in the dark air grow denser;
Drowsed swoon through which a mournful waltz pulsates!

Each flower evaporates as from a censer; 
The fiddle like a hurt heart palpitates; 
Drowsed swoon through which a mournful waltz pulsates;
The sad, grand sky grows, altar-like, immenser.

The fiddle, like a hurt heart, palpitates,
A heart that hates oblivion, ruthless censor.
The sad, grand sky grows, altar-like, immenser.
The sun in its own blood coagulates...

A heart that hates oblivion, ruthless censor,
The whole of the bright past resuscitates.
The sun in its own blood coagulates...
And, monstrance-like, your memory flames intenser!

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

 

Image result for baudelaire images

                                                                           Gustave Courbet, Charles Baudelaire (1847)

 

The king of poets, a true God”

Arthur Rimbaud

 

“You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism . . . You are as unyielding as marble and as penetrating as an English mist”.

Gustave Flaubert to Baudelaire

 

Invitation to the Voyage

 

Think, would it not be

Sweet to live with me

All alone, my child, my love? — 

Sleep together, share

All things, in that fair

Country you remind me of? 

Charming in the dawn 

There, the half-withdrawn

Drenched, mysterious sun appears 

In the curdled skies, 

Treacherous as your eyes

Shining from behind their tears.

There, restraint and order bless

Luxury and voluptuousness.

We should have a room 

Never out of bloom:

Tables polished by the palm 

Of the vanished hours 

Should reflect rare flowers

In that amber-scented calm;

Ceilings richly wrought,

Mirrors deep as thought,

Walls with eastern splendor hung,

All should speak apart 

To the homesick heart

In its own dear native tongue.

There, restraint and order bless

Luxury and voluptuousness.

See, their voyage past,

To their moorings fast,

On the still canals asleep, 

These big ships; to bring 

You some trifling thing

They have braved the furious deep.

— Now the sun goes down,

Tinting dyke and town,

Field, canal, all things in sight,

Hyacinth and gold;

All that we behold

Slumbers in its ruddy light.

There, restraint and order bless

Luxury and voluptuousness.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil

     (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Baudelaire, ‘Invitation to the Voyage’, translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

“Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul”.


 

"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".                                

                                                                   (Audience member in Lewes)

 

Tickets £12.50

BOOKING OPENS IN DECEMBER - WATCH THIS SPACE

 


FEBRUARY

AT A GLANCE

7th - John Donne Night in West Bay (Bridport)

20th - Anna Akhmatova Night in Hackney

26th - Walt Whitman 200 Night in Taunton


FEBRUARY

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

Thursday February 7th 2019 at 730pm

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

The World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

 

World Poets

https://poesypluspolemics.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/john_donne_bbc_news.jpg

John Donne

 

John Donne died in 1631 and, although his poetry did not quite die with him, it took more than 250 years for a full-scale resurrection.

 

Then in 1899, that inspirational Cornishman and critic Arthur Symons, a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec and W B Yeats, sounded the first real trumpet: “Donne’s quality of passion is unique in English poetry”, he wrote. “It is a rapture in which the mind is supreme, a reasonable rapture . . . This lover loves with his whole nature”.

 

If that didn’t tip the nation back to loving Donne, T S Eliot’s stirring essay on The Metaphysical Poets in 1919 certainly did: “A thought to Donne was an experience”, said Eliot. “It modified his sensibility”.

Suddenly there was a bridge linking reason and passion. People could feel befriended by Donne in their life’s confusions, and Donne’s own standing has endured ever since as one of England’s greatest national poetic treasures.   

 

More at:

https://sladersyard.wordpress.com/events.htm

To book, call Sladers Yard on 01308 459511

Tickets £12.50, add £17.50 with pre-lecture supper (from 530pm, last orders 6pm)

 


Wednesday 20 February 2019 at 7pm

THE GREAT CHAMBER, SUTTON HOUSE, 2 HOMERTON HIGH STREET, LONDON E9 6JQ

World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

 by Graham Fawcett

 

a new lecture on

Anna Akhmatova

 

Anna Akhmatova’s was one of the most dramatic lives in the history of poetry. She lived through the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 when she was 16 and 28. Her ex-husband was executed by firing squad when she was 32. Stalin had her son repeatedly imprisoned as part of a campaign of persecution against her. She endured the bombardment prior to the Siege of Leningrad in 1941 with the inspirational mother-courage of Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, broadcasting to the women of Leningrad – we have the stirring transcripts - and on air-warden duty with a gas-mask slung over her shoulder.

 

No sooner was the war over than Akhmatova was ‘officially’ vilified in public in 1946 by Stalin’s sidekick Zhdanov as the epitomy of the anti-State artist and intellectual, “poisoning the youth with the pernicious spirit of her poetry”. Nearly twenty years later, Akhmatova, begowned in the purple of a Doctor of Literature, stood next to Siegfried Sassoon in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre to hear the Public Orator compare her to Sappho.

 

At the end of her life, Akhmatova looked back gratefully at what she had been through: “I never stopped writing poems. In them is my link with time, with the new life of my people . . . I believed in the resounding rhythms reflected in the heroic history of my country. I am happy that I lived in these years and saw events which cannot be equalled”.

 

“The young girl who reinvented herself as Anna Akhmatova”, wrote Elaine Feinstein, “would become one of the two greatest female poets in Russian literature; the other, Marina Tsvetayeva, would crown her with the title "Anna of all the Russias." We in Britain recognise her as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century.

 

"Splendid and gripping".

(Mick Delap, after the first performance of this lecture in Greenwich on 13 November 2018

 

"A fascinating lecture. People were enthralled and totally engaged".

(Member of the audience at first performance of this lecture in Greenwich on 13 November 2018)

Tickets £12.50

   BOOKING OPEN

click here now

 


Tuesday 26 February 2019 at 630pm

BRENDON BOOKS, BATH PLACE, TAUNTON, SOMERSET TA1 4ER

 

 

 

 

The World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

by Graham Fawcett

Image result for walt whitman

 

Walt Whitman 200

2019 celebration of the bicentenary of Whitman's birth on 31st May 1819

 

“My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,

Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same . . .”

                            (Walt Whitman, of his birth in Long Island, in ‘Song of Myself’, from Leaves of Grass, 1855)

 

‘When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloom’ is one of the most memorable titles in all poetry, and it helps to remind us how early Whitman was. Born in 1819, he wrote this deeply moving work in the dramatic double aftermath of President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and the end of the American Civil War.

The poem appeared in the 1865 edition of Whitman’s masterpiece collection, Leaves of Grass. With that book, Whitman had revolutionised what American poetry 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, including Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, D H Lawrence and Pablo Neruda, and several composers too, Vaughan Williams and Delius first among them, have found new solace for the spirit in this great voice.

 

In my experience, readers – and listeners - love Whitman for his extraordinary musical gifts as a poet and for his invigorating wisdom which sheds light on our lives left, right and centre as though he had been passing our house and stopped to talk to us through the window.

Image result for walt whitman

What better figurehead in these times than Whitman, who loved men and women, but most deeply men, can we find in the poetry of the past to keep us company now as our fought-for freedoms mean men do and will love men, women love women, and gender is at last an open garden to wander in just as we like, fearless ?

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

 

Image result for walt whitman

 

There’ll be much more like that on Whitman 200 Night. Especially from his poetry:

  I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, 
  I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, or exchange, 
  But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, 
  My left hand hooks you round the waist, 
  My right hand points to landscapes of continents and the public road.

 Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, 
 You must travel it for yourself.

  It is not far, it is within reach, 
  Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, 
  Perhaps it is every where on water and on land”.

 

“Beautiful reading”. (Jan Woods, Whitman Night in Hackney, October 2017)

 

BOOKING OPENS IN THE NEW YEAR

WATCH THIS SPACE


 

 

Spring and Summer 2019

 

MARCH

AT A GLANCE

20th - Charles Baudelaire Night in Hackney

 


MARCH

Wednesday 20 March 2019 at 7pm

THE GREAT CHAMBER, SUTTON HOUSE, 2 HOMERTON HIGH STREET, LONDON E9 6JQ

 

AFTER SUCCESSES AT SUTTON HOUSE OVER THE FIRST TWELVE MONTHS HERE WITH WALT WHITMAN, ELIZABETH BISHOP, HOPKINS 100 AND JOHN DONNE

Seven Olympians series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

by Graham Fawcett

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Olympians 5

Image result for charles baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

                                                         Photo: Étienne Carjat, 1863

 

Baudelaire is an exhilarating poet of the sea-voyage and the love-song who becomes the wandering lone lover of a city, descendant of Homer’s Ulysses, forefather of Joyce’s. To read him is to be instantaneously young, a champion bourgeois-baiting Frenchman, charismatically jaundiced, eloquently susceptible to beauty, isolation, melancholy, the wonders of transgression and the dark side, and hungry to paint the hidden faces of the Paris he famously dubbed a ‘swarming city, city full of dreams’.

 

Evening Harmony

Now comes the eve, when on its stem vibrates
Each flower, evaporating like a censer;
When sounds and scents in the dark air grow denser;
Drowsed swoon through which a mournful waltz pulsates!

Each flower evaporates as from a censer; 
The fiddle like a hurt heart palpitates; 
Drowsed swoon through which a mournful waltz pulsates;
The sad, grand sky grows, altar-like, immenser.

The fiddle, like a hurt heart, palpitates,
A heart that hates oblivion, ruthless censor.
The sad, grand sky grows, altar-like, immenser.
The sun in its own blood coagulates...

A heart that hates oblivion, ruthless censor,
The whole of the bright past resuscitates.
The sun in its own blood coagulates...
And, monstrance-like, your memory flames intenser!

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

 

Image result for baudelaire images

                                                                           Gustave Courbet, Charles Baudelaire (1847)

 

The king of poets, a true God”

Arthur Rimbaud

 

“You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism . . . You are as unyielding as marble and as penetrating as an English mist”.

Gustave Flaubert to Baudelaire

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation to the Voyage

Think, would it not be
Sweet to live with me
All alone, my child, my love? — 
Sleep together, share
All things, in that fair
Country you remind me of? 
Charming in the dawn 
There, the half-withdrawn
Drenched, mysterious sun appears 
In the curdled skies, 
Treacherous as your eyes
Shining from behind their tears.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

We should have a room 
Never out of bloom:
Tables polished by the palm 
Of the vanished hours 
Should reflect rare flowers
In that amber-scented calm;
Ceilings richly wrought,
Mirrors deep as thought,
Walls with eastern splendor hung,
All should speak apart 
To the homesick heart
In its own dear native tongue.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

See, their voyage past,
To their moorings fast,
On the still canals asleep, 
These big ships; to bring 
You some trifling thing
They have braved the furious deep.
— Now the sun goes down,
Tinting dyke and town,
Field, canal, all things in sight,
Hyacinth and gold;
All that we behold
Slumbers in its ruddy light.

There, restraint and order bless
Luxury and voluptuousness.

 

Charles Baudelaire, ‘Invitation to the Voyage’, translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

“Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul”.

 

"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".                                

                                                                   (Audience member in Lewes)

 

 


APRIL

AT A GLANCE

3rd - Poet tba Night in West Bay (Bridport) - save the date and watch this space for the poet's name

11th - Seamus Heaney Night in Hackney


 

APRIL

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 730pm

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

The World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

 

World Poets

tonight's poet's name tba shortly

 


MAY

AT A GLANCE

1st - Virgil's Aeneid 1 (Book I) - Virgil as Travel Guide (Mayfair)

8th - Virgil's Aeneid 2 (Book II) - The Trojan Horse, and What Happened Next (Mayfair)

15th - Virgil's Aeneid 3 (Book II contd) - Out of the Burning Fiery Furnace of the City of his Birth (Mayfair)

22nd - Virgil's Aeneid 4 (Books III and IV) - The Escape: A Tale of Accidents, Monsters, Landfalls (Mayfair)

29th - Virgil's Aeneid 5 Book IV contd) - The Work-Life Balance Tips Towards Departure (Mayfair)


MAY

Wednesday 1st May 2019, 1045-1245

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

Virgil's Aeneid

in word and image

 

“Our classic, the classic of all Europe, is Virgil”, said T S Eliot in 1944.    5 years on, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, but not European culture. What better moment could there be to retrace the journey Virgil created for Aeneas: escape from the Trojan inferno, voyage to Carthage, love for Dido, abandonment of her to found a new Troy at Rome, and pilgrimage to the Underworld, a golden bough as passport. Artists picture it all as if they travelled with him.

 

Virgil's Aeneid 1 (Book I)

Venus as Travel Guide

Image result for aeneid paintings

 

Aeneas’s mother is goddess of love, so he has a head start: Venus hears Jupiter prophesy the rise of Rome, so she guides her boy to Carthage where Queen Dido welcomes him in the temple. At dinner, he begins to tell his story. Botticelli, Boucher, Cézanne, Claude, Corot, Correggio, Ingres, Angelica Kauffmann, Reni, Rubens, Tiepolo, Titian, Turner and Zucchi flock to their easels to do it all in colour.

 

with Graham Fawcett

BOOKING NOW OPEN

To book, please click here on

https://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/book-a-course 

 

                                                          Image: Jean-Joseph Taillasson, Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus and Octavia (1787), National Gallery, London

 

 


JUNE

AT A GLANCE

5th - Virgil's Aeneid 6 (Book IV contd, Book V) - As the Fleet Sails, so Dido’s Pyre is set alight (Mayfair)

12th - Virgil's Aeneid 7 (Book V contd., Book VI) - Aeneas and the Sibyl: Destination Underworld (Mayfair)

19th - Virgil's Aeneid 8 (Book VI contd.) - Even More Momentous Ghosts Now Cross His Path (Mayfair)

26th - Virgil's Aeneid 9 (Books VII, VIII, IX) - The Landing in Italy, a Latin War, and a Shield from Vulcan (Mayfair)

 


JUNE

IN PROGRESS

 


  JULY

    AT A GLANCE

3rd - Virgil's Aeneid 10 (Books X, XI, XII; the Aeneid's Legacy) - Aeneas Breaks a Siege and Faces Single Combat (Mayfair)

 


 

  JULY

 

 


 

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

  2019

 

Picture

Paul Skirrow – a view from Little Gidding

 

Gift Certificates

Treat someone to a Seven Olympians or World Poets poetry lecture in or outside London, or one of the other events in 2019 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 !

 

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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)

 

 


 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

 

World Poets - Elizabeth Bishop

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                           Elizabeth Bishop               Joseph Breitenbach

 

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’.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares

 

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

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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 was 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, tucks his head under his arm, re-mounts his horse, and rides off into the murk.

Aye, and what then? How the story, the intricate plot, opens up from then on is at the heart of this poem’s unique edge-of-seat, extraordinarily modern brilliance.  

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

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Seamus Heaney

Now that 30 August 2018 has passed, and with it the fifth anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death (he would have been 80 next year), Graham Fawcett reflects on the exhilarating range of Heaney’s achievement over nearly fifty years, from his momentous poetic début in 1966 with Death of A Naturalist, poems about his early life in rural Northern Ireland in which he sings with passion, craft and clarity about the world within a world around him.

Nobel Prize laureate in 1995, and outstanding translator of Beowulf and other poems and plays from the ancient and medieval worlds, Heaney wrote more than twenty books of poetry and criticism. Hailed since his death and before it as the finest Irish poet since Yeats, Heaney’s stirring legacy is that of a man whose abiding concern was to sing simply and wonderfully of Ireland, her language and history, and the crafts and customs of a rural heritage past and present, and who did not flinch from making the suffering of modern Ireland his poet’s business.

After Heaney’s death in 2013, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, said that for his "brothers and sisters in poetry … he came to be the poet we all measured ourselves against and he demonstrated the true vocational nature of his art for every moment of his life. He is irreplaceable." Many poets spoke too of his enduring generosity towards others and the unassuming manner and lightness of touch with which he welcomed all who came across him. When Graham Fawcett met Seamus Heaney at Little Gidding in 2009 and happened to mention to him that the first reading course he gave to Poetry School audiences in London from 1998 was called Heaney to Homer and Back, Heaney said, ‘I’m glad you came back’.  

 

The most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself – as a vocation and an elevation almost.

Seamus Heaney, in ‘The Art of Poetry No.75, interviewed by Henri Cole in The Paris Review, Autumn 1997, no. 144

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

 

 

 

 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

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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

Now read on . . .

(a completely different night from World Poets - William Shakespeare above)

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

Poetry Readings with Commentary - William Shakespeare-

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

 

by Graham Fawcett

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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.


 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Thomas Hardy

 

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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

 

World Poets

 

 

 

 

 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

 

The World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

by Graham Fawcett

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Walt Whitman 200

2019 celebration of the bicentenary of Whitman's birth on 31st May 1819

 

“My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,

Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same . . .”

                            (Walt Whitman, of his birth in Long Island, in ‘Song of Myself’, from Leaves of Grass, 1855)

 

 

‘When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloom’ is one of the most memorable titles in all poetry, and it helps to remind us how early Whitman was. Born in 1819, he wrote this deeply moving work in the dramatic double aftermath of President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and the end of the American Civil War.

The poem appeared in the 1865 edition of Whitman’s masterpiece collection, Leaves of Grass. With that book, Whitman had revolutionised what American poetry 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, including Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, D H Lawrence and Pablo Neruda, and several composers too, Vaughan Williams and Delius first among them, have found new solace for the spirit in this great voice.

 

In my experience, readers – and listeners - love Whitman for his extraordinary musical gifts as a poet and for his invigorating wisdom which sheds light on our lives left, right and centre as though he had been passing our house and stopped to talk to us through the window.

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What better figurehead in these times than Whitman, who loved men and women, but most deeply men, can we find in the poetry of the past to keep us company now as our fought-for freedoms mean men do and will love men, women love women, and gender is at last an open garden to wander in just as we like, fearless ?

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

There’ll be much more like that on Whitman Night. Especially from his poetry:

  I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, 
  I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, or exchange, 
  But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, 
  My left hand hooks you round the waist, 
  My right hand points to landscapes of continents and the public road.

 Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, 
 You must travel it for yourself.

  It is not far, it is within reach, 
  Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, 
  Perhaps it is every where on water and on land”.

 

“Beautiful reading”. (Jan Woods, Whitman Night in Hackney, October 2017)

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

2019 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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

Poetry readings with commentary series

 

               Walt Whitman

            Federico Garcia Lorca

     Edna St Vincent Millay

 

                           W H Auden

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                  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.

 


 

2019 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.

 

 

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    To book this lecture for your local venue::

    write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

Seven Olympians - Lord Byron

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“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.

 

 

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Newstead Abbey’s Byron’s family home in Nottinghamshire, of which he became master at the age of ten in 1798

 

"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 at the London Byron Night)

 

"I was royally entertained".

(Annie Freud, after Byron Night in West Bay, Bridport last time, in April 2013)

 

"Thank you for your wonderful talk on Byron. 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)

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

 

World Poets

Yeats

W B Yeats

   This W B Yeats Night is a new version, with much fresh material added to it (not least because the world has changed since) of the lecture first given at Sladers Yard in January 2014

 

W B 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 Irish fairies, dreams, and the melancholy of decay. He cherished folk-tales, celebrating them in his verse as vitally as he did the history of his own times.

 

 

Born in Dublin in 1865, six hundred years after the birth of Dante, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, Yeats was one of the two greatest poets of the twentieth century writing in English. But where did Yeats’ s voice, and his extraordinary lyrical gift, come from? Yeats Night will look for answers while reviving some of the poet’s greatest work.

 

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Yeats goes on being loved. To this day, the manner of his guiding hand to us is gifted with the common touch, so that we are glad to have listened not only to the poet who tells us he will “arise and go now and go to Innisfree” but urges us to do so now, too: “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot”, he wrote, “but make it hot by striking”.

 

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“Yeats matters today in the way that Shakespeare or Jonson or Dickinson matter. . . He's inseparable from what we understand the medium of the English language is capable of producing on the page.”    (James Longenbach, 1988)

 

 

‘I was royally entertained’ - Annie Freud, after Graham's Byron  Night at Sladers Yard

'Splendid and gripping' - Mick Delap, after Graham's new Akhmatova Night in Greenwich last month

 

 

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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

 


 

2019 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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


2019 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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

 

 

 


2019 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::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


2019 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 for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

by Graham Fawcett

a brand new lecture now being added to the series

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth has come to be thought of as Wordsworthy, as though he were always the older man with a face like a sober civic worthy who just happened to have a decent poem about daffodils, and an odd-looking closeness to his sister, in his distant past.

 

Such is the crassness and impoverishment of feeding on crumbs from biography’s sumptuous table and then not reading the life, let alone the poetry, at all.

 

The true worth of Wordsworth, which can be grasped by seeing him as a man of action, is often simply ignored. His record as man and poet until at least his mid-thirties is captivating. At the ages of 20 and 22, he was twice in France during the Revolution, was politically active, and fathered a love-child. Before he was 30, he had become at least half of the driving force and vigorous inspiration for the greatest revolution in poetry that England has ever known, and helped Coleridge get started on his ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.  That his sister Dorothy helped Wordsworth write and live and be is beyond doubt.

 

On the page he is a man of elemental and fertile stamina: his vast autobiographical masterpiece The Prelude is one of the most beautiful, engrossing, accomplished, sustained, expansive and invigorating poems in our, or any other, language.  It is among the finest examples ever of the grace-giving power of nature, the recoverable buried treasure of memory, and the utterly engaging companionability of commentary as he makes space for us to walk beside him.

 

The Prelude’s accounts of crossing the Alps and climbing Snowdon make it so much harder for us not to go and do them both for ourselves, and look sharp about it. His famous stealing of a boat under cover of night and taking it out on a lake is pretty contagious too:

 

Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in

Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth

And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice

Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;

Leaving behind her still, on either side,

Small circles glittering idly in the moon,

Until they melted all into one track

Of sparkling light . . .

.

 

What happened next is one of the most deliciously haunting moments in all poetry.

 

Wordsworth’s absolute devotion to his beloved Lake District is a luminous celebration of the vital spirit of place and how to express deep gratitude for belonging there. What is more, Wordsworth’s at-first-sight-formidable output is embraceable as we walk and climb, stop, look, listen, breathe and feel with him everywhere he goes; and that very act of being in his company becomes empowering of the heart and mind to be newly in the world and in our own remembrances more fully than ever before.

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


World Poets series of lecture-performances-with-readings

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

by Graham Fawcett

 

 

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John Donne

John Donne died in 1631 and, although his poetry did not quite die with him, it took more than 250 years for a full-scale resurrection.

 

Then in 1899, that inspirational Cornishman and critic Arthur Symons, a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec and W B Yeats, sounded the first real trumpet: “Donne’s quality of passion is unique in English poetry”, he wrote. “It is a rapture in which the mind is supreme, a reasonable rapture . . . This lover loves with his whole nature”.

 

If that didn’t tip the nation back to loving Donne, T S Eliot’s stirring essay on The Metaphysical Poets in 1919 certainly did: “A thought to Donne was an experience”, said Eliot. “It modified his sensibility”.

Suddenly there was a bridge linking reason and passion. People could feel befriended by Donne in their life’s confusions, and Donne’s own standing has endured ever since as one of England’s greatest national poetic treasures.   

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

 


 

2019 ENGLAND TOUR

World Poets

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Ted Hughes

 

Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, one of the twentieth century’s finest English poets or poets writing in Eglish, an especially original voice, died on the 28th of October 1998 at the age of 68. Since his death, and now again at the start of this month, in which the 20th anniversary of his death will fall, we can also think of him in the company of the older voices he loved, allowed himself to be guided by, and in some respects took over from. In a tribute to Ted at the funeral service in the North Devon village where he lived for nearly forty years, Seamus Heaney unerringly placed him in that wider pantheon of the millennium.

     “His England is now the England of Langland, Shakespeare and Hopkins”, Seamus Heaney said. Ted Hughes had become an honoured part of the span of English poetry from William Langland’s early work about the land, Piers Plowman, across six hundred years to Gerard Manley Hopkins and so into our own time.

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

 

  http://cdn.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/lawrence-188x300.jpg

       D H Lawrence, photograph by Ernesto  

       Guardia, copied by Peter A. Juley, 1929

      National Portrait Gallery, London

 

“A most enjoyable and enlightening lecture. During the evening I wondered if the snake was really there . . .”

 

(Member of the audience at D H Lawrence Night in Farnham)

 

“Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken. We cannot know beforehand, We are driven from behind, always as over the edge of the precipice. It is a leap taken, into the beyond, as a lark leaps into the sky a fragment of earth which travels to be fused out, sublimated, in the shining of the heavens. But it is not death”.

D H Lawrence, Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine And Other Essays

 

 

 

              D H Lawrence

                        with Graham Fawcett

 

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   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, then it may well have been ‘Piano’, the unforgettable early portrait, in word, picture and sound, of Lawrence remembering a woman playing a piano, or maybe ‘Snake’,  the intensely relived-moment-by-moment drama of a snake in Sicily.

 

Or, perhaps especially, ‘Bavarian Gentians’, the extraordinary late poem – one of his finest - which takes the idea of those flowers 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), but also of so much more than that. D H Lawrence, Poet Night will stroll through some of those great nature poems and take up the story of just how much more !

 

"the most memorable evening ever"

(Ann Vaughan Williams at D H Lawrence Night in Blackheath)

“Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the 

                                                         tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who 

                                                         smiles as she sings. . ”

       

        (D H Lawrence, the opening verse of ‘Piano’, 1916)

 

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

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.

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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.

http://legacymedia.localworld.co.uk/275793/Article/images/15434976/3598056.png


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)

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

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

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

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)

                                                                                                                       

 

 


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, Philosolass="style307">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

 


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

 

 


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)

 

 


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

 


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

 


 

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

 


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  

 

 


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.

 

PROGRAMME

 

John Keats (1795-1821), ‘To Autumn’ (1819)

 

This great ode, one of Keats’s finest poems, was written in Winchester during the course of a single autumn day, Sunday 9th September 1819. (He had by now already written the great Odes to a Nightingale, a Grecian Urn, Melancholy, Psyche and Indolence, earlier in the same year). The play of light and shadow here in the energies of nature and the heart may lead you to feel that Keats is gathering his strength to say goodbye to the summer of his life – he will actually have one more – and to prepare for its winter. The intensity of word and image, and the rise and fall of the poem’s music, offer a listening experience on a par with that of hearing a short movement from a late quartet

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Tchaikovsky - Song of Autumn for Violin and Piano

 

William Cobbett (1763-1835), from Rural Rides (serialised 1822-26, book 1830)

 

Two passages from an English classic written by an Englishman who loved his country and the country: the passion, candour and sheer detail of his style are as though Pepys and Defoe had been re-born to do for Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex what they had once done for London and journalism. Cobbett is Farnham’s literary patron saint as Gilbert White is Selborne’s, with the difference that Cobbett got out more. He is a crusader for English rural tradition. His eye is a connoisseur’s, as clear and vigorous as Jonathan Swift’s, his love of what he sees David Attenboroughesque.  The first extract finds him reporting from Berghclere, which he locates as “near Newbury, Hampshire (as it was in those days), on October 30, 1821, the same day, as it happened, that Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow!

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Mozart, arr. Kreisler - Rondo in G, 'Haffner' for Violin and Piano

 

Gilbert White (1720-1793), from The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789)

 

From two letters to Thomas Pennant Esquire: Letter 1 (Selborne Surroundings) and Letter 22 (‘The Ring-Ousel and Goat-Sucker’)

 

It was a good day for Selborne when Gilbert White’s life came full circle back to the place where he was born, the vicarage of this village that then became his home again for more than forty years. White the bachelor curate’s enduringly best-selling book has made Selborne’s name ever since: a collection of letters he wrote from there to two kindred-spirit friends and filled with an early naturalist’s genially precise observations and affectionate nature-loving thoughts. White was an early exponent of the art of watching birds rather than simply shooting them, and his writing conjures up what must have been a true picture of a peaceful rural idyll published in the same year as the outbreak of the French Revolution.

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Persian Folk Song from 12 Persian Folk Songs for Violin and Piano  

 

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’ (1120), translated by Edward Fitzgerald (1859)

 

We will hear the first 37 verses of this 75-verse poem, which became the most popular book after the Bible for Victorian households from the time when Fitzgerald’s famous translation of it appeared in 1859. On 13 July 1895, England’s Omar Khayyam Club held a literary dinner at the Burford Bridge Hotel near the foot of Box Hill. Among those Club members present was Thomas Hardy. 33 years later, in 1928 as he was dying, Hardy asked his wife Florence to read to him from the copy of the Rubaiyat which he had given her long before as an earnest of his love. They were the last words he ever heard.

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Interval

Ignace Pleyel - Rondo Favorit in E flat major, Ben.613 for Solo Piano

 

Jane Austen (1775-1817), from Emma, chapters 42 and 43 (Dec 1815)

 

Picnicking under the sky was felt to as romantic as the out-door English poetry of the time, a getting-back-to-nature forerunner of the special new passion among artists in the mid-19th to paint in the fresh air. Eating and ‘picture-painting’ combine in Austen’s clever dramatic cameo – one of her greatest moments - of the outing to Box Hill, as the characters we have come to know and love re-appear before us again in a flash as in newly discovered black-and-white footage: Emma Woodhouse, Mr Knightley, Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, Mr and Mrs Elton, Harriet Smith, and Frank Churchill, here in a fluster as Emma invites him to join what will prove to be a wonderfully complicated picnic.

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Robin Adair - Scottish Air for Violin and Piano

Schubert - The Bee for Violin and Piano

 

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), from ‘The Passing

of Arthur’ (1869).

 

It is 150 years ago this year that Tennyson, on 5 June 1867, first visited the site on Blackdown near Haslemere for what would become his new home on the Downs, Aldworth. One of Tennyson’s first acts at Aldworth was to re-write a poem dating from 1833, his ‘Morte d’Arthur’. But that poem had ended without a shred of consolation and now the older man set to work to add some. The result was ‘The Passing of Arthur’, published with Tennyson’s Idylls of the King in 1869.  We join it tonight as King Arthur, mortally wounded after his last battle with Sir Mordred, orders the knight Sir Bedivere to throw his trusty sword Excalibur into the lake, on whose shore he is now lying, thus restoring it to the lady of the lake who had originally gifted it to him.

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      Elgar - Chanson de Matin

           Chanson de Nuit for Violin and Piano

 

Edward Thomas (1878-1917), ‘The Lofty Sky’ (10 January 1915), ‘Haymaking’ (6-8 July 1915), ‘Aspens’ (11 July 1915)

 

This year marks the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas on the battlefield at Arras in France on 9th April 1917. Thomas’s best writing dates from the years when the village of Steep, near Petersfield, was his home, and it was here that he wrote all three of tonight’s poems. Persuaded by the American poet Robert Frost during the summer of 1914 that he was actually a poet but had never believed it, Thomas finally started writing poems in December 1914, and in the two years and four months left of his life wrote 144 of them. When a plaque to Thomas and fifteen other poets of the First World War was dedicated in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner in 1985, the then Poet Laureate Ted Hughes paid tribute to him as ‘the father of us all’. He meant us poets of nature.  

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Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending for Violin and Piano

 


 

 

 

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  Grace Mo, piano

                                 Elizabeth Cooney                                                  Graham Fawcett                                                 Grace Mo

    The LitMus Trio

 

It promises to be an exciting and wonderfully varied programme of poetry and music, as the LitMus Trio commemorate 2018’s centenaries of the deaths of Claude Debussy, the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and the Irish poet Dora Sigerson Shorter, the publication of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins and D H Lawrence, a famous passage from a classic double-centenary 'local' poem by Keats, and W B Yeats' unrequited-love-inspired poetry to the legendary Maude Gonne, who was born in Tongham, near Farnham.

There will also be music by Vivaldi, Schumann, John Field, Liszt, Fauré, Ravel and Olivier Messaien, and from the Irish folk tradition, and one of the greatest poems by Walt Whitman, this year being 150 years since his work first appeared in England..

 

To see the full programme and to book in advance, here is the link

 

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To see the full programme and to book in advance,

 

write to Graham at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

 

                                                                          Exhilarating Places

New York, Utopia, St Petersburg, South & North Cornwall, Arcadia, Bruges, Avalon, Thermopylae & Roncesvalles, Xanadu

How can we know, before we ever go there, that a new place will exhilarate us? Painting, photography, fiction, travel-writing, and poetry can put us on the plane with expectations, and pictures in our minds, and of course we then match what they promise against the realities that await us. Afterwards, art and writing intensify what we found, show us sights we missed, clothing our memories of them in the aura of legend as they had our hopes, so we may wonder if they exist when we are not there. Exhilarating Places visits charismatic cultural centres of our world and others we have dreamed of and invented. They catch our eye and instantly deliver both real and imagined destinations in great art and writing.

 

 

Exhilarating Places 1

New York  

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Manhattan was a meadow once. Then came grand edifices, teeming crowds from the world’s places, skyscrapers and avenues, symphonic noise, and numbers as names. Artists and photographers have breathed it all in, and out: Hopper, O’Keeffe, de Kooning, Florine Stettheimer, W J Bennett, Childe Hassam, Walker Evans and Alfred Stieglitz; and unforgettable life-stories on the page from Dickens, Whitman, James, Fitzgerald, Auden, Cather, Wharton, Runyon and McCarthy.

with Graham Fawcett

 

“I enjoy Graham’s mixed approach to lectures. First class information, discussion, reading and listening. Very stimulating”

To book sessions on this course, please click here on

https://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/book-a-course 

 

Image: Frederick Childe Hassam, Fifth Avenue In Winter (1919)


Exhilarating Places 2

  Utopia

“A map of the world which does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at,” wrote Oscar Wilde in 1891. Utopia is gifted a geography by More, Campanella, China’s Peach Blossom Spring writers, Swift, Butler, Thoreau, Morris, Lawrence, Woolf, Wells, and is found in a landscape by Qiu Ying, Raphael, Lorrain, A. Lorenzetti, Piero, Brueghel, Capability Brown, German and Russian avant-gardes, Degas, Pissarro, Signac, Ruskin, Kandinsky, Corbusier, Fuller, Crane, Magritte and F M Brown.

with Graham Fawcett

To book, please click here on

https://www.thecoursestudies.co.uk/book-a-course 

Image: Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegoriy of Good Government (1338-39), Sala della Pace, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

 


 

 

Exhilarating Places 3

St Petersburg

 

Pushkin’s dramatic poem, ‘The Bronze Horseman’, is a key witness, flanked by Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov, the stories of Gogol and Turgenev, poems by Blok, Akhmatova and Mandelstam,

and the wordless brilliance of Alexeyev, Bakst, Brodsky, Collmann, Falconet, Franz, Nikolai Ge, Lanceray, Repin, Serov, Surikov, Vasilyev, Vasnetov, and epic metropolitan architecture, all of

them testifying to Peter the Great’s delusions of grandeur in recklessly building this city on the sea.

with Graham Fawcett

 

Image: Fyodor Alekseev, View of Palace Embankment from the Peter and Paul Fortress

 


Exhilarating Places 4

South Cornwall

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Exhilarating Places 5

North Cornwall

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Alfred Wallis’s untutored genius in a quayside hut sparked a school of painting in St Ives, its coast already vibrant with primeval energy, the myths of Arthur and Tristan, and the literary albums of Hardy and Lawrence. Here nature’s spaces were made new by Nicholson, Hepworth, Berlin, Heron, Winter, Barns-Graham, Frost, Lanyon and the Hiltons while Lawrence, Mansfield, Woolf, Barker, Clemo, WS Graham, David Wright, Heath-Stubbs and Ridler sang of dream-like landscapes.

 

with Graham Fawcett

 

Image: Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham, Island Sheds, St Ives, no 1 (1940)  Oil paint on plywood

 

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

Exhilarating Places 6

Arcadia

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The sub-title of Signac’s painting ‘The Golden Age Is Not In the Past’ seizes the idea of Arcadia as a blueprint for idyll in the present or future. Hesiod, Theocritus, Virgil, Catullus, Pausanias, Sidney, Sannazaro, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Marvell, Baudelaire, Stoppard, Whitman and Thomas crack its code in words, while art reveals it through Annibale Carracci, Poussin, Ingres, Corot, Lorrain, van Ruisdael, Böcklin, Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Chavannes, Maillol, and Thomas Cole.

with Graham Fawcett

Image: Paul Signac,  In The Time of Harmony: The Golden Age Is Not in the Past, It Is in the Future, 1893-95

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


Exhilarating Places 7

Bruges

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George Rodenbach’s powerful story Bruges-la-Morte inspired an opera and a novel made into a film often acclaimed as the greatest ever (Hitchcock’s Vertigo). It was the first work of fiction to be published with photographs, featured here alongside Lucien Levy Dhurmer’s own atmospheric illustrations, the art of Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, The Master of the Legend of St Lucy, Hugo van der Goes, Gerard David, Henri Le Sidaner, Pissarro and Bruges’s Gothic and Renaissance architectures.

with Graham Fawcett

 

Image: Fernand Khnopff, The Memory of Bruges: The Entry to the Beguinage

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


Exhilarating Places 8

Avalon

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Based on legends from the Arthurian tradition, Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, still able to transport us to the shores of this island, is the centerpiece of a literary line-up led by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Isadore of Seville, Caradoc, Gerard de Wales, Chrétien de Troye, the Mabinogion, Tennyson, William Morris, Bonwick, T H White, Steinbeck, Rackham, Atwood and Garner, and art from Burne-Jones, D G Rossetti, Maclise, Beardsley, James Archer, Flint, Wyeth and Lotte Reiniger.

with Graham Fawcett

 

Image: Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon (1881-98)

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 


 

Exhilarating Places 9

Thermopylae and Roncesvalles

The Mountains of Thermopylae

Like stage tragedy, ambush stories alert us to the doom of others in places made sacred by their death, here in Thermopylae’s pass with Herodotus, Einhard, Byron, Cavafy, Amy Clampitt, and Golding, David, Daumier, Lear, Kokoschka, d’Azeglio, Rava, Meltzoff, Rainey, Connolly and Snedeker; and with Roland and Charlemagne in the Roncesvalles defile in ‘The Song of Roland’, and David, Redon, Roger, Fouquet, Michallon, Liedet, and glorious medieval illustrations for both dramatic events.

with Graham Fawcett

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

Image: Edward Lear, The Mountains of Thermopylae


 

 

 

 

Exhilarating Places 10

Xanadu

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Marco Polo called on the Great Khan in 1275 and wrote about him. So the name of Xanadu crossed the continents and centuries and reached the ears of Samuel Purchas, Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his poem ‘Kubla Khan’, Italo Calvino, Orson Welles, Simon Armitage, and the great literary travellers; with relics from the Khan’s palace, illustrations of the court, the Catalan Atlas, and work by Cremona, Richardson, Albert Goodwin, Dugald Stewart Walker, Patten Wilson, Lang, and John Vassos.

with Graham Fawcett

To book this lecture for your local venue::

write to Graham Fawcett at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com

 

Image: Ebenezer Wake Cook, The Pleasure Dome Of Kubla Khan


Pictures Making Words

 

Do you yearn to write creatively, in whatever form? Do you already write but want new inspiration and encouragement? Pictures Making Words will present you with digital images of great artworks from many times and cultures – a stimulus to any writer. Graham Fawcett's courses and retreats at Othona have left no doubt of his finely honed instinct for what could help your particular creative endeavours.

Pictures Making Wordsis a short course for all those who love fresh stimulus for their writing – whether poetry or prose. It will present to you, through the touch-button immediacy of power-point and with carefully minimal commentary, the most inspirational painting and sculpture old and new.

There will be a wealth of images for you to take your time looking at and then see what feelings and ideas for writing the experience of them leaves you with.

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The theme creates strength and variety for you from the vastness of its subject: Planet Art, the Earth and everything in it as encountered by artists throughout the centuries. We can see what they saw from hill-top, valley-side, shore-line, doorway and windowsill, in light and darkness, across land, sea and sky: the world and human life in all its glory and diversity, rivers and lakes, mountains, birds and beasts, four seasons, four elements, men, women, children, settling and journeying, history-in-the-making, the idea of creation and the human as creator.

 

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This course is for those of you who want to write, whether you have written for years, or days, or never a word till now. You may write whatever you like in whatever way you like – poetry, prose, fiction, journal, diary, letter - and there will be no obligation whatsoever to finish writing anything or to read out what you have written.

To book this course for your own venue, write to Graham at grahamkfawcett@googlemail.com


 

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