wed 08/04/2020

poetry

I and You, Hampstead Theatre review - now streaming online, this YA play is oddly pertinent

The way that theatres and other arts institutions have leapt into action over the past week, providing a wealth of material online and new ways to connect with audiences, has been truly inspirational. Yesterday, the Hampstead Theatre re-released on...

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Brendan Cleary, Great Eastern, Brighton review – last orders

St. Patrick’s Day, and socialising itself, has been all but cancelled. But turn the rickety door-handle of a bohemian pub near Brighton station, and a poignant scene is unfolding. The Irish poet Brendan Cleary’s reading has been officially called...

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Kate Tempest, BBC 6 Music Festival review - more personal than political

For those wondering if performance poet Kate Tempest would be upstaged or introduced by either pandemic panic or International Women’s Day – know that a) she’s fearless and b) she practices equality always. As such, there’s no pre-amble, other than...

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Imagining Ireland, Barbican review - raising women's voices

Recent politics surround the EU and nationhood, fantasies of Irish Sea bridges and trading borders more porous than limestone have revived the granular rub between Eire and Britain, and the Celtic Tiger cool of the Nineties is a history module these...

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Brighton Festival 2020 launches with Guest Director Lemn Sissay

This morning the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England launched and announced its programme of events. With Guest Director, British and Ethiopian poet-playwright-broadcaster Lemn Sissay, MBE, at the helm, Brighton Festival 2020 is...

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Ilya Kaminsky: Deaf Republic - silence as 'a soul's noise'

"The deaf don’t believe in silence. Silence is the invention of the hearing." This is one of two author’s "Notes" to Ilya Kaminsky’s latest collection, Deaf Republic, which was nominated for this year’s T. S. Eliot Prize. As an afterword, the note...

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Albums of the Year 2019: Josienne Clarke – In All Weather

As one half of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winning duo with Ben Walker, Josienne Clarke released four superb albums, including 2014’s Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour and their finale, 2018’s Seedlings All. There’s an absolute clarity to her voice, as...

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Tynan, Clayton, Murray, Aurora Orchestra, Dean, Wigmore Hall review - Britten lives!

Benjamin Britten died on 4 December 1976. Last night’s Wigmore Hall concert, on the 43rd anniversary of his passing, proved that his real legacy lies not in inert acts of homage but a living engagement both with his work, and the unruly energies...

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Al Alvarez: 'If I drop dead this minute, I’ve had a ter­rific time'

We like to think of ourselves as a nation of eccentrics, but some take their patriotic duties more seriously than others. Al Alvarez – poet, critic, poker player, rock climber, old-school literary mensch, who has died at the age of 90 – took his...

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Ocean Vuong: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous review – the new avant-garde

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is written as a letter to his mother, who cannot read. She cannot read because, when she was five, her schoolhouse was burnt to the ground in an American napalm raid. “Our mother tongue, then,” writes Vuong, is the “mark of...

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CD: Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons

Here’s a strange thing: sit in a quiet room reading through the poems that make up Kate Tempest’s third album and her swirling collage of words drags you in. It’s an opaque concept work, mingling themes of a broken Britain, teetering on the brink of...

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Peter Perrett, Concorde 2, Brighton review - it’s a family affair for the former Only One

It’s been a couple of years since Peter Perrett, the former frontman and creative force behind the much loved but commercially under-performing Only Ones decided that he’d had enough of being a mere legend and got back into the musical ring. He had...

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