sun 15/12/2019

poetry

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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CD: Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith - The Peyote Dance

Soundwalk Collective is a multi-disciplinary audio-visual collective founded by Stephan Crasneanscki, a musical psycho-geographer and field recorder, the source material of his works drawn from specific locations: in the case of The Peyote Dance, it...

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Four Quartets, Barbican Theatre review - ultimate stage poetry

The first surprise is that this hasn’t been done before. The poems that comprise TS Eliot’s Four Quartets are so embedded with references to dance that presenting them alongside choreography feels inevitable. Perhaps it took an anniversary – 75...

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Tribe//Still I Rise, Brighton Festival 2019 review - an evening of poetic movement

Maya Angelou’s iconic poem Still I Rise is a good starting point for many things in life. But it’s a particularly good beginning for a piece of contemporary dance choreography, and Victoria Fox has done a great job of bringing the poet’s words to...

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salt., Royal Court review - revisiting the Atlantic slave trade

Most of the facts about the Atlantic slave trade are well known; what is less easily understood is how history can make a person feel today. A question which invites an experimental approach in which you test out emotions on your own body. In 2016,...

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Ben Okri, Brighton Festival 2019 review - adventures in writing

If there’s one thing to learn from Ben Okri in this evening of conversation at Brighton Festival between the Famished Road writer and author Colin Grant it’s how to “upwake”.The phrase, coined in his new (11th) novel The Freedom Artist – a post-...

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Patti Smith, Roundhouse review – the priestess of punk has lost none of her power

“Don’t love me yet,” replies Patti Smith to the first of tonight’s many excitable shout-outs. “Who knows, after 20 minutes you might be gone!” An unlikely scenario, given that this show – part of the Roundhouse’s annual “In the Round” series, which...

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CD: Marianne Faithfull - Negative Capability

There are many layers of allusion that come with Marianne Faithfull’s powerful new album. The title is drawn from Keats, his formula for great poetry as opposed to instructive morality, and it’s towards a poetry of experience rather than the fixed...

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