Graham Fawcett lectures: Neruda and Ovid

Graham Fawcett Poetry Lectures No. 1


Acclaimed poetry lecturer, educator and radio presenter Graham Fawcett will give his latest series of poetry lectures at Sladers Yard starting with Pablo Neruda on Thursday 31 January 6pm for 6.30 – 8pm lecture (including interval) followed by supper. Tickets: £10 for lecture/ £18 lecture and supper. Phone 01308 459511 now to book.

Graham Fawcett neruda

‘Splendid…’  George Beckmann at Pablo Neruda lecture in London.

‘Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us’ Pablo Neruda

photo: Birgitta Johansson

Pablo Neruda

Such is the power of cinema that the clearest picture many of us have of Pablo Neruda’s life and work is, thanks to the 1994 film Il Postino: The Postman, that he was on Capri in 1952 living for the first time with Mathilde Urrutia, the woman who would share the last 28 years of his life, and that he understood about love.

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.

Nobel Laureate in 1971, Neruda has been hailed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as the greatest poet of the twentieth century in any language.

Graham Fawcett gives courses, seminars, tutorials, lectures, poetry lunches, and other one-day events on reading and writing poetry. He has been a tutor for The Poetry School since 1997, devising and teaching new courses on poetry past and present from around the world. He has written and presented radio programmes about literature and music on BBC Radio 3 for many years. His acclaimed Seven Olympians lecture series is on tour throughout 2013.

Over the twenty-seven centuries since the first Olympic Games, athletes have been winning the hearts of their countries and often the world with feats of physical and mental giftedness as near to miraculous as anyone can imagine. Go to Olympus and join the Olympic crowds in ancient times, however, and you would also have seen poets on hand to write works in praise of the new champions.  Seven Olympians reverses the process by staging lectures in praise of seven poets, Ovid, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lord Byron, Alexander Pushkin, Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson and Pablo Neruda, who became and have remained national and international heroes for their uniqueness of voice, intensity of wonder at the world, formidable output, and prowess on the page.

Next Lecture will be OVID on Wednesday 20th February.


Consummate showman and stand-up comic that he was, and still is, nearly 2000 years on, Ovid would have relished the fact that the English-speaking world’s short version of his name is divo, male equivalent of a diva, but only when spelled backwards.

Publius Ovidius Naso was born the year after Caesar’s assassination, was educated in Rome, and started reading his poems in public at the age of 16. His work gives us master-classes in how to write with profound and rollicking delicacy about love and sex, put on a spectacular poetic pageant of transformation myths, and sing with great pathos from direct experience of the heartache of exile.

Ted Hughes’s Tales From Ovid is one of the latest poetry books to attest to Ovid’s powerful influence on English poets and poetry especially through his Metamorphoses, while Chaucer, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare are among the earliest, Francis Meres declaring that that “the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare”.

But so often the Ovid we admire is the metrical gymnast making us gasp over and over again at the outrageous virtuosity of his mastery of form and content, the parallel bars of a poetry which fine translations reveal as speaking to our own times. So modern does he go on sounding, indeed, that the Italian writer and critic Giuseppe Pontiggia has even described him as a “contemporary of the future”.

Writer, teacher, translator and broadcaster Graham Fawcett has lectured or led workshops at:

  • the Aldeburgh Festival (Britten the Illuminator – Benjamin Britten’s settings of poetry)
  • the Edward the Confessor Millennial Festival, Islip 2005 (From Beowulf to Bayeux)
  • the British Centre for Literary Translation
  • the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick
  • the Postgraduate Interpreting and Translation Department of European Studies & Modern Languages at the University of Bath
  • the School of English in the Department of Communication and Philosophy at the      University of Cardiff
  • the Dulwich Festival
  • the Peterborough Festival
  • the Benissa campus of the University of Alicante
  • the Feltre campus of the University of Milan
  • the Guild of Psychotherapists in London
  • Middlesex University
  • Westmont College, Santa Barbara (in London and Venice)
  • the Contemporary Poets Tour
  • the Institute of Linguists in Cambridge
  • Metroland (Amersham)
  • the Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery (Bournemouth)
  • the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society (Tunbridge Wells)
  • the Children’s Bookshow
  • the Guild of Pastoral Psychology (London)
  • the Blackheath Poetry Society
  • the National Art Fund

About Sladers Yard

Sladers Yard is an art gallery and cafe in West Bay, Dorset. Our art gallery showcases contemporary British Art, Furniture and Craft whilst the licensed cafe serves fresh, locally produced homecooked food and drinks.
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