Talk by Graham Fawcett
Thursday 12 June 6.30pm
Tickets: £10 or £25 with buffet supper afterwards.
‘I loved Robert Frost for his farmer’s accuracy and his wily down-to-earthness; and Chaucer too for much the same reasons.’ Seamus Heaney in his 1995 Nobel lecture.
Robert Frost is an extraordinary poet of nature and the land but he also knows ‘the door into the dark’. He started writing poetry four years after Emily Dickinson’s death. He was still going strong in 1961, reading a poem at President Kennedy’s inauguration. Frost revealed early on a compelling originality of voice which uses an apparently effortless double gift of metrical rhythms and sudden drama (as does Dickinson) to celebrate nature and country life with a memorably direct simplicity and pathos.
‘No psychology’, Frost told his Paris Review interviewer in 1960, ‘will ever tell you who needs a whip and who needs a spur to win races . . . I look at a poem as a performance. I look on the poet as a man of prowess, just like an athlete. He’s a performer. And the things you can do in a poem are very various. You speak of figures, tones of voice varying all the time. I’m always interested, you know, when I have three or four stanzas, in the way I lay the sentences in them. I’d hate to have the sentences all lie the same in the stanzas. Every poem is like that: some sort of achievement in performance.’
On his death, Kennedy hailed Frost for ‘a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding’. Not only Americans..
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 lectures are poetry performances including reading and background and life history.
Graham Fawcett lectures at Sladers Yard DATES FOR THE DIARY:
Dylan Thomas Wednesday 3 September.