D.H. Lawrence poet
Talk by Graham Fawcett
Thursday 19 March 6.30pm
Tickets: £10/ £25 with buffet dinner afterwards
Phone 01308 459511 to book.
Lecturer, performer and educator Graham Fawcett will give a talk about the life and particularly the poetry of David Herbert Richards Lawrence (1885 – 1930) the novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who was the son of a barely literate Nottinghamshire coalminer.
While everyone is aware of DH Lawrence’s novels, from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Sons and Lovers and The Rainbow, Lawrence’s poetry reveals him as an exceptional nature writer whose immediacy and sensual awareness struck an entirely new note when he wrote it, pointing forward to the poetry of Ted Hughes and even Sylvia Plath who both greatly admired his work.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
Lawrence wrote almost 800 poems, most of them relatively short. His first poems, written in 1904, were among his earliest published works in The English Review. However he soon abandoned the stilted Georgian style of these early works. He spent the First World War in Cornwall writing free verse influenced by Walt Whitman and working out his own manifesto. In the introduction to New Poems (1918), he wrote, “We can get rid of the stereotyped movements and the old hackneyed associations of sound or sense. We can break down those artificial conduits and canals through which we do so love to force our utterance. We can break the stiff neck of habit […] But we cannot positively prescribe any motion, any rhythm.”
Famously, he was not afraid to confront controversial issues of the growing distance between people and nature, and its effects on their emotional health, sexuality and vitality.
‘Only the loving find love, and they never have to seek for it’
Lawrence rewrote many of his novels several times to perfect them and similarly he returned to some of his early poems when they were collected in 1928. This was in part to fictionalise them, but also to remove some of the artifice of his first works. “A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his hand over the demon’s mouth sometimes and speaks for him.” The results were unforgettable as in ‘Piano’, the early portrait, in word, picture and sound of his mother.
“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)
Many of his best-known poems are those in the collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923), including the Tortoise poems and “Snake” but he was also eminently a poet of so much more than that. D H Lawrence, Poet, will stroll through some of those great nature poems and take up the story of just how much more !
“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
The talk will be followed by a delicious buffet dinner served by Sladers Yard’s celebrated Licensed Café. The £15 buys a full main course from a choice of seafood, free-range meat or vegetarian. Desserts and cheese can be ordered from the menu.