John Donne by Graham Fawcett Thursday 7 February 2019 7.30pm

Do go; these are very special occasions.’ Bridport Review

John Donne: life and poems

Talk with Readings by Graham Fawcett

Thursday 7 February 2019, 7.30 pm

Tickets: £12.50 or £30 with pre-talk dinner from 5.30 pm 

Please phone 01308 459511 to book now! 

‘I was royally entertained’ Annie Freud

Poet, priest, lawyer, sensualist and intellectual, John Donne died in 1631 and, although his poetry did not quite die with him, it took more than 250 years for a full-scale resurrection.

Then in 1899, that inspirational Cornishman and critic Arthur Symons, a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec and W B Yeats, sounded the first real trumpet: “Donne’s quality of passion is unique in English poetry”, he wrote. “It is a rapture in which the mind is supreme, a reasonable rapture . . . This lover loves with his whole nature”.

If that didn’t tip the nation back to loving Donne, T S Eliot’s stirring essay on The Metaphysical Poets in 1919 certainly did: “A thought to Donne was an experience”, said Eliot. “It modified his sensibility”.

Suddenly there was a bridge linking reason and passion. People could feel befriended by Donne in their life’s confusions, and Donne’s own standing has endured ever since as one of England’s greatest national poetic treasures. 

Where, like a pillow on a bed 

A pregnant bank swell’d up, to rest 

The violet’s reclining head, 

Sat we two, one another’s best;

Our hands were firmly cémented 

With a fast balm, which thence did spring; 

Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread 

Our eyes, upon one double string . . .  

(from John Donne, ‘The Extasie’)

GRAHAM FAWCETT has lectured or led workshops at literary festivals throughout Britain on reading and writing poetry. A highly entertaining lecturer, writer and educator, 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. Previous to that he wrote and presented radio programmes about literature and music on BBC Radio 3 for many years.

Graham Fawcett’s talks explore leading poets, their lives, the political and cultural environment in which they wrote and, most of all, their work. The programme is two 45 minute halves with an interval.

To complete the experience, why not enjoy a pre-lecture dinner served by the celebrated and award-winning Café Sladers. For £17.50 you can enjoy a full main course from a menu of seafood, free-range meat and vegetarian dishes. A wonderful selection of wines, desserts and cheese are available à la carte.

Please phone 01308 459511 to book your tickets now.

“We [the audience] were more than happy to stay the course, stunned and astonished in equal measure. Stunned by the breadth and depth of Fawcett’s criticism, astonished at our luck to be living miles from a university yet participating in what, to all intents and purposes, was a post-graduate lecture, presented with immaculate complexity by a master of ceremonies par-excellence.”

Elaine Beckett, Bridport Review

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