Tuesday, 22 March 2011

radio selecter

Having noticed a tendency to post sporadically with random radio links, I thought I'd pick up my Radio (mainly 4) highlights from the preceding week.

This week selection focuses specifically on poetry. Radio 4 has long been the home of intelligent speech but there appears to have been a resurgence of poetry on the station of late, culminating in some brilliant programmes last week.

Garden designers and landscape architects should be aware of Ian Hamilton Finlay and that he has something to do with concrete poetry. This great programme- Make Perhaps This Out Sense Can You- profiles the life and work of Bob Cobbing, founder of the movement, including some great readings.

The Company of Poets revealed that Angela Carter wrote a great deal of poetry, though it was never published. Contributions Salman Rushdie and Andrew Motion contribute to an intriguing insight the writer's character, as well as recognising how much of her poetry explored many of the themes (the contemporary gothic, feminism) that characterised her acclaimed prose.

Poetry doesn't have quite the same reputation in the UK that it enjoys in the rest of the world: in some countries, being a poet can lead to incarceration. BBC World Service programme How My Country Speaks addressed this in its profile file of Irina Ratushinskaya. Ratushinskaya is a Russian poet imprisoned in the 1980s for writing poetry the authorities deemed anti-soviet. Her poems here are read in translation, but the lilt of her beautiful Russian accent provides an enchanting backdrop to her ephemeral verse.

Finally, Something Understood explored the theme of Serendipity through music, poetry and prose. This programme is commissioned by the BBC as part of its religious output, but the format of the show covers all faiths (and those of none) and is genuinely the perfect way to conclude a weekend bent over the drawing board.

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

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