Series in which contemporary British poets choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.


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01Vicki Feaver On Ulysses2009080320100802

Vicki Feaver talks about Tennyson's long poem Ulysses, about the aged hero of Greek myth, driven to travel onwards even after reaching his home on Ithaca and his long-suffering wife Penelope.
Tennyson was only 24 when he wrote it, soon after hearing of the death of his dear friend Arthur Hallam.
Feaver believes the poem is about far more than physical travel or coping with grief.
For her, Ulysses is about the need of the artist always to move forward - not, in her case, to succumb to benign pressure to tend her garden or be a good grandmother but to pursue her art and to follow Tennyson's rallying cry 'to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield'.
Reader: Simon Russell Beale.
Poet Vicki Feaver explains the importance of Tennyson's long poem Ulysses to her.
02The Kraken2009080520100803Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis discusses Tennyson's poem The Kraken - a legendary sea-monster inhabiting the 'ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep' of the unchartered ocean, which, when ultimately it rises to the surface, is destined to die.
She finds surprising poetic inspiration in this short, intense and unforgettable work.
Lewis thought she had outgrown Tennyson around the time she did her O-levels.
In fact, she was slightly embarrassed by her youthful rapture for what she considered his shallow Arthurian romances.
Then, living on a boat off a small Spanish town, she was unexpectedly re-introduced to the poet by a local swimming pool attendant.
Reader: Simon Russell Beale.
Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis discusses the importance to her of Tennyson's poem The Kraken.
Another chance to hear a series celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of poet Alfred Tennyson - 6th August 1809.
Three contemporary British poets each choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.
The Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis thought she had outgrown Tennyson around the time she did her O Levels.
Then, living on a boat off a small Spanish town, she was unexpectedly re-introduced to Tennyson by a local swimming pool attendant, and newly discovered his hidden depths.
Her chosen poem is The Kraken - a legendary sea-monster inhabiting the "ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep" of the un-chartered ocean, which, when ultimately it rises to the surface, is destined to die.
Gwyneth Lewis finds surprising poetic inspiration in this short, intense and unforgettable poem.
03Come Into The Garden, Maud20090806 Brian Patten traces his complex relationship with the poetry of Tennyson, discussing the poem Come into the Garden, Maud.
He recalls a mocking hostility to Tennyson during his schooldays in bomb-damaged Liverpool and an early attempt at parody with a poem called Come into the City, Maud.
He then describes his later, thrilling discovery of one of Tennyson's little-known sources and his deep respect for the poet today.
Weaving together readings from Maud and Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal with his own poems inspired by Tennyson, Patten pays an honest and witty homage to Tennyson, giving an insider's guide to poetic inspiration across continents and centuries.
Reader: Simon Russell Beale.
Brian Patten discusses the importance to him of Tennyson's poem Come into the Garden, Maud
04 LASTTears, Idle Tears2009080720100805Kit Wright is often thought of as a poet for children or of light verse, but in a celebration of one of Tennyson's most poignant lyric poems, Tears, Idle Tears, he reflects in a moving and scholarly way on the poet's ability to capture the very essence of the human condition.
In defending the poem, he challenges the common notion that Tennyson's gifts were no more than a supremely facile mastery of the English language
Reader: Simon Russell Beale
Kit Wright on the importance to him of Tennyson's lyric poem Tears, Idle Tears.

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