Tag Archives: bbc radio 4

Larkin Revisited

I am currently listening to Larkin Revisited on BBC Radio 4. The BBC’s website describes the 10 part series as follows:
“Across ten programmes and ten Philip Larkin poems, Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, finds out what happens when he revisits and unpicks Larkin’s work”.

I am a fan of Larkin’s poetry and I’m enjoying listening to Armitage discuss the poet’s work.

In the latest episode, which was broadcast on Wednesday 10 August, the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage discusses Larkin’s poem Talking in Bed. As with much of Larkin’s poetry Talking in Bed offers a world weary view of love. Anyone looking for a poem about ever lasting romance, flowers and chocolates will be sadly disappointed!

In the latest programme Armitage discusses Talking in Bed with a famous group of performing poets, one of whom expresses admiration for Larkin’s work but states that the group would probably not give a platform to the poet (where he still living) due to his views on race and the working class. (Larkin in his private letters wrote disparagingly of both).

I have always been of the view that one should (so far as is possible) separate the poet from his or her work. I am, therefore not a supporter of no platforming poets or other writers. No platforming leads to an illiberal and intolerant situation in which only those who hold “acceptable” or “correct” views are allowed to perform. Furthermore it has the potential to stifle creativity.

Interestingly the advocate of no platforming admitted that where Talking in Bed to have been written by a poet other than Philip Larkin she would have no problem in allowing the poet to perform. This smacks of Alice in Wonderland logic to me.

You can listen to Larkin Revisited on the BBC’s website here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0019yy2, or on BBC Radio 4. In order to listen to previous episodes you will need to have an account with the BBC’s Iplayer.

Enoch Powell Poet

In 1968, the late John Enoch Powell, a member of Edward Heath’s Conservative Shadow Cabinet, delivered what has gone down in history as “The Rivers of Blood” speech. In it Powell argued that non-white immigration into the United Kingdom should be halted and that those immigrants already present should be encouraged to return to their countries of origin. The speech was condemned by Heath and led to Powell being dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet.

The decision of BBC Radio 4 to broadcast the speech in full at 8 PM (UK time) on the evening of 14th April, has provoked much controversy (see, for example https://www.telegraph.co.uk/radio/what-to-listen-to/bbc-radio-4-broadcast-enoch-powells-rivers-blood-speech-first/).

I in no way endorse Powell’s views on race, as can be seen from my poem “Kipling May Regret”, https://scvincent.com/2018/03/26/guest-author-kevin-morris-kipling-may-regret/. However the furore over the impending broadcast reminded me that Powell was (as well as being a politician) a poet of some distinction, http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/cheerful-thoughts-from-enoch-powell.html.

We can (and should) separate a man’s views from his literary output. Consequently, while in no way endorsing Powell’s opinions on race, one can appreciate his verse which does, to my mind have echoes of that of A. E. Housman.


A Thunderstorm In Town, by Lucy Ribchester

Earlier this evening, I listened to “A Thunderstorm In Town”, a short story by Lucy Ribchester, which was inspired by Thomas Hardy’s poem of the same name. Ribchester’s story is an interesting and, for me unexpected take on Hardy’s poem.

You can listen to the poem (and the story) by following this link http://www.bbcmundo.com/programmes/b09pjmjj

The Role Of The Literary Agent

This week “The Bottom Line”, on BBC Radio 4 examines the role of agents (literary and otherwise). The information on the BBC’s website reads as follows:

“This week the programme looks at the business of agents. What exactly do they do and are they adding value to their clients’ careers? Evan Davis discusses their role with three agents from the worlds of showbusiness, football and books. …”.

To listen to the programme please visit, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09b0wbl.