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The Poetry Exchange

Silver Award Winner for Most Original Podcast at the British Podcast Awards 2018.The Poetry Exchange shares the conversations we have with people about a poem that has been a friend to them.In each episode you will hear an individual talking about a poem that has been a friend to them, as well as the ‘gift’ recording of the poem that has been made for them, in response to their story of connection with the poem.Our podcast features conversations with people from many walks of life, as well a range of special guests.

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats - Poem as Friend to Martin

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Martin talking about the poem that has been a friend to him: ’The Lake Isle of Innisfree' by W. B. Yeats. Martin visited The Poetry Exchange at The Poetry Library at Southbank in London. We’re very grateful to The Poetry Library for hosting us. Do visit them for further inspiration! www.poetrylibrary.org.uk Martin is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Alastair Snell and Sarah Salway. 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' is read by Alastair Snell. I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee; And live alone in the bee-loud glade. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

18mins

17 Mar 2016

Rank #1

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Love by George Herbert - Poem As Friend To Andrew Scott

In this episode you will hear renowned actor Andrew Scott talking about the poem that has been a friend to him - 'Love (III)' by George Herbert. Andrew visited us Battersea, London and is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. 'Love' is read by Michael Schaeffer. Love (III) Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lacked anything. ‘A guest,’ I answered, ‘worthy to be here.’ Love said, ‘You shall be he.’ ‘I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear, I cannot look on thee.’ Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, ‘Who made the eyes but I?’ ‘Truth Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame Go where it doth deserve.’ ‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’ ‘My dear, then I will serve.’ ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat:’ So I did sit and eat.

22mins

15 Mar 2018

Rank #2

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How Surely Gravity's Law by Rainer Maria Rilke - Poem as Friend to Lisa

In this episode you will hear Lisa talking about the poem that has been a friend to her - 'How Surely Gravity's Law' by Rainer Maria Rilke. Lisa visited us at John Ryland's Library in Manchester and is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. 'How Surely Gravity's Law' is read by Fiona Bennett. How Surely Gravity's Law by Rainer Maria Rilke How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of the smallest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world. Each thing— each stone, blossom, child — is held in place. Only we, in our arrogance, push out beyond what we each belong to for some empty freedom. If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees. Instead we entangle ourselves in knots of our own making and struggle, lonely and confused. So like children, we begin again to learn from the things, because they are in God’s heart; they have never left him. This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.

22mins

15 Feb 2018

Rank #3

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O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman - Poem as Friend to Farah

In this episode, Farah talks about the poem that has been a friend to her – 'O Captain! My Captain!' by Walt Whitman. Farah visited The Poetry Exchange in London. She is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett. Fiona reads the gift reading of 'O Captain! my Captain!' Fiona also mentions 'The Brittle Sea' by Paul Henry as part of this epsiode, which is available from Seren Books: https://www.serenbooks.com/productdisplay/brittle-sea O Captain! my Captain! O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

25mins

19 Jul 2019

Rank #4

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The Guest House by Rumi - Poem as Friend to Yasmin

In this episode, Yasmin talks about the poem that has been a friend to her – ‘The Guest House' by Rumi. We’re delighted to feature ‘The Guest House’ in this episode and would like to thank the poem's Translator, Coleman Barks for granting us permission to share the poem in this way. Discover more about him and his work here: www.colemanbarks.com You can find ‘The Guest House’ in SELECTED POEMS by Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks (Penguin Classics, 2004). Reproduced by permission of Coleman Barks. Yasmin visited The Poetry Exchange at Manchester Central Library, as part of the celebrations of International Mother Languages Day in the city. Many thanks to our partners Manchester Libraries, Archives Plus, The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester UNESCO City of Literature. www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries www.archivesplus.org/about-archives/ www.manchesterwritingschool.co.uk/ www.manchestercityofliterature.com/ Yasmin is the Founder and Editor in chief of Halcyon: a creative space aimed at empowering Muslim women. Discover more here: www.halcyonmaguk.com She is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett. Fiona reads the gift reading of 'The Guest House'. The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

21mins

26 Jun 2019

Rank #5

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The force that through the green fuse drives the flower by Dylan Thomas - Poem As Friend To Angela

In this episode, Angela talks about the poem that has been a friend to her – ‘The force that through the green fuse' by Dylan Thomas.We’re delighted to feature ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ in this episode and would like to thank Weidenfeld and Nicolson for granting us permission to share the poem in this way.You can find ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ in The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: the Centenary Edition, published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, copyright holder The Dylan Thomas Trust.www.discoverdylanthomas.comAngela visited The Poetry Exchange at Manchester Central Library, as part of the celebrations of International Mother Languages Day in the city.Many thanks to our partners Manchester Libraries, Archives Plus, The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester UNESCO City of Literature. https://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries http://www.archivesplus.org/about-archives/ http://www.manchesterwritingschool.co.uk/ http://www.manchestercityofliterature.com/Angela is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett.‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower' by Dylan ThomasThe force that through the green fuse drives the flowerDrives my green age; that blasts the roots of treesIs my destroyer.And I am dumb to tell the crooked roseMy youth is bent by the same wintry fever.The force that drives the water through the rocksDrives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streamsTurns mine to wax.And I am dumb to mouth unto my veinsHow at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.The hand that whirls the water in the poolStirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing windHauls my shroud sail.And I am dumb to tell the hanging manHow of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.The lips of time leech to the fountain head;Love drips and gathers, but the fallen bloodShall calm her sores.And I am dumb to tell a weather’s windHow time has ticked a heaven round the stars.And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tombHow at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

26mins

20 Mar 2019

Rank #6

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This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin - Poem as Friend to Hannah

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Hannah talk about the poem that has been a friend to her: 'This Be The Verse' by Philip Larkin. We are delighted to feature 'This Be The Verse' in this episode and would like to thank Faber and Faber for allowing us to use it in this way. Hannah visited The Poetry Exchange at St Chad's College Chapel in Durham, during Durham Book Festival, in association with Durham University Foundation Programme. We’re very grateful to all our Durham partners for hosting us so warmly. www.durhambookfestival.com www.dur.ac.uk/foundation.programme/ www.stchads.ac.uk Hannah is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, John Prebble and Michael Shaeffer. 'This Be The Verse' is read by Michael Shaeffer. This Be The Verse By Philip Larkin They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another’s throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don’t have any kids yourself. Philip Larkin, "This Be the Verse" from Collected Poems. Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin. Reproduced by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd. Source: The Complete Poems (Faber and Faber, 2014)

25mins

14 Dec 2018

Rank #7

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Restlessness by D.H. Lawrence - Poem as Friend to Alison

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Alison talking about the poem that has been a friend to her: ’Restlessness' by D. H. Lawrence. Alison visited The Poetry Exchange at the Chapel in St Chad's College as part of Durham Book Festival in October 2015. We’re very grateful to Durham Book Festival, New Writing North and St Chad’s Chapel for hosting The Poetry Exchange. Do visit them for further inspiration! www.durhambookfestival.com www.newwritingnorth.com www.stchads.ac.uk Alison is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Lesley Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. 'Restlessness' is read by Michael Schaeffer. 'Restlessness' by D. H. Lawrence At the open door of the room I stand and look at the night, Hold my hand to catch the raindrops, that slant into sight, Arriving grey from the darkness above suddenly into the light of the room. I will escape from the hollow room, the box of light, And be out in the bewildering darkness, which is always fecund, which might Mate my hungry soul with a germ of its womb. I will go out to the night, as a man goes down to the shore To draw his net through the surf’s thin line, at the dawn before The sun warms the sea, little, lonely and sad, sifting the sobbing tide. I will sift the surf that edges the night, with my net, the four Strands of my eyes and my lips and my hands and my feet, sifting the store Of flotsam until my soul is tired or satisfied. I will catch in my eyes’ quick net The faces of all the women as they go past, Bend over them with my soul, to cherish the wet Cheeks and wet hair a moment, saying: “Is it you?” Looking earnestly under the dark umbrellas, held fast Against the wind; and if, where the lamplight blew Its rainy swill about us, she answered me With a laugh and a merry wildness that it was she Who was seeking me, and had found me at last to free Me now from the stunting bonds of my chastity, How glad I should be! Moving along in the mysterious ebb of the night Pass the men whose eyes are shut like anemones in a dark pool; Why don’t they open with vision and speak to me, what have they in sight? Why do I wander aimless among them, desirous fool? I can always linger over the huddled books on the stalls, Always gladden my amorous fingers with the touch of their leaves, Always kneel in courtship to the shelves in the doorways, where falls The shadow, always offer myself to one mistress, who always receives. But oh, it is not enough, it is all no good. There is something I want to feel in my running blood, Something I want to touch; I must hold my face to the rain, I must hold my face to the wind, and let it explain Me its life as it hurries in secret. I will trail my hands again through the drenched, cold leaves Till my hands are full of the chillness and touch of leaves, Till at length they induce me to sleep, and to forget.

19mins

15 Apr 2016

Rank #8

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Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen - Poem as Friend to Joolz

In this episode you will hear poet Joolz Sparkes talking about the poem that has been a friend to her - 'Dulce et decorum est' by Wilfred Owen. Joolz visited us in Lambeth, London and is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. Dulce et Decorum Est is read by Michael Shaeffer. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

23mins

9 Nov 2017

Rank #9

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Love by George Herbert - Poem As Friend To Jonathan

In this episode you will hear Jonathan talking about the poem that has been a friend to him - 'Love (III)' by George Herbert. Jonathan visited us at Wise Words Festival in Canterbury. For the first time, we held The Poetry Exchange in a public space, amongst the poetry books at Waterstones, Rose Lane, Canterbury. We are very grateful to both Waterstones and to Wise Words for hosting The Poetry Exchange so warmly. www.wisewordsfestival.co.uk www.waterstones.com/events/search/shop/canterbury-rose-lane Jonathan is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Victoria Field and John Prebble. Love (III) Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lacked anything. ‘A guest,’ I answered, ‘worthy to be here.’ Love said, ‘You shall be he.’ ‘I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear, I cannot look on thee.’ Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, ‘Who made the eyes but I?’ ‘Truth Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame Go where it doth deserve.’ ‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’ ‘My dear, then I will serve.’ ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat:’ So I did sit and eat.

21mins

27 Jul 2017

Rank #10

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On Children (from 'The Prophet') by Kahlil Gibran - Poem as Friend to Hafsah

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear the brilliant poet and theatre-maker Hafsah Bashir talking about the poem that has been a friend to her: ’On Children' by Kahlil Gibran. Hafsah visited The Poetry Exchange at John Rylands Library in May 2016. We’re very grateful to John Rylands Library for hosting The Poetry Exchange. Do visit them for further inspiration: www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/ Hafsah is a writer and you can follow her work here: hafsahaneelabashir.wordpress.com Hafsah is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Lesley Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. ’On Children' is read by Fiona Bennett. 'On Children' (from 'The Prophet') by Kahlil Gibran Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

21mins

21 Nov 2016

Rank #11

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Seachange by Kate Genevieve - Poem as Friend to Prasanna

In this episode, Prasanna talks about the poem that has been a friend to him – 'Seachange' by Kate Genevieve. ​ Thank you to Kate Genevieve for giving us permission to share her poem. Find out more about Kate and her work here: ​ Website: www.kategenevieve.com Twitter: @kategenevieve Prasanna visited The Poetry Exchange in London. He is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett. ​ Michael reads the gift reading of 'Seachange'. Seachange For LP Perhaps we are riding the moon’s path Along the sea edge Where things are less clear And more alive? My heart as full as the sea Follows the shore line with certainty. For here is a path drawn by desire. A route touched by your darkness, And mine. Moon-struck. Lit up by her generosity, Touched by the light of strangers Together with the old smile of wrinkled mountains And all the living beings multiplying. Something special grows in the emptiness - Not innocence returned - But wholeness, Gold-seamed. this night This Day On which so many doors fall open. Let go! The ocean ever rushes in to fill space revealed With unforced irrepressible energy. We can no more control a life's story Than we can command the animals Or hold back the tides Or ordain the fated meetings of the world. The door only opens at the right time. Instead, receive the gifts of sea-change: Take the moon-lit path along the shore And meet what's fresh returning. At one with Earth's desires Awake to everything that's growing. The mountain smiles. She knows It is more than time alone Heals shattered pieces: It is the gift of other beings. For suffering dissolves into the fullness of night, With the memory that the dark bright night Shines with love. May all have eyes to see, ears to hear, This night - As full as the sea - Beyond sense and naming.

26mins

18 Dec 2019

Rank #12

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The moth by Miroslav Holub - Poem as Friend to Claudia

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Claudia talking about the poem that has been a friend to her: ’The moth' by Miroslav Holub. We are delighted to feature 'The moth' in this episode and would like to thank Bloodaxe Books for granting us permission to use the poem in this way. Do visit them for further inspiration! www.bloodaxebooks.com And if you would like to find out more about Miroslav Holub and hear him reading his own work in Czech, please visit: www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/collection_audio/audio_submenu/H/0 Claudia visited The Poetry Exchange at Greyfriar's Chapel in Canterbury, as part of Wise Words Festival in September 2014. We’re very grateful to Wise Words for hosting The Poetry Exchange. Thanks also to Spread The Word for their continued support of the project. www.wisewordsfestival.co.uk www.spreadtheword.org.uk Claudia is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Lesley Bennett and Michael Shaeffer. 'The moth' is read by Michael Shaeffer. 'The moth' by Miroslav Holub The moth, having left its pupa in the galaxy of flower grains and pots of rancid dripping, the moth discovers in this topical darkness that it’s a kind of butterfly but it can’t believe it, it can’t believe it, it can’t believe that it’s a tiny, flying, relatively free moth and it wants to go back, but there’s no way. Freedom makes the moth tremble for ever. That is, Twenty-two hours. Miroslav Holub, Poems Before & After: Collected English Translations. Trans. Dana Hasova and David Young (Bloodaxe Books, 2006) www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/poems-before-after-848 'Adaptation' by Fiona Lesley Bennett. (from The Poetry Exchange conversation with Claudia Orduz about the poem that has been a friend to her; The Moth by Miroslav Holub.) Czechoslovakia 1976 A man is shuttered away in a laboratory he stares down the lens of a microscope into the peppercorn eyes of a moth. At night words fall through him like particles that cluster and mutate in spiralling patterns Nemuze uverit, nemuze uverit, nemuze uverit. Every twenty-two hours the moth hangs in its pupa waiting for the blood to fall and for the wind and the currents. Columbia 2011 A woman is kept in a jar, the jar is kept in darkness, the darkness is blacker than her eyes. Inside herself she dreams she is a girl running barefoot with a net in the garden. creelo, creelo, creelo Somewhere between thought and dream, between decades and hemispheres and species the edge of belief begins like a wing that trembles and then lifts.

22mins

19 Feb 2016

Rank #13

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The Negro Speaks Of Rivers by Langston Hughes - Poem as Friend to Roy

Welcome to The Poetry Exchange. We have conversations with individuals about a poem that has been a friend to them. In exchange we make them a gift: a unique recording of their chosen poem, inspired by the conversation and their thoughts and feelings about the poem. The Poetry Exchange takes place in a range of venues and settings, featuring public visitors and special guests. In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Roy Mcfarlane about the poem that has been a friend to him: 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' by Langston Hughes. We are delighted to feature 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' in this episode and would like to thank Harold Ober Associates for allowing us to use it in this way. You can read the poem in 'Vintage Hughes' published by Penguin Random House: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/84100/vintage-hughes-by-langston-hughes/9781400034024/ Roy visited The Poetry Exchange at the Festival in a Factory at the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We’re very grateful to the Festival in a Factory and Emma Bridgewater for hosting us so warmly. https://festivalinafactory.co.uk https://www.emmabridgewater.co.uk Roy McFarlane is a poet and his latest collection, 'The Healing Next Time' is now available from Nine Arches Press: http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20healing%20next%20time.html You can find out more about Roy and his work at his website: http://www.roymcfarlane.com Roy is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and Al Snell. 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' is read by Fiona Bennett. The Negro Speaks of Rivers By Langston Hughes I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes.

21mins

12 Oct 2018

Rank #14

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Special Episode - Latitude 2019 with Nadine Shah and Hannah Jane Walker

In this special feature length episode, recorded live at Latitude Festival, Nadine Shah and Hannah Jane Walker talk about the poems that have been friends to them. Nadine and Hannah are in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett. You can find out more about the brilliant work Nadine and Hannah create here: www.nadineshah.co.uk www.hannahjanewalker.co.uk This is our first live show episode and features work by Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Alexander, Salena Godden and WB Yeats. Hannah reads the gift reading of 'Days' by Philip Larkin. Nadine reads the gift reading of 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' by Salena Godden. Discover more about Salena's work here: www.salenagodden.co.uk and find her collection, 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' here: www.roughtrade.com/gb/salena-godde…or-lightweights You can also find 'Ars Poetica #100: I Believe' by Elizabeth Alexander in her 'American Sublime' collection: www.graywolfpress.org/books/american-sublimeand discover more about her work here: www.poets.org/poet/elizabeth-alexander We had a brilliant time as part of The Listening Post at Latitude Festival 2019 and are delighted to be sharing it with you, through The Poetry Exchange Podcast. Discover more about Latitude and dates for next year's festival here: www.latitudefestival.com Days by Philip Larkin What are days for? Days are where we live. They come, they wake us Time and time over. They are to be happy in: Where can we live but days? Ah, solving that question Brings the priest and the doctor In their long coats Running over the fields. Pessimism is for Lightweights By Salena Godden Think of those that marched this road before And those that will march here in years to come The road in shadow and the road in the sun The road before us and the road all done History is watching us and what will we become This road is all flags and milestones Immigrant blood and sweat and tears Build this city, built this country Made this road last all these years This road is made of protest And those not permitted to vote And those that are still fighting to speak With a boot stamping on their throat There is power and strength in optimism To have faith and to stay true to you Because if you can look in the mirror And have belief and promise you Will share wonder in living things Beauty, dreams, books and art Love your neighbour and be kind And have an open heart Then you're already winning at living You speak up, you show up and stand tall It's silence that is complicit It's apathy that hurts us all Pessimism is for lightweights There is no straight white line It's the bumps and curves and obstacles That make this time yours and mine Pessimism is for lightweights This road was never easy and straight And living is all about living alive and lively And love will conquer hate.

52mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #15

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The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious by Paul Durcan - Poem as Friend to John

In this episode, John talks about the poem that has been a friend to him – 'The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious' by Paul Durcan.  ​ John visited The Poetry Exchange in London. He is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Michael Shaeffer and Fiona Bennett. ​ John is a highly acclaimed film, TV and Theatre Director. Find out more about John and his work here: ​ www.casarotto.co.uk/clients/john-crowley Fiona reads the gift reading of 'The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious'. The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious ​by Paul Durcan There – but for the clutch of luck – go I.  At daybreak – in the arctic fog of a February daybreak – Shoulder-length helmets in the watchtowers of the concentration camp  Caught me out in the intersecting arcs of the swirling searchlights.  There were at least a zillion of us caught out there – Like ladybirds under a boulder – But under the microscope each of us was unique,  Unique and we broke for cover, crazily breasting  The barbed wire and some of us made it  To the forest edge, but many of us did not  Make it, although their unborn children did – Such as you whom the camp commandant branded  Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Jesus, break his fall:  There – but for the clutch of luck – go we all. ​

25mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #16

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De Ceder / The Cedar by Han G. Hoekstra - Poem as Friend to Alida

In this episode, Alida talks about the poem that has been a friend to her – 'De Ceder' / 'The Cedar' by Han G. Hoekstra. You will hear the poem in Dutch and in an English translation by Alida herself. Alida visited The Poetry Exchange at London Podcast Festival 2019 at Kings Place. Our thanks to both for hosting us so warmly and attentively. www.kingsplace.co.uk Our thanks also to Meulenhoff for granting us permission to share the poem with you. You can find 'De Ceder' in the original Dutch along with many other works by Han G. Hoekstra at dbnl.org - digitale bibliotheek vor de Nederlandse letteren: www.dbnl.org/tekst/hoek017pano01_01/hoek017pano01_01_0002.php Dr. Alida Gersie is a widely published author and world authority on therapeutic story-work, the arts therapies, the uses of the arts in health and popular education. She designed and directed Postgraduate Arts Therapies training programmes at universities in the UK and abroad. Since the 1970’s she has advised leading thinkers on the uses of story to encourage pro-environmental policy and behavioural change. Alida is editor of and contributor to Storytelling for a Greener world: Environment, Community and Story-Based Learning. Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2014. www.hawthornpress.com/authors/alida-gersie/ Alida is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Andrea Witzke-Slot and Al Snell. Al reads the gift reading of 'The Cedar'. De Ceder by Han G. Hoekstra Ik heb een ceder in mijn tuin geplant. gij kunt hem zien, gij schijnt het niet te willen. Een binnenplaats, meesmuilt ge, sintels, schillen. en schimmel die een blinde muur aanrandt, er is geen boom, alleen een grauwe wand. Hij is er, zeg ik, en mijn stem gaat trillen, Ik heb een ceder in mijn tuin geplant, Gij kunt hem zien, gij schijnt het niet te willen, Ik wijs naar buiten, waar zijn ranke, prille stam in het herfstlicht staat, onaangerand, niet te benaderen voor noodlots grillen. geen macht ter wereld kan het droombeeld drillen. Ik heb been ceder in mijn tuin geplant. From 'Panopticum', Meulenhoff, 1946. The Cedar by Han G. Hoekstra translated by Alida Gersie I have planted a cedar in my garden’s soil. you too could see it, but it seems you don’t want to. A yard, you snigger, slags and rot, There’s mould that festers on the blinding wall. There is no tree, a drab divider, nothing more. It is there, I say, and my voice now trembles, You too could see it, but it seems you don’t want to. I point outside, where its slender, tender trunk stands in radiant autumn’s glow, untouched, and way beyond doom’s fickle tricks. No worldly force can erode this vision. I have planted a cedar in my garden’s soil.

25mins

18 Oct 2019

Rank #17

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Return By C. P. Cavafy - Poem As Friend To John

In this episode you will hear John talking about the poem that has been a friend to him - 'Return' by C. P. Cavafy - translated by Rae Dalven. John is our first 'Long Distance' visitor to The Poetry Exchange via Skype! Joining us from Athens, John is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and John Prebble, who were together in London for the conversation. 'Return' is read by John Prebble. Return Return often and take me, beloved sensation, return and take me - when the memory of the body awakens, and old desire runs again through the blood; when the lips and the skin remember, and the hands feel as if they touch again. Return often and take me at night, when the lips and the skin remember... From The Complete Poems of C.P. Cavafy, translated by Rae Dalven, with an introduction by W.H. Auden, New York 1961. The reading of the Greek poem you can hear in this episode is from: C.P. Cavafy, The Collected Poems, OUP 2007 (includes a parallel Greek/English text).

20mins

18 Jan 2018

Rank #18

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The Lake Isle Of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats - Poem As Friend To Tom

In this episode you will hear Tom talking about the poem that has been a friend to him - 'The Lake Isle Of Innisfree' by W. B. Yeats. Tom visited us at HOME in Manchester. We are very grateful to HOME for hosting The Poetry Exchange - you can discover more about them and their work here: www.homemcr.org Tom is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and Alastair Snell. 'The Lake Isle Of Innisfree' is read by Fiona Bennett. The Lake Isle Of Innisfree I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

21mins

13 Jul 2018

Rank #19

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How The World Gets Bigger by Alyson Hallett - Poem as Friend to Roxy

In this episode you will hear writer and actor Roxy Dunn talking about the poem that has been a friend to her - 'How The World Gets Bigger' by Alyson Hallett. Roxy visited us at Pushkin House in London. We are very grateful to Pushkin House for hosting The Poetry Exchange so warmly. Thank you also to poet, Alyson Hallett for kindly granting permission for us to use this poem. www.pushkinhouse.org Alyson Hallett's website: www.thestonelibrary.com 'How The World Gets Bigger' is no longer in print but Alyson still holds a few copies. If you would like to buy a copy, you can contact her directly via The Stone Library website above. Roxy is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer. 'How The World Gets Bigger' is read by Fiona Bennett How The World Gets Bigger by Alyson Hallett This morning there's a note pinned to your door explaining why you've had to rush out and cancel our meeting. I turn back into the rain, watch it falling on tarmac, rivering in gutters, little bullets exploding. I unbutton my jacket, lift my face to the sky. This is better than crying; nowehere to be and nothing to do. I walk the christened pavement, cherry tree hung like a chandelier, the corner at the end of the road suddenly appealing, the way it turns without revealing what lies beyond. From The Stone Library (Peterloo Poets, 2007) www.thestonelibrary.com

23mins

15 Jun 2018

Rank #20