Cover image of The Poetry Exchange
(6)
Arts
Books

The Poetry Exchange

Updated 8 days ago

Arts
Books
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

iTunes Ratings

6 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
0
0
0
0

Simply the Best

By Listening Mind - May 29 2020
Read more
I can’t believe I didn’t already review this podcast! I’ve been listening since the earliest episode. This is my favorite podcast for so many reasons. I love the poetry and have learned to appreciate poems I didn’t pay attention to before. I’ve also heard others speak about some of my favorite, most loved poems. Each conversation gets to the heart of the poem but also to the foundations of human experience. These conversations reveal how words and ideas build connections and enrich our lives. These conversations reveal the depths of a human life - not just the poet’s life but real, everyday people. I am always uplifted, left in deep thought, or stunned by the power of the episode. I save my listening for those times when I need something to give me hope or solace, or a laugh. This podcast is incredible. It’s like magic. I love it!

iTunes Ratings

6 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
0
0
0
0

Simply the Best

By Listening Mind - May 29 2020
Read more
I can’t believe I didn’t already review this podcast! I’ve been listening since the earliest episode. This is my favorite podcast for so many reasons. I love the poetry and have learned to appreciate poems I didn’t pay attention to before. I’ve also heard others speak about some of my favorite, most loved poems. Each conversation gets to the heart of the poem but also to the foundations of human experience. These conversations reveal how words and ideas build connections and enrich our lives. These conversations reveal the depths of a human life - not just the poet’s life but real, everyday people. I am always uplifted, left in deep thought, or stunned by the power of the episode. I save my listening for those times when I need something to give me hope or solace, or a laugh. This podcast is incredible. It’s like magic. I love it!
Cover image of The Poetry Exchange

The Poetry Exchange

Latest release on Sep 21, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats - Poem as Friend to Martin

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Mar 17 2016

18mins

Play

Rank #2: Love by George Herbert - Poem As Friend To Andrew Scott

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Mar 15 2018

22mins

Play

Rank #3: How Surely Gravity's Law by Rainer Maria Rilke - Poem as Friend to Lisa

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Feb 15 2018

22mins

Play

Rank #4: O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman - Poem as Friend to Farah

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Jul 19 2019

25mins

Play

Rank #5: The Guest House by Rumi - Poem as Friend to Yasmin

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Jun 26 2019

21mins

Play

Rank #6: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower by Dylan Thomas - Poem As Friend To Angela

Podcast cover
Read more
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.com

Angela 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 Thomas

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How 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 blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Mar 20 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #7: This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin - Poem as Friend to Hannah

Podcast cover
Read more

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)

Dec 14 2018

25mins

Play

Rank #8: Restlessness by D.H. Lawrence - Poem as Friend to Alison

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Apr 15 2016

19mins

Play

Rank #9: Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen - Poem as Friend to Joolz

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Nov 09 2017

23mins

Play

Rank #10: Seachange by Kate Genevieve - Poem as Friend to Prasanna

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Dec 18 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #11: Love by George Herbert - Poem As Friend To Jonathan

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Jul 27 2017

21mins

Play

Rank #12: On Children (from 'The Prophet') by Kahlil Gibran - Poem as Friend to Hafsah

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Nov 21 2016

21mins

Play

Rank #13: The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious by Paul Durcan - Poem as Friend to John

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Nov 27 2019

25mins

Play

Rank #14: De Ceder / The Cedar by Han G. Hoekstra - Poem as Friend to Alida

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Oct 18 2019

25mins

Play

Rank #15: Special Episode - Latitude 2019 with Nadine Shah and Hannah Jane Walker

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Aug 20 2019

52mins

Play

Rank #16: The moth by Miroslav Holub - Poem as Friend to Claudia

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Feb 19 2016

22mins

Play

Rank #17: The Negro Speaks Of Rivers by Langston Hughes - Poem as Friend to Roy

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Oct 12 2018

21mins

Play

Rank #18: Return By C. P. Cavafy - Poem As Friend To John

Podcast cover
Read more

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).

Jan 18 2018

20mins

Play

Rank #19: The Lake Isle Of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats - Poem As Friend To Tom

Podcast cover
Read more

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.

Jul 13 2018

21mins

Play

Rank #20: The Fury Of Overshoes by Anne Sexton - Poem as Friend to Laura

Podcast cover
Read more

In this episode, Laura talks about the poem that has been a friend to her – 'The Fury of Overshoes' by Anne Sexton.

Our thanks to the Anne Sexton Estate and Sterling Lord Literistic Agency for allowing us to share the poem with you in this way.

www.sll.com

Laura Furner is an arts producer living and working in London. A commended poet for the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award in 2012, Laura went on to edit and publish work in the University of Leeds' creative arts magazine The Scribe, and has since worked with The Poetry Society and Poet in the City. She is currently producing a new spoken word show for VAULT Festival 2020. You can follow Laura on twitter @laurahjayne

Laura visited The Poetry Exchange at London Podcast Festival at Kings Place in 2019. www.kingsplace.co.uk

Laura is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Andrea Witzke-Slot and Al Snell. Andrea reads the gift reading of 'The Fury of Overshoes.'

The Fury Of Overshoes

They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn't
buckle your own
overshoe
or tie your own
overshoe
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
tricycle?
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn't swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn't
yours.
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
at night.
They made you give up
your nightlight
and your teddy
and your thumb.
Oh overshoes,
don't you
remember me,
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
Oh thumb,
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
all day,
each day
and thinking
nothing of it?

Reproduced by permission of SLL/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. Copyright Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. 1981.

Jan 24 2020

26mins

Play