November 2011 - Performance and Lectures at Oxford
June 2011 - The Green Knight rides into Macclesfield
Macclesfield was also celebrating the 700th anniversary of its medieval Charter, and puppets of the Green Knight and his horse, designed by Jacki, were entered into the parade.
June 2010 - The Oxford Connection: Performing and Lecturing
May 2010 - Oxford Professorship of Poetry
April 2010 - Tatton Parliamentary Candidate
March 2010 - Poetry Man not Averse to Elections
March 2010 - Press Release
March 2010 - Professor of Poetry Oxford 2010
March 2010 - Oxford Professorship of Poetry Election - again.
July 2009 - The Walled Garden, Ledbury.
This was the last in a series of press releases relating to the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford 2009.
Danson Room, Trinity College, Oxford
6th March 2008
Recording of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' and 'Sir Orfeo' was completed at The Cottage in Macclesfield. Both poems were performed in translation and the original Middle English. Each telling of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' will be about three and a half hours when the editing is completed; 'Sir Orfeo' takes about forty minutes to tell.
It is forty years since these wonderful poems took root in me.
20th February 2008
A bundle of documents from October and November 2006, intended for placement on the website but mislaid, has reappeared.
One set is of correspondence with the Editor of The Times and with its 'poetry columnist' Frieda Hughes. These may be accessed here
Another set is of letters to various politicians: Tessa Jowell MP, then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; my constituency MP George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor; Hugo Swire MP, then shadow minister for the Arts; and Paul Holmes MP, then Liberal Democrat spokesman for the Arts. Mr. Osborne kindly replied. These letters may be accessed here
Michael Gibson will complete his presentation of this wonderful 14th Century story of witchcraft, violence and seduction in the days of King Arthur, using his own translation and the original Middle English verse.
A resume of the first parts of the tale, told before Christmas, will be provided.
The show was in the Millenium Tapestry Room, and it was a full house. Pentangle biscuits were provided at the interval with other refreshments.The story was taken to the point at which Gawain would be tested by the Lady, while her husband was out hunting.....
Cheshire Poet Laureate 2008
In October Ms Nauta and I attended a presentation at County Hall, Chester, by the current Cheshire Poet Laureate, Jo Bell.
She informed prospective candidates and others what the post entailed.
At question time I asked of Ms. Bell and the County Literature Officer, Anne Sherman, how poetry was defined for the purpose of the Laureateship. I received no direct reply.
I subsequently applied for the Laureateship and named two referees as required. I had been told that interviews would take place early in December.
My application began thus:
I seek to become the next Cheshire Poet Laureate in order to, in the words of the original Constitution of The Poetry Society, ‘Advance Public education in the understanding and use of poetry.’
By ‘poetry’ I firstly mean all English poetry since the earliest written beginnings.
And by ‘poetry’ secondly I mean those literary works that have been and those that may in the future be written according to clear and objective craft principles.
(The whole application may be found here)
I subsequently received a letter from Ms.Sherman dated 8th November (see here) telling me that on this occasion I had failed.
I replied on the 9th December (see here) expressing my continued interest in the Laureateship and inviting Ms.Sherman to a performance at the Knutsford Heritage Centre on December 21st.
Watching his ps and qs?
On November 15th 2007 I will be performing in London for the Queens English Society at the kind invitation of Dr. Bernard Lamb. Dr. Lamb, an Imperial College geneticist, was recently in the news when he raised the matter of the poor standards of spelling displayed by his students.
The likely title will be
I will be sure to dot my every i and cross my every t, to avoid splitting my infinitives, and to spell the name of Dr. Lamb’s college correctly.
On the road to Middle-earth:
The Exeter Book
In August 2007, with my agent Dorli Nauta, I visited Exeter Cathedral. By kind permission of the Librarians, Peter Thomas and Michael Howarth, we were able to view the Anglo-Saxon ‘Exeter Book’ which has been at the Cathedral since 1072.
The book is one of the principle sources of the Old English Poetry of which JRR Tolkien was a researcher and teacher.
The book, in its immense secure and protective case, had been turned to folio 76b on which begins the elegy called ‘The Wanderer’ that I have translated and recorded, after considering it for 20 years.
I was then accorded the great and moving privilege of being able to recite part of the poem from the manuscript itself. It was the end of a long journey – or perhaps just a stage along the way.