Monday, May 18, 2009

Vote Early Vote Often!

The BBC have a poetry season on at the moment on radio and TV. The website is here. Unfortunately none of the video content of the site is available in Ireland - "Not available in your area". It's running a poll on the site -"Who is the Nation's Favourite Poet?" presumably the nation in question is the United Kingdom/Britain/Great Britain.

The shortlist of 30 poets was compiled in consultation with The Poetry Society and The Arts Council and seems to be "British" in a broad sort of way. Thus it contains both Eliot and Sylvia Plath, Yeats and Heaney. Both "Irish" poets were born in the United Kingdom of course. So "the nation's favourite poet" can't be Walt Whitman or Rainer Maria Rilke. I was able to vote a number of times in this though I think there is a limit to the number of votes allowed from each IP address. I voted for Yeats of course!

There is a misspelling on the Yeats page - "WB Yeats reads his own poem, The Lake Isle of Innesfree" though in the text further down the island is correctly spelled. In the Yeats biography there is this lovely awkward sentence which reads like it was agreed as a compromise by a committee of Anglo-Irish civil servants after lengthy discussion - "In his poem Easter, 1916 he commemorates the passing of the men he knew who died during the Easter Rising."

The National Library's Life and Works of W B Yeats online resource is well worth a visit - the BBC site has a link to it.

The BBC site also has a list of the programmes in the series. I watched a repeat of a programme on Ted Hughes last night - excellent with input by Heaney and Al Alvarez. Many of the programmes are on BBC 4, available on Sky as an additional channel but you can't record from it on the Sky box.


Andrew Philip said...

I tried to record most of Saturday night's fare and failed. Most of it, including the Hughes documentary, wasn't available on iplayer either, and Ian Hyslop's programme on the laureateship isn't downloadable. And I'm in the UK! How do they make these decisions? Still, great to be having a poetry season, and one that's not confined to BBC4. Have you been able to see any of Owen Shears's series "A Poet's Guide to Britain"?

Michael Farry said...

No I've seen none yet. One on tonight on George Mackay Brown on BBC4. hope to see it.