Tuesday, 30 June 2009

TV Matters and Culture Coming Out of the Closet

A blog post over at The Kenyon Review on the power of television in bringing literature to the people, picking up on the sales hike for poets featured on the Beeb's recent poetry season. Myself, I've been fairly astonished at the number of friends and acquaintances, unlikely suspects many, who've tuned into, and actually (whisper it, now) enjoyed, the season. Could it be that Britain is secretly home to many thousands of people whose interests actually extend beyond Kerry Katona's lipo?

The season was, on the whole, stylishly executed. A few misfires, sure – the Donne programme had rather a little too much of Fiona Shaw, and an Eliot documentary, sanitised as it was, managed to make one of the most self-contradictory and complex figures in twentieth-century literature seem quite squarely dull – but some expert negotiation of the difficulties of balancing accessibility with intelligence elsewhere.

I hope the season's success will prompt the BBC to start regularly developing more of the programming that once marked them out as a gold standard of arts broadcasting in the world, rather than be simply regarded as an exception, a curio.

Let's have contemporary writers and other artists talking about the tradition. Let's have contemporary writers and other artists talking about the now, while we're at it. Can someone rescue Monitor from the archives and press play? Can someone develop a Monitor fit for the twenty-first century?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wales Book of the Year 2009: Winner

Many congratulations to Deborah Kay Davies on winning the Wales Book of the Year 2009 for her debut collection of short stories Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful published by Parthian. The collection is truly remarkable and a deserved winner.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

A Poet's Guide to Britain: Lynette Roberts

The fifth in a series of six documentaries presented by Owen Sheers explores the life and work of Lynette Roberts. If you missed the programme, you can catch up. Click here to view again on iplayer.