pic by Lyndon Douglas
The twenty sixth person in our series of introductions to performers taking part in International Poetry ReIncarnation at the Roundhouse in Camden on 30th May 2015 is the poet Patience Agbabi.
Shortlisted for this year’s Ted Hughes Poetry Prize, Patience Agbabi is a sought-after poet who celebrates the written and spoken word. She read English at Oxford, has an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex, and has lectured in Creative Writing in several UK universities. Her fourth collection, Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014), is an exhilarating, multicultural remix of The Canterbury Tales.
Mining the Middle-English masterwork for its performance as well as its poetry and pilgrims, her boisterous and lyrical collection gives one of Britain’s most significant works of poetry thrilling new life.
“A pilgrimage of punks, badasses, broken hearts, beat poets, silver-tongued fixers, town criers, beauties, sinners.” – Jeanette Winterson, on Telling Tales
“Agbabi is a fine poet, and her linguistic wit carries satirical fire” – Daily Telegraph
Get your tickets for the evening’s star-laden performance here: The International Poetry ReIncarnation
Adam Horovitz reflects on the impact of the International Poetry Incarnation in 1965 and looks forward to the celebratory party for it.
I have spent most of my life aware of the International Poetry Incarnation, which took place in the Royal Albert Hall in 1965, very nearly 50 years ago. My father, Michael Horovitz, helped organise it, so of course I was going to be exposed of it. Growing up, I knew some of the poets. They were often about, in our house or at events, being genial and strange and merely a part of my metaphysical furniture.
For a long time, the 1965 Incarnation was a big poetry gig in the sky that people talked about and that I accepted as just another impressive thing that fathers do. As I have grown older, however, and become more interested in poetry in my own right, it has been hitting ever more forcefully home to me what a turning point this Incarnation, this 1965 happening, was.
Poetry in Britain was somewhat in the doldrums in the 1950s, as far as it being a public art went. It tended to sit in small rooms in universities and libraries and speak to and of itself. With my father’s generation – people like Adrian Mitchell, Christopher Logue, Pete Brown – poetry picked itself up and went running around the country talking to people who didn’t expect poetry to come leaping out of hedgerows at them. It went charging up to the Edinburgh Festival and touring through towns and cities with musicians and actors and playwrights in tow. Poetry began to listen, and to sing out in different rhythms. It offered up a party where only drier forms of symposia had appeared available before. Continue reading