WE BRITISH: The Poetry of a People

WE BRITISH: The Poetry of a People

ANDREW MARR    Book Number: 84909    Product format: Hardback

Radio and television documentarist and presenter Andrew Marr, here takes a look at the history of Britain through poetry. Caedmon joined a great monastery in Yorkshire as a farm labourer, and he wrote the first known poem, which begins 'Nu sculon herigean heofonrices Weard'. It was a hymn, but Caedmon had been too shy to sing until he had a vision telling him to sing about God. By early medieval times we were singing about dancing, love and spring, 'Sumer is icumen in, Llude sing cuccu!' Although Britain has never been able to rival lands such as Russia or Germany with musical tradition, it has the richest store of poetry of any major culture. Taking us through the centuries Andrew explains how poetry talks to us directly by using scores of poems to tell the story of Britain. Just as today, people were obsessed with love and sex. Ben Johnson wrote to his mistress, 'Off with that girdle, like Heaven's zone glistening, But a far fairer world encompassing. Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear?' while Devonshire clergyman Robert Herrick declared 'When as in silks my Julia goes, Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows, That liquefaction of her clothes.' Unfortunately though some poets found inspiration in the themes of child labour, 'And blooming girls at work were often seen, And twice there ages joined was scarce fifteen.' Here poems and poets through the ages recount our history through their words, whether serious, sad, happy, thoughtful or rude, in this excellent, hefty book which accompanied BBC Radio 4 as part of National Poetry Day, 2015. 652pp. Ribbon bookmark.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £7.50

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ISBN 9780008130893
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