Baudelaire with Graham Fawcett and Sue Aldred

What a treat it was to hear Graham and Sue give an eye-opening account of this often-misunderstood poet of Paris, yes, but also of the sky, of lust, pleasure, anger and disgust… Canonic translations, mostly by Edna St. Vincent Millay, offered the small select and very engaged audience a glimpse of the dreamer, the lover, the iconoclast, and someone with a definite, if not frequent, twinkle in his eye. We also heard how he became fascinated by Edgar Allan Poe, so much so that he translated many of the American’s works into French, and we discussed other influences on the French poet, Shakespeare’s in particular. As an art critic in his earlier years, visual arts also had a bearing on his view of the world and he in turn influenced later poets, T S Eliot in particular.

We admired Graham and Sue’s mastery of French in both poetry and prose, which highlighted the musicality of the texts with their crescendos, chiaroscuro and dynamic undulation of sounds and moods. Wonderful.

I in particular was delighted that with his Baudelaire Graham completed for me his Seven Olympians cycle (Ovid, Chaucer, Byron, Pushkin, Dickinson and Neruda). If you’ve missed any or indeed you wish to hear any lecture again, please look at grahamfawcett.co.uk

Events

Tuesday March 5 at West Greenwich Library, 7-8.30pm

The Birth of a Book: Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety plus A Taste of 154 – readings of some of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, and modern responses to them

Local author and scholar Neville Grant will talk about the writing of his new book, Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange, 2023), about what inspired him to delve into this well-explored subject and to succeed in finding a plethora of unknown, intriguing (and some amusing) facts about the Bard, and many parallels with goings on in the 21st Century.

154 is a poetry collection published by Live Canon. Each one of 154 modern poets was asked to respond to one of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets (not counting the ones inside his plays). We shall hear some of these inspired pairings, by and with Nick Eisen, Gillie Robic, Lorraine Mariner, NJ Hynes, Rosie Johnston and Doreen Hinchliffe.

Unmissable….

Free as always, with plenty of refreshments – and food for thought!

Neville Grant, best known locally as former editor of the Westcombe News, is a professional author who has published many textbooks on language and literature used in countries around the world. His  latest book, Shakespeare in an Age  of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange 2023), written for the general reader, celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio – the collection of his plays published seven years after his death. The book looks at how a grammar school boy made it in London’s theatreland, how he survived Tudor politics, and gives an appreciation of each of his works in the order in which they were written, so one can trace his development as a writer.