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

NIGHT WATCHED – Tuesday 19 January 2021 at 7.30 on Zoom

While still hoping to restart live (properly live) readings in the not so distant future, we still cannot plan for them, too many unknowns…

In the meantime, Night Watched will take place on January 19 on Zoom, with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal and at what it’s like to migrate through space, the inimitable voice of poet NJ Hynes and award-winning author and journalist Oliver Morton reading from his book The Moon: A History for the Future (Economist Books 2019).

Free by invitation. Email irena@in-words.co.uk to be sent a zoom link nearer the time

With thanks to Paul Kley for this fun picture (and for the poetically licensed image of West Greenwich Library’s dome with kite!)