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Play now 25 mins

Episode 1

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 18 March 2011

If you thought poetry was irrelevant or worse still, dead, this programme will show you the reverse is true.

Leading poets contemplate the role of poetry in their countries - Russia and South Africa.

Each sets out to discover how the poetry of their country interprets nationhood, nationalism and patriotism.

In part one we meet internationally renowned poet, Irina Ratushinskaya who was incarcerated for 12 years in a labour camp for writing "anti-Soviet" verse.

Part two features South African, Lebo Mashile, a young, forward-looking female poet.

She writes performance poetry, which means her work reaches an audience regardless of whether they can read or afford to buy the books.

Both Irina and Lebo interview fellow poets and unravel the nuts and bolts of the craft - revealing tradition, history and future hopes in the process.



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