Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Kraken

Episode 2 of 4

Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis discusses the importance to her of Tennyson's poem The Kraken - about a legendary sea-monster.

Another chance to hear a series celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of poet Alfred Tennyson - 6th August 1809. Three contemporary British poets each choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.

The Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis thought she had outgrown Tennyson around the time she did her O Levels. In fact, she was slightly embarrassed by her youthful rapture for what she considered his shallow Arthurian romances. Then, living on a boat off a small Spanish town, she was unexpectedly re-introduced to Tennyson by a local swimming pool attendant, and newly discovered his hidden depths. Her chosen poem is The Kraken - a legendary sea-monster inhabiting the "ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep" of the un-chartered ocean, which, when ultimately it rises to the surface, is destined to die.

Gwyneth Lewis finds surprising poetic inspiration in this short, intense and unforgettable poem.

Reader: Simon Russell Beale.

15 minutes


The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

Download The Essay

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.