Don Paterson, Paul Farley, Scanner, Maddy Paxman
Ian McMillan's guests on the word cabaret are Don Paterson and Paul Farley, who ask how a poet's death affects the way we read their poems and the writing of their contemporaries.
Ian's guests on 'the cabaret of the word' this week include Don Paterson and Paul Farley. They celebrate the work of friend and fellow poet Michael Donaghy, who died a decade ago, and consider how a poet's death affects the way their poems are seen, and the impact it has on their contemporaries.
In her memoir 'The Great Below' Maddy Paxman explores her life with Michael Donaghy and the aftermath of his sudden death.
The Sound Artist Scanner has composed a new piece for this programme inspired by the idea of White Noise.
The composer and sound artist Scanner has composed a piece of music especially for The Verb on ‘White Noise’. For many people, white noise means noise that is unwanted, for Scanner, it is a tool. Scanner’s pioneering work has been presented around the world, in venues such as the Tate Britain, The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Hanoi Opera House.
Born in New York, the poet Michael Donaghy settled in London in 1985 and published three collections ‘Shibboleth’, ‘Errata’ and ‘Conjure’ (winning prizes such as the Forward and the Whitbread) before his sudden death from a brain haemorrhage in 2004. He was also an accomplished musician, playing the tin whistle, the flute and the bodhran. David Wheatley wrote of him in The Guardian: "The death of Michael Donaghy in 2004 at the age of 50 has been one of the most deeply felt losses to the poetry world in recent years. Not since Sylvia Plath almost half a century ago had an American poet living in Britain so decisively entered the bloodstream of his times.’ Michael Donaghy’s ‘Collected Poems’ is published by Picador.
The poet Paul Farley considers the challenge of writing an elegy for another writer and explores the strange and multiple poetic strategies used by W.H.Auden in ‘In Memory of W.B.Yeats’. Paul’s latest collection of poetry is ‘The Dark Film’ (Picador) - he is also the presenter The Echo Chamber on BBC Radio 4.
The poet Don Paterson met Michael Donaghy in the 1980s when they attended the same writing workshop and became his friend and his editor. In a new book ‘Smith: A Reader's Guide to the Poetry of Michael Donaghy’ (Picador,) Don presents essays on fifty of Michael’s most important poems, considering how his charisma obscured some of the complexities of his work during his life-time, and exploring his fascination with time, identity and favourite symbols such as ‘white noise’.
Michael Donaghy’s wife, Maddy Paxman has written ‘The Great Below: A Journey into Loss’ (Garnet), a book that examines the loss of Michael as husband and father as well as poet. Maddy discusses the ways in which grief can play tricks on your memory, the feelings she experienced of being ‘outside time’ and how we lack the language in our culture to deal with death.