Early riser Ian McMillan celebrates the Dawn Chorus. his fellow early birds include the sound artist and poet, Caroline Bergvall who presents work inspired by the sonic landscape of the early morning. Specially for The Verb, poet Geraldine Monk has written an Aubade - a poem to celebrate daybreak.
There is also work in progress from the novelist Alex Preston, who is writing a literary ornithology.
Producer: Cecile Wright.
We commissioned the poet Geraldine Monk to write us an Aubade, an ode to the dawn. Geraldine is not a morning writer, rather as an extreme owl, she tends to see dawn ‘from the other side’. Whilst researching her poem, Geraldine came across the three stages of dawn, a shape that influenced the piece. Geraldine Monk’s latest book, ‘They Who Saw the Deep’ is published by Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions.
Caroline presents work in progress from her upcoming project ‘Raga Dawn’, a multi-sensory performance of music, poetry, and song. Caroline’s piece asks the audience to closely examine the experience of waking up, of breathing and of language yet to be spoken. Caroline will perform Raga Dawn at the Estuary festival in Southend on the 18th September.
Why do birds seize the imaginations of so many writers? For Alex Preston, they perform parts of ourselves, our joys and sorrows. Alex was a birdwatcher as a child, but as he grew up he found his birdwatching took place through books. Alex is working on a literary ornithology that celebrates the place of birds in his own life as well as birds throughout literature. He reads from his chapter on the Swallow, weaving memories of his Aunt Gay with quotes from writers such as Ted Hughes, WG Sebald and Howard Nemerov.
When Wildlife sound recordist, musician and ecologist Geoff Sample records birds he thinks back to our early ancestors, asking what would they think of the birdsong they heard? How did birdsong inspire our own music? Using his own field recordings, Geoff gives us some insight in the language of blackbirds, explains the difference between bird song and bird calls, and why the Dawn Chorus is a beautiful cacophony, but not very useful for trying to identify individual birds.