Michael Symmons Roberts takes a trip to the moon, discovering why it has been such a well-used image in poetry and music over the centuries and wonders why we can’t leave it alone.
Michael Symmons Roberts takes a trip to the moon and explores its enduring poetic appeal.
Michael was only six years old when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, but has grown up with the common belief that this “giant leap” seemed to usher in an age of expanded horizons and also a fascination with its constant use (or overuse?) as an image in poetry and music over the centuries.
Why we can’t leave it alone?
He suggests an answer: “it’s not just a remote lozenge in the sky. It’s long been a part of our mythology of the moon that it has a bearing on our lives here, that what it does affects what we do.”
Using the poetry of Larkin, Frost and Alice Oswald and the music of Schubert, Chopin and Frank Sinatra, Michael encourages us not to see the moon as a tired old cliché but rather to reclaim it.
“Whenever someone produces, as they do every now and again, lists of words or images that poets shouldn’t use any more, because they are too cliched, or too tired, then perhaps the best response is not to impose a moratorium, but to remake those symbols or images, to reclaim them in new contexts and to look at them in different lights.”
Presenter: Michael Symmons Roberts
Producer: Michael Wakelin
A TBI production for BBC Radio 4