Main content

Down off the Pedestals

Made for 4 Extra. Daljit Nagra selects Down off the Pedestals featuring the new poet laureate, Simon Armitage. From 2011.

Poet Daljit Nagra visits the BBC's radio poetry archive and selects Down off the Pedestals featuring Simon Armitage.

The nineteenth century witnessed a flourishing of dialect poets in the new industrial centres. Though they were very popular locally, they were typically sneered at by the metropolitan literary establishment, and their reputations have fared badly in the years since.

Now Simon Armitage sets out to explore the lives and works of two writers whose influence in his Pennine home is felt - Samuel Laycock and Ammon Wrigley. Armitage grew up hearing their poems recited as party pieces, and while he initially wanted to, "get past them" and forge his own reputation, he's now keen to show why they deserve more serious attention from the reading public beyond their home turf.

Along the way Armitage speaks with musicians who've helped keep the poems alive as songs, and writers such as Glyn Hughes who have long championed the works. Hughes, sadly, has died since the programme was recorded.

Producer: Geoff Bird
A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4, first broadcast in 2011.

20 days left to listen

30 minutes

Broadcasts