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Hannah Sullivan

Michael Berkeley’s guest is the poet Hannah Sullivan, winner of the TS Eliot prize. With music by Strauss, Dvorak and Nina Simone.

Earlier this year, when Hannah Sullivan won the biggest prize in the poetry world, the TS Eliot Prize, the chair of the judges announced: “A star is born. Where has she come from?” Such a prestigious prize is a rare honour, as the book, Three Poems, was Hannah Sullivan’s first published collection. Up until then, she’d established a successful academic career, studying at Cambridge, teaching at Harvard and for the last seven years at New College Oxford, where she’s an Associate Professor of English.

In Private Passions, Hannah Sullivan talks to Michael Berkeley about the time in New York which inspired her prize-winning poems, and why she wanted to capture what it’s like to be alone and vulnerable in a strange city. She reads from a new poem about Grenfell Tower, which will be published next year. And she reveals a passion for Nina Simone. Other music choices include Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier”, the Dvorak Cello Concerto, the Schubert String Quintet, and a setting of a poem by Thomas Campion so perfect she wishes she’d written it: “What is love but mourning?”

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3
Produced by Elizabeth Burke

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 Aug 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Richard Strauss

    Act 3: Marie Theres' (Der Rosenkavalier)

    Singer: Christa Ludwig. Singer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Singer: Teresa Stich-Randall. Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cello Suite no.5 (Prelude)

    Performer: Edgar Meyer.
  • Amy Winehouse

    You Know I'm No Good (feat. Ghostface Killah)

  • Antonín Dvořák

    Cello Concerto in B minor (1st mvt: Allegro)

    Performer: Jacqueline du Pré. Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim.
  • Philip Rosseter

    What then is love but mourning?

    Performer: Dorothy Linell. Singer: Steven Rickards.
  • Franz Schubert

    String Quintet in C (2nd mvt: Adagio)

    Performer: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich. Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet.
  • Nina Simone

    I want a little sugar in my bowl

    Performer: Nina Simone.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Dove Descending

    Choir: New College Oxford Choir. Conductor: Edward Higginbottom.


  • Sun 18 Aug 2019 12:00

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