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Getting to Grips with the Green Knight

August 21st, 2009

Earlier in the year the BBC ran a series of programmes in its ‘Poetry Season’.  These covered an eclectic mix of poetry ranging from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to the works of T.S. Eliot and other more contemporary bards. And you didn’t need to be a keen poetry fan to enjoy the programmes!

I’d studied Sir Gawain years ago at university and the experience was pretty ‘underwhelming’.  But Simon Armitage, the narrator, really brought life to a piece of work that had been written in middle- English in the 14th century.  So much so that the following weekend found me  walking the Roaches in Staffordshire to visit Ludd’s Church where the final confrontation between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is reputed to have taken place. It was a terrific walk and the damp, church-like cave, hidden in green foliage and dripping with moss was no disappointment.

We might moan about the BBC and what it does with our money, but at its best it’s hard to beat!

And still on the subject of poetry, you hardly seem to be able to sit down to watch a drama without one of the characters muttering darkly “Do not go gently into that goodnight”, one of Dylan Thomas’s most famous poems.

His daughter, Aeronwy, died recently and her autobiography about life with her father will be published later this month.  An extract appeared in the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago and whether you’re a Thomas fan, or not, the book looks like being an interesting and eyebrow- raising read.  But would you expect anything less of a story about a  poet who could drink with the best of them and his feisty wife who thought nothing of coming to blows with her husband over his infidelities.

It’s certainly one I’ll be putting on my holiday reading list!

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