Duncan McGibbon, Poet


The Poet’s Voice 20012 Programme





Workshop Saturday at 10.00, January 14th, Lonsdale






Workshop Saturday at 10.00, Feb 11th, Murch





 Workshop. Saturday at 10.00 March 10th Murch

Raymond Friel: Stations of the Heart: Wednesday 14th March 7.30pm:Duncan Room

Stations of the Heart charts a journey from the landscape of contemporary England back through the pieties and vivid recollections of a childhood in a very different religious and cultural setting. Through negotiating the ways of the heart, its extremes of bliss and despair, as well as some insights into the blandness and blankness of the modern professional heart, the poems arrive slowly at some sense of the possibility of resolution and redemption based on openness to mystery. Raymond Friel was born in Greenock in 1963. After graduating from Glasgow University he moved to England and qualified as a teacher. His poems have been widely published in reviews and magazines. His collections include Bel-Air (1993), Seeing the River (1995), Renfrewshire in Old Photographs (2000) and A World Fit to Live In (2005). He co-edited the review Southfields and ran Southfields Press for a number of years. He lives with his wife and three sons in Somerset. He is the headteacher of a secondary school in Bath.



Jenny Joseph: Wednesday 11th April 7.30pm: Duncan Room

Jenny Joseph’s steady stream of poetry, honour and witness is a remarkable achievement, as her appeal has been to both popular and self- defined “literary” audiences. She has achieved this while steering clear of the shoals of Movement, Group, Revival, experimental, or formalist verse. She is a voice practiced in the talent of being herself.

Born in Birmingham, England, she was brought up far from the madding crowd, in Buckinghamshire and a brief stay abroad to learn French, went on a scholarship to St Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she read English and first published poetry. She took her BA Honours degree in 1953. Jenny Joseph then became a newspaper reporter for the Bedfordshire Times, the Oxford Mail and later worked in the offices of DRUM, magazine, at the time when Tom Hutchinson was editor. She spent eighteen months in Southern Africa.

In the 1960’s she had three children, lectured in literature and language and then worked with her husband as tenants of a London pub. Later she travelled extensively in the United States. John Lehmann first published her poetry in The London Magazine, before The Scorpion Press brought out The Unlooked-for Season, which won a Gregory Award in 1960. In the Seventies, after six books, from Constable Young Books, J.M.Dent published her second book, Rose in the Afternoon (1974) which won a Cholmondeley Award.

In 1975 she won an Arts Council Award. After this, Secker brought out The Thinking Heart (1978) and Beyond Descartes (1983). In the Nineties, Jenny Joseph travelled in Austria and Eastern Europe on a Society of Authors’ Travelling Scholarship.. Enitharmon Press brought out Beached Boats, a combination of the American photographer Robert Mitchell’s pictures and Jenny Joseph’s prose pieces. Two prose works, Persephone a story in prose and verse, which won the James Tait Black Award for fiction, and Extended Similes a mosaic of prose pieces appeared with Bloodaxe in 1986 and 1997.

The Inland Sea, a selection of her poems was published by the Californian Papier Mache Press in 1989 with a North American audience in mind.’Bloodaxe published another Selected Poems in 1992. Ghosts and Other Company appeared in 1995, The Extreme of Things  in 2006, both by Bloodaxe. With the Souvenir Press she has brought out Led by the Nose, A Garden of Smells (2002) and Warning, an illustrated edition of her Rose in the Afternoon poem which was voted the most popular post-war poem in 1996 by the BBC. Macmillan brought out Jenny Joseph’s seventh children’s book, All the Things I See in 2000.

Her work has been much anthologised, appearing in Larkin’s Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse in 1973 and Jenny Couzyn’s Contemporary Women Poets in 1989. Recently, she has won the 1995 Forward Poetry Prize for the Best Single Poem, 'In honour of love’. Jenny Joseph was elected to a fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. Her latest book is Nothing Like Love of 2009 by Enitharmon

Occasional Talk

The Miracle of Medellin, Dr Angela Stienen, Thursday 12th April 7.30 : Duncan Room

Dr Stienen talks about the city of Medellin in Central Columbia where a violence-torn city was quelled for a some days by a poetry festival. Known as the Enzenberger Paradox, this effect was based on the forums created by the city planners in which previously unconsulted voices participated. The resultant "poetics of space" still has important implications for the anthropology of poetry to-day.


The Voice of the Oboe: 31st May 7.30pm: Jenyns Room; Peter Rees , oboe and Duncan McGibbon, reader

present a two-part programme of poems and solo pieces in homage to this instrument with such ancient mythological ancestry. In the first part, these myths are explored in poems by Elizabeth Barret Browning, Ovid, Dryden, Quasimodo and others. Music is performed by Britten, Maxwell Davies and Mary Chandler. In the second half the voice of reality expreessed by its plangent tone is recited in verse byBaudelaire, Wallace StevensRumi and others. The music is by Paul Reade and Mary Chandler.

 Workshop Saturday at 10.00 May 12th Murch Room


The Voice of Exile :

Carmen Bugan 12th June 7.30; Duncan Room

Carmen Bugan was educated at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,  in Ireland and at  Balliol College, Oxford.  She is the author of Crossing the Carpathians. She lives near Geneva with her husband and two young children. Her poetry and short essays appear, among other places, in PN Review, Modern Poetry in Translation and Harvard Review. She was an editor of Oxford Poetry and is a Creative Arts Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. She is finishing her second collection of poems, The House of Straw. She  was given a Hopwood Award and a Cowden Memorial Fellowship at Michigan and a grant from the Arts Council of  England for her poetry. Her  publications include her memoir, Burying the Typewriter, and a forthcoming critical study, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile


Rediscovering Pindar’s Olympic Odes : Wednesday 13th June 7.30pm; Jenyns Room

Pindar’s Olympian odes are choral poems sung by a chorus to musical accompaniment. The purpose of the Olympian odes was to express in elevated language Pindar’s feelings about a person, a place, an event, or an idea. As such they are lyric rather than narrative poems. However, his odes often feature narrative episodes, based on myths.

In 1513, the Venetian publisher Aldus Manutius the Elder printed the collected odes of Pindar. British poet and essayist Abraham Cowley (1618-1667) introduced Pindar's odes to England in 1656 in a translation called Pindarique Odes.

An ode celebrating an athletic victory had a special name: epinicion (plural, epinicia). All of Pindar's epinicia survive; the rest of his choral odes—including hymns extolling the gods, drinking and dancing songs, funeral songs, and dithyrambs (impassioned poems addressed to the god of wine and revelry, Dionysus) are lost except for fragments.

The fourteen Olympians honour the victors of contests at the Olympian games, held every four years at Olympia, a plain on the Peloponnesian peninsula of southern Greece

"Olympian 1" received its title from Aristophanes of Byzantium (257-180 BC), a Greek editor, literary critic, and grammarian. Its importance lay in the fact that it glorified the founder of the Olympian games, Pelops. (He won a horse race that inspired the Greeks to establish the games.)

Of all the athletic competitions in ancient Greece, the Olympian games were the most prestigious. Athletes vied in horse races, chariot races, footraces, wrestling and boxing matches, and other events. Each winner of an Olympian contest received a wreath woven from branches of the olive tree as his reward. A victory in the Olympian games was one of the highest achievements a Greek citizen could attain. It demonstrated that the winner possessed the character, self-discipline, skill, perseverance, and resourcefulness to succeed. On his return home, he was hailed as a hero in a glorious celebration that included the presentation of a choral ode. But his victory burdened him with the task of living up to the promise of his Olympian feat in his everyday life, an issue as contemporary as ever.

Pindar's "Olympian 1" and other choral odes each contained three stanza formats: strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The strophe and antistrophe were similar in structure; the epode was different. The chorus sang the strophe (derived from a Greek word meaning to turn) while dancing across the stage and the antistrophe (derived from Greek words meaning to turn in an opposite direction) while dancing back across the stage. The chorus then sang the epode (derived from Greek words meaning to sing after—that is, to sing after the strophe and antistrophe) while standing still. Afterward, the chorus presented additional sets of strophes, antistrophes, and epodes with new wording. When a poet decided that an ode had sufficient development, he ended it with a concluding epode.

Stringed and piping instruments, such as a kithara (a type of lyre) and an aulos (instrument resembling an oboe), were available to accompany the singers of Pindar's choral odes. The music itself was most likely monophonic rather than polyphonic. Pindar is believed to have composed the music and choreographed the dance steps in harmony with the meter of the poem.

Duncan McGibbon has translated the odes in collaboration with the Classical Greek teacher and tutor, Emma Seller. He will read them and talk about them in an evening designed to give the audience an experience of the original cultural Olympics

Workshop. Saturday at 10.00 June 16th (not 9th) Lonsdale room


Homage to Gérard de Nerval: Will Stone and Stephen Romer: Wednesday 11th July 7.30pm:

workshop :Saturday at 10.00 July 14th Je est un autre…



« Here began for me what I shall call the overflow of dream into real life. »

Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855) was a wayward genius – a visionary steeped in esoterica, a great poet and translator (he introduced Goethe’s Faust into France), an occasional travel writer (he journeyed to the Middle East and even Belgium), an unorthodox novelist-cum-historian and a failed man of the theatre ;  hapless in love, he continually fell for Muse-figures (especially actresses) who found him impossible, but fed his Platonic imagination…From the 1840s he suffered from a bi-polar condition, moments of exaltation alternating with suicidal dejection, a state he described in ‘Aurélia’, the famous ‘memoir of his madness’. Also out of this torment came his great and mysterious sonnet sequence, ‘The Chimeras’. 

Stephen Romer and Will Stone are both long time devotees of Gérard, and with humble reverence, have explored his haunts in the region of the Valois, around Senlis in Picardy. Nerval was the ultimate poet’s poet and a thorough going Romantic : Romer and Stone will read from his poetry and prose, and from their own poems inspired by the example, work and thought of this indefinable French genius.

« Now blue, now pink, like Aldebaran’s deceptive radiance, the star was Adrienne or Sylvie – the two halves of a single love. »

Stephen Romer (poet, critic and translator) 

He has written on Gérard de Nerval and composed a prose work  A Bundle of Mirrors – largely in his honour. He edited Twentieth Century French Poems for Faber (2002) and his latest poetry collection Yellow Studio was shortlisted for the T.S.Eliot prize (2008).

Will Stone (poet, essayist and translator)

His first published book of translations was Gérard de Nerval’s Les Chimères (Menard Press, 1999) His first collection of poems Glaciation (Salt, 2007), won the International Glen Dimplex Award for poetry in 2008. His latest translations of the poetry of Emile Verhaeren and Georges Rodenbach will be published by Arc in 2012.








Workshop Saturday at 10.00 August 11th






Workshop Saturday at 10.00 September 8th: Serious Clowns Children's Poetry Workshop Duncan Room








: Saturday at 10.00 Workshop October 13th Murch Room








Wednesday 14th November 7.30pm Workshop Saturday at 10.00 November 10th: Murch Room











Donny O’Rourke pending




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