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Poetry For All

Joanne Diaz and Abram Van Engen

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This podcast is for those who already love poetry and for those who know very little about it. In this podcast, we read a poem, discuss it, see what makes it tick, learn how it works, grow from it, and then read it one more time. Introducing our brand new Poetry For All website: https://poetryforallpod.com! Please visit the new website to learn more about our guests, search for thematic episodes (ranging from Black History Month to the season of autumn), and subscribe to our newsletter.
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Musician Graham Gouldman performs live from his new album, as well as talking about his Lancashire upbringing and and playing in the band 10cc 50 years ago Steven Spielberg was filming his adaptation of Peter Benchley's shark thriller Jaws - a problematic shoot that nonetheless resulted in a classic movie. Critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and writer Robe…
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The Journalist and presenter Ashley John-Baptiste, who’s written a very moving memoir about growing up in care. The Lahore born poet Imtiaz Dharker will be appearing on the programme. We’ll be talking about what’s made her identify as a Scottish, Pakistani, Calvinist, Muslim who’s been adopted by India and Wales. Plus, landscape and garden designer…
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Stephen Fry stars in Treasure, where he plays a jovial Holocaust survivor who returns to his native Poland from his home New York with his stubborn American-born daughter, played by Lena Dunham. She is keen to build a stronger relationship with him by helping him relive his traumatised past, while he tries to sabotage her plans at every turn. How d…
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Broadway star Stephanie J Block performs So In Love from the new production of Kiss Me Kate, at London’s Barbican. Tom talks to her and the Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher about creating the musical show within a show, which is based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The BBC’s Culture Editor Katie Razzall on what the political par…
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Sasquatch Sunset has been dubbed the year's strangest film, about a family of mythological bigfoot monsters. Ama Gloria is a French film about the bond between a 6 year old French girl and her Portuguese nanny. Avalon is the latest show from Gifford's Circus, currently touring the UK. Peter Bradshaw and Nancy Durrant join Samira to review. We’ll al…
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Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro has turned his attention to the incredible story behind the Federal Theatre in 1930s America in his new study “The Playbook: A Story of Theatre, Democracy and the Making of A Culture War”. He discusses the groundbreaking performances staged by its 12,000 employees, including Orson Welles’ all-Black production of Ma…
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As Liverpool enters the Swiftularity with the arrival of the arrival of the record-breaking phenomenon that is Taylor Swift and her Eras world tour, Nick visits the Taylor Town Trail - the new art trail dedicated to the singer's albums/eras - in the city centre and talks to one of the trail's co-producer Rhiannon Newman from Culture Liverpool, Kirs…
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Jon Bon Jovi talks about his band’s new album Forever and their new documentary Thank You, Goodnight on Disney+ which celebrates the band’s 40th anniversary in rock and roll this year. Clare Pollard’s new book The Modern Fairies is set in 17th century France, where stories of trapped princesses and enchanted beasts are performed at the home of Mada…
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Kevin Barry’s new novel is The Heart in Winter, a love story set in the American wild west in the 1890s. The film Rosalie is a period piece inspired by the true story of a French bearded lady who, together with her husband, ran a café in rural France in the late 19th century.And Disney’s Paris set drama series Becoming Karl Lagerfeld explores the l…
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Christos Tsiolkas, the Australian writer best known for The Slap, talks about The In-Between, his visceral yet tender new novel about two men finding love in their fifties. Victoria Canal performs her Ivor Novello award winning song Black Swan and talks about her life in music. And with several literary festivals severing their ties with Baillie Gi…
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Presenter Samira Ahmed talks to Candice Carty-Williams who has adapted her award-winning novel Queenie for an eight-part series on Channel 4, starring Dionne Brown. It traces a year in the life of a young woman navigating a difficult course through her relationships with friends, family and casual partners, with the shadow of unresolved trauma alwa…
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American director Richard Linklater, who made his name with Boyhood and the Before Sunset films, talks about his new comedy thriller Hit Man, which stars Glen Powell as quiet teacher who leads a secret double life helping this police catch people trying to hire a hit man. The movie opens on Netflix on Friday. Asian Network is celebrating 90s Bollyw…
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Fashion designer, entrepreneur and Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant has put his money where his seams are with his company Community Clothing and new book 'Less' urging us to stop buying so much rubbish and appreciate fewer, better things. We’re taking cheesy to another level with Razan Alsous who came to the UK as a refugee from Syria …
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Samira Ahmed is joined by author Anita Sethi and critic Tim Robey to review time-skipping sci-fi epic The Beast, where human emotions are perceived as a threat; the second series of Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts, where the all-female Muslin punk band are recording their first album; they also give their verdict on the Beyond Fashion photography …
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Adrian Dunbar is co-curator of the Beckett Unbound Festival that takes place in various venues across Liverpool this weekend and sees him directing Beckett's radio play All That Fall in a disused reservoir in total darkness. He explains why he thinks Samuel Beckett is an incomparable writer whose appeal never fades. As two new exhibitions about Edg…
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Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch talks about his new series Eric, where he plays a troubled puppeteer in 80s New York whose life and marriage unravel when his young son disappears and the only help he has to find him is from a giant imaginary monster who follows him everywhere. Created by British screenwriter Abi Morgan, the show opens on Netfli…
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In a special edition of Front Row recorded at this year's Hay Festival, school children and young people put questions to four giants of Young Adult Fiction. Anthony Horowitz has written books for both adults and younger readers, but here discusses his iconic creation Alex Rider. Manon Steffan Ros won last year's Carnegie Medal, the first translate…
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We’re kicking off the festival season in style, and in the sun, with three very different books… but who’s authors have more in common than you may think. This week’s events haven’t stopped Mishal Husain making her way to us this weekend – for what will surely be the only down time she’ll have over the next 6 weeks. Mishal’s new memoir charts her f…
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Samira Ahmed is joined by the Guardian’s music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas plus cultural sociologist and music researcher Dr. Monique Charles to review espionage thriller and cross-culture satire The Sympathizer, a 7-part series based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. They also discuss the winners of the Ivor Novello Awards, and S…
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Line of Duty star Vicky McClure on her new TV thriller Insomnia, in which she plays a lawyer losing her grip on the daily juggle of family life and work as old traumas start to make their presence felt. The German writer Jenny Erpenbeck and translator Michael Hofman on winning the International Booker Prize with the novel Kairos which marries a lov…
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In this episode, we read one of Victoria Chang’s moving poems from her collection OBIT, and discuss how the poem explores the interplay between life, death, grieving, and memory as the poet tries to process her mother’s passing. Thanks to Copper Canyon Press for granting us permission to read this poem, which was originally published in OBIT. Victo…
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Colm Tóibín's not a fan of follow-ups so why has he written a sequel to his bestseller Brooklyn, which was made into a film starring Saoirse Ronan? He talks to Tom Sutcliffe about not overwriting sex - and how Domhnall Gleeson's screen performance as a "quiet Irishman" in Brooklyn inspired him. Miranda Rutter and Rob Harbron's new folk album, Bird …
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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the latest film from the writer director George Miller, 45 years after the first Mad Max film with Mel Gibson aired. He joins us to talk about where the vision for the film came from and how it's evolved, and about working with stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. The visual artist, filmmaker, and novelist, Miranda …
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The bestselling, prolific screenwriter and author of the Hawthorne series Anthony Horowitz… whose creative achievements may be further admired and perhaps understood when he reveals what he’s overcome with the relationship with his father. Possessed with a similar drive, Capt. Preet Chandi is with us, now the fastest woman to cross Antarctica she s…
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Tom Sutcliffe is joined by journalist Kevin Le Gendre and critic Hanna Flint to review The Big Cigar, which tells the story of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton; Elton John’s Fragile Beauty exhibition at the V&A and IF, a family film about imaginary friends. Tom also announces the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize. Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer…
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Fawlty Towers arrives on the West End stage nearly 50 years after it first appeared on TV. John Cleese talks about why the sitcom wasn’t initially regarded as a great success, his love and appreciation of comedy as an art form, and how a future project will see Basil running a hotel with his daughter. 100 years ago this month, the musician Beatrice…
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Bruce Robinson has written a stage adaptation of his cult 1987 film Withnail And I - a tragicomedy that evokes the end of an era as the 60s give way to 70s and dreams collide with reality in the lives of the two main characters. The play has just opened at the Birmingham Rep, directed by Sean Foley. Both of them talk about the challenges of adaptin…
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A memoir about growing up gay in Scotland under the shadow of Thatcherism, Maggie & Me was published to wide acclaim in 2013. Damian Barr joins to discuss how he as adapted it with James Ley for a new National Theatre of Scotland touring production. As Roberto Rossellini's classic 1945 film Rome, Open City (Roma città aperta) is re-released by the …
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Mary Beard unearths some of the fascinating little-known stories that helped build the Roman Empire in her new series of Being Roman, and reveals how a cake is responsible for making her Britain’s best-known classicist. From the senate and the people of Rome to the Sherlock Holmes of Tudor England – star of the new Shardlake series, Arthur Hughes j…
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La Chimera is a new film directed by Alice Rohrwacher and starring Josh O’Connor as a British archaeologist who gets caught up in a network of stolen Etruscan artefacts in 1980s Italy. Bodkin is a new comedy thriller series from Netflix starring Will Forte about a trio of true crime podcasters who head to rural Ireland to solve a mystery. and Great…
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From winning the piano section of the first BBC young musician of the year as a teen to recording over 60 albums and publishing 40 original works, Stephen Hough was knighted for services to music in 2022. He joins Tom Sutcliffe to talk about the upcoming European premiere of his first piano concerto with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester. American …
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To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, music critic Norman Lebrecht and conductor JoAnn Falletta discuss what makes it revolutionary and why it's so challenging to perform. Michael McManus spent most of his career as a political advisor but has subsequently become a playwright. His new play Party Games is a political come…
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Nick visits Scarborough and talks to Sir Alan Ayckbourn as he rehearses an old play - Things We Do For Love - and looks forward to the staging of his 90th play - Show and Tell. Turner prize winning Artist Jeremy Deller, whose public artworks include We're Here Because We're Here to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, reveals his plans for a new cr…
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The Titan of Tartan Noir, crime writer Val McDermid, who grew up playing in the ruins of Macduff's castle, shines a new light on Lady Macbeth in her new book, and tells us show she became addicted to video games. Nicola Nuttall has written a beautiful memoir about helping her daughter Laura make the most of her final days living with brain cancer…L…
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Harvey Keitel stars in The Tattooist of Auschwitz - a six-part Sky Atlantic series based on the best-selling novel by Heather Morris, inspired by the real-life story of Holocaust prisoners Lali and Gita Sokolov. Marc Quinn’s exhibition Light into Life is at Kew Gardens from Saturday (4th May) until Sunday 29 September 2024. The Fall Guy, directed b…
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Award winning director behind Les Miserables John Caird and co-writing partner Maoko Imai talk about adapting the iconic Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away for stage, as it arrives at the London Coliseum from Japan. Two new documentaries are exploring how dignity, beauty and even joy can be found following a terminal diagnosis. Simon Chambers and Kit…
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Historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and art curator Kate Bryan discuss Michelangelo: the last decades, a major new exhibition at the British Museum which focuses on the last thirty years of Michelangelo’s life. Reece Shearsmith discusses the ninth and final series of the BAFTA award winning Inside No. 9. Written with Steve Pemberton, the six episodes wil…
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Hanif Kureishi has joined forces with Emma Rice to adapt his 1990 novel The Buddha of Suburbia into an RSC production that’s just opened at the Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon. Kureishi discusses what it feels like to see himself and his fictionalised family onstage, why his first novel remains painfully relevant and how he has been able to conti…
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Birmingham’s unofficial global ambassador, Steven Knight, who did as much for flat caps as he did for Brum by creating Peaky Blinders and he’s now taking us back to the West Midlands of the 1980’s with his latest TV series This Town. Catherine Coldstream had a bohemian upbringing in London, lived in Paris and fell in love with "unsuitable propositi…
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The Pet Shop Boys are the most successful duo in UK music history. Forty years after their first hit West End Girls they are about to release their new album Nonetheless. Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant join Samira Ahmed to talk about making sense of life through culture, their music being used in hit films like Saltburn and All of Us Strangers and the…
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The Legend of Ned Ludd - writer Joe Ward Munrow and director Jude Christian discuss their new play at the Liverpool Everyman theatre which explores the changing nature of work over the centuries and around the world in the the face of automation. The shortlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction was announced today - journalist Jamie Klingler assesse…
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The British Library isn’t all books; it has a huge sound archive, one of the largest in the world. It has drawn on this for Beyond the Bassline, the first major exhibition to documenting Black British music. Curators Aleema Gray and Mykaell Riley guide Shahidha Bari through the 500-year musical journey of African and Caribbean people in Britain. Em…
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Taylor Swift returns with The Tortured Poets Department, a surprise double album that features 31 tracks that fans are saying is her most intimate and lyrically revealing yet. Joining Tom Sutcliffe to discuss the work are Times music writer Lisa Vericco and Satu Hameenho-Fox, whose new book Into The Taylor-Verse is out next month. The Intercity 125…
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Racing driver Nic Hamilton is the first disabled athlete to compete in the British Touring Car Championship. Born with cerebral palsy and told he would always need to use a wheelchair, he certainly embodies his self-given title of ‘limit defier’ and shares how he proved everyone wrong in his new book 'Now That I Have Your Attention'. Victoria McClo…
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Knife is Salman Rushdie’s memoir about surviving a near-fatal knife attack in August 2022 and the long, painful period of recovery that followed. Ben Power’s adaption of the Dickens novel Our Mutual Friend – London Tide – which features songs that he co-wrote with PJ Harvey, has just opened at the National Theatre in London. Baby Reindeer is a new …
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This episode dives into the wonderful world of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the musicality of his language, and the vision he has of becoming what we already are. This poem illustrates the cover of Abram Van Engen's new book, Word Made Fresh. The book explores connections between poetry and faith, and it serves as an invitation to reading poetry of all k…
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Lionel Shriver on her latest novel Mania, in which she creates an alternative USA where the Mental Parity Movement insists that everyone is equally clever. Can a friendship between two women survive when they hold polarised views on this particular “culture war”? Why are universities all over the country closing arts courses and cutting jobs? Front…
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Lord Byron died 200 years ago on Friday. Lady Caroline Lamb described him as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'. Fiona Stafford has edited Byron's Travels, a new selection of his poems, letters and journals. He was only 36 when he died, but had written seven volumes of verse, thirteen volumes of journal and thousands of letters. The poet A. E. Stalli…
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British director Jeymes Samuel discusses his new film The Book of Clarence, a Biblical comedy about a down-on-his-luck young man who tries to escape from a debt by pretending to be a messiah like Christ. Sonali Bhattacharyya on her new play Liberation Square, which just opened at the Nottingham Playhouse and explores the lives of three young Muslim…
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The broadcaster, marathon runner, and proud parent to her life saving stoma Audrey, Adele Roberts reveals how she overcame cancer wrote a book and danced on ice. Writer and comedian Ben Elton whose new stand-up tour highlights his trademark incisive social commentary by exploring authentic stupidity. David Duke went from sleeping rough and living i…
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