Poets & Players are back with a busy programme already penned into their diaries for 2019, starting on 19 January with a line-up including former Poetry London magazine editor Colette Bryce and again on 23 March with TS Eliot Prize-winner Jacob Polley (recently heard in conversation with fellow Cumbrian writer David Gaffney on BBC Radio 4). In between, we are being treated to a double bill of Forward Prize-winning Faber-published poets – Lavinia Greenlaw and Daljit Nagra – plus music from jazz revivalists Blind Monk, aka Bob Whittaker (saxophone), Hugo Harrison (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums).
Back to the poets, and Lavinia Greenlaw will be reading from her brand-new collection, The Built Moment, out on 7 February and including poems about Joy Division and David Bowie plus a sequence called ‘The Sea Is An Edge And An Ending’ about her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s and the basis for a short film she made in 2016.
The Built Moment follows up a prolific previous five with Faber & Faber: Night Photograph (1993), shortlisted for the Forward and Whitbread, A World Where News Travelled Slowly (1997), which won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, Minsk (2003), a shortlistee on the TS Eliot, Forward and Whitbread lists, The Casual Perfect (2011) and A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde (2014), shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award.
She has also published short stories, two non-fiction works and three novels, most recently In The City Of Love’s Sleep, a contemporary fable about what it means to fall in love in middle age, which came out in September. You may also remember Lavinia’s soundwork Audio Obscura – a ‘listening experience’ that took place at Piccadilly Station during the third Manchester International Festival back in 2011. Involving audience members donning headphones to hear half an hour of intertwined stories against a backdrop of ambient music and station sounds, it was commissioned by Artangel and won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
Daljit Nagra is the inaugural poet-in-residence for BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, and he presents the new Poetry Extra slot on Sundays. He has published four poetry collections with Faber & Faber since 2007 (Look We Have Coming To Dover!, Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!!, Ramayana: A Retelling and British Museum), winning the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and popping up on the shortlists for the Costa Prize and the TS Eliot Prize. Daljit is a Poetry Book Society New Generation Poet and his poems have appeared in The New Yorker, London Review Of Books and Times Literary Supplement, and he teaches poetry at Brunel University London – but humbly describes on his website how he wouldn’t be where he is today without having received tuition from the likes of Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Ruth Padel and Pascale Petit, who judged and announced the annual Poets & Players Poetry Competition in 2018.
Talking of which, be sure to also check out the newly announced Poets & Players Poetry Competition 2019, looking for entries up until 13 March. A total of £900 is up for grabs and this year’s judge is poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and broadcaster Kei Miller. Good luck – and if you need a push, why not join Daljit’s morning workshop, starting at 10.30am, £20, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place.