C Day Lewis - Honest Dreams

Can poetry bring about political change? A hundred years on from his birth this month, Cecil Day Lewis, Poet Laureate, is remembered as a pillar of the establishment.

But in his youth he was a member of the Communist Party, dreaming, and writing of revolution.

He was a communist sympathiser for the best part of a decade, and a party member from 1936 to 1938.

For the young C.

Day-Lewis, poetry and politics were intertwined, and his poetry during this period aimed to contribute to the formation of a Left Popular Front in Britain.

He was an active member of the Left Book Club, which flourished throughout the thirties, until he became disillusioned with his "political self" and withdrew in the lead-up to World War Two.

We hear the story of his commie years and analyse the history of those times through his poetry and testimonies of people who knew him including his widow Jill Balcon.

A large part of the programme is devoted to the poetry that charts this period in Day-Lewis's life.

There are some old recordings of him reading his own work, other poems will be specially recorded.

New and arcHIVe interviews, as well as archive actuality, provide the contexts and explanations for his actions and help unpack the subtexts and deeper significance of the poems included.

The programme also poses the question as to whether poetry can really make a difference.

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Can poetry bring about political change? A hundred years on from his birth this month, Cecil Day Lewis, Poet Laureate, is remembered as a pillar of the establishment.

But in his youth he was a member of the Communist Party, dreaming, and writing of revolution.

He was a communist sympathiser for the best part of a decade, and a party member from 1936 to 1938.

For the young C.

Day-Lewis, poetry and politics were intertwined, and his poetry during this period aimed to contribute to the formation of a Left Popular Front in Britain.

He was an active member of the Left Book Club, which flourished throughout the thirties, until he became disillusioned with his "political self" and withdrew in the lead-up to World War Two.

We hear the story of his commie years and analyse the history of those times through his poetry and testimonies of people who knew him including his widow Jill Balcon.

A large part of the programme is devoted to the poetry that charts this period in Day-Lewis's life.

There are some old recordings of him reading his own work, other poems will be specially recorded.

New and arcHIVe interviews, as well as archive actuality, provide the contexts and explanations for his actions and help unpack the subtexts and deeper significance of the poems included.

The programme also poses the question as to whether poetry can really make a difference.