The Company Of Poets

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Susannah Clapp looks through Angela Carter's journals to discover her unknown poetry.

She introduces Angela's circle - her editors Andrew Motion (former Poet Laureate), and Carmen Callil (founder of Virago Press), and her close friend Salman Rushdie, as well as the critic Marina Warner - not just to the verse itself, but to the fact that Angela even wrote poetry, which none of them knew.

Angela Carter is one of the most pungent writers of the last fifty years and yet her poems are more or less unknown.

They were written at the beginning of her life as a writer: her first novel was published in 1966, and so have a particular interest as showing a path not taken.

In this programme Susannah and guests argue that they strikingly anticipate her fiction and other writing, in both the richness of expression and in subject matter and sometimes even the very violence of the verse makes her concerns plainer.

Through readings and analysis, the programme explores Carter's poetic interest in fairy tale, her fascination with the 18th-century (Susannah will argue that she was both a romper and a sceptic secularist), her feminism, her foul tongue, and her fascinating politics.

And her poetry will also illustrate Carter's vivid visual sense and tastes, such as her love of cats.

For the programme Susannah goes to the British Library to look at the poems in Angela Carter's journals, and her lists of the things that she was reading at the time she wrote them.

Readings will be done by Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense, The Ghost Writer and the RSC.)

Susannah was a close friend of Angela Carter's.

Contributors: Salman Rushdie, Andrew Motion, Marina Warner, Carmen Callil, Jamie Andrews.

Readings by Olivia Williams.

Producer: Rebecca Stratford.

Susannah Clapp, Salman Rushdie and Andrew Motion discover the poetry of Angela Carter.