Letters To A Young Poet

Episodes

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01Michael Symmons Roberts20140113

01Michael Symmons Roberts2014011320140818

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, to coincide with the announcement of the T S Eliot Prize, shortlisted poet Michael Symmons Roberts writes a letter about poetry that dares the depths.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

About Michael Symmons Roberts: Roberts's latest collection Drysalter (Cape 2013) won the 2013 Forward Prize and is on the shortlist for both the T S Eliot Prize and the Costa Poetry Award. He is a leading poet, librettist, novelist, radio dramatist and broadcaster. Previous collections include The Half-Healed, Corpus and Burning Babylon.

First broadcast in January 2014.

02Vicki Feaver20140114

02Vicki Feaver2014011420140820

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young protégé. Today, to coincide with the announcement of the T S Eliot Prize, one of the prize's judges, Vicki Feaver, writes a letter to a young woman poet.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

About Vicki Feaver: Vicki Feaver has published three collections of poetry, Close Relatives (Secker 1981), The Handless Maiden (Cape 1994) and The Book of Blood (Cape 2006), both short-listed for the Forward Prize Best Collection, with The Book of Blood also shortlisted for the 2006 Costa (formerly Whitbread) Poetry Book Award. Her poem 'Judith' won the Forward Prize for the Best Single Poem. She lives in Scotland.

03Michael Longley20140115

03Michael Longley2014011520140821

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, eminent Belfast poet, Michael Longley.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

About Michael Longley: Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939. His Collected Poems was published in 2006 and in 2007, he was appointed Professor of Poetry for Ireland. His most recent poetry collections are Gorse Fires (2009) and A Hundred Doors (2011), shortlisted for the 2011 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year).

First broadcast in January 2014.

04Moniza Alvi20140116

04Moniza Alvi2014011620140909

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, Pakistan-born Moniza Alvi.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

About Moniza Alvi: Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire. Her latest book are At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe Books, 2013) which is shortlisted for the 2013 T S Eliot Prize. Other recent books include her book-length poem; Homesick for the Earth, her versions of the French poet Jules Supervielle (Bloodaxe Books, 2011); Europa (Bloodaxe Books, 2008); and Split World: Poems 1990-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which includes poems from her five previous collections.

04Moniza Alvi20140116

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, Pakistan-born Moniza Alvi.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

About Moniza Alvi: Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire. Her latest book are At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe Books, 2013) which is shortlisted for the 2013 T S Eliot Prize. Other recent books include her book-length poem; Homesick for the Earth, her versions of the French poet Jules Supervielle (Bloodaxe Books, 2011); Europa (Bloodaxe Books, 2008); and Split World: Poems 1990-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which includes poems from her five previous collections.

05Don Paterson20140117

05 LASTDon Paterson2014011720140912

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, award-winning Scottish poet and editor, Don Paterson.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

Don Paterson was born in 1963 in Dundee, Scotland. He moved to London in 1984 to work as a jazz musician, and began writing poetry around the same time. His collections of poetry are Nil Nil (Faber, 1993), God's Gift to Women (Faber, 1997), The Eyes (after Antonio Machado, Faber, 1999), Landing Light (Faber, 2003; Graywolf, 2004), Orpheus (a version of Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus, Faber, 2006) and Rain (Faber, 2009; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010).

First broadcast in January 2014.

05 LASTDon Paterson20140117

Taking Rilke's classic correspondence as inspiration, five leading poets write a personal letter to a young poet. Today, award-winning Scottish poet and editor, Don Paterson.

The original Letters to a Young Poet is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, written between 1902 and 1908 to a 19-year-old officer cadet called Franz Kappus. Kappus was trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian army. Rilke's letters touch on poetry and criticism, but they range widely in subject matter from atheism and loneliness, to friendship and sexuality:

"If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

In their new letters, five poets imagine a young poet protégé to whom they want to pass on life experience and thoughts about the poetic art.

Our poets are: Michael Symmons Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Michael Longley, Moniza Alvi and Don Paterson.

Don Paterson was born in 1963 in Dundee, Scotland. He moved to London in 1984 to work as a jazz musician, and began writing poetry around the same time. His collections of poetry are Nil Nil (Faber, 1993), God's Gift to Women (Faber, 1997), The Eyes (after Antonio Machado, Faber, 1999), Landing Light (Faber, 2003; Graywolf, 2004), Orpheus (a version of Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus, Faber, 2006) and Rain (Faber, 2009; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010).