The Poetry Of History

Jonathan Bates presents a series which examines historical events through the poetry they inspired.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Easter, 1916, By Wb Yeats2006040220060408
20060408 (BBC7)
20140930 (BBC7)
20141001 (BBC7)

With the poet Theo Dorgan, novelist Anne Enright and historian Diarmuid Ferriter, Jonathan visits places where Irish history was changed and, as Yeats declared, a 'terrible beauty' was born - the General Post Office in Dublin, the hub of the Easter Rising 90 years ago, and Kilmainham Gaol, where several of the rebels were executed.

The poem is read by Jim Norton

Jonathan Bate travels to Dublin to investigate the 1916 Easter Rising.

Jonathan Bate looks at the history behind the poem, travelling to Dublin to investigate the 1916 Easter Rising. From April 2006.

0201The Battle Of Maldon2007112520071201

The valiant failure of the Anglo-Saxon leader Byrhtnoth against a Viking landing in 991 is remembered in one of the classics of the Old English canon.

0202Di Great Insohreckshan2007120220071208

Linton Kwesi Johnson's poem Di Great Insohreckshan recalls the Brixton riots of April 1981. The work is now acknowledged alongside television and radio archive as a primary source, helping future generations understand the cultural and political upheaval that spilt onto the streets of south London.

0203Annus Mirabilis: The Year Of Wonders2007120920071215

by John Dryden, reveals an unquenchable enthusiasm for the events of 1666. Historians remember these to include an inconclusive naval war with the Dutch, plague, and finally the Great Fire of London.

0204 LASTDeath Of King George V2007121620071222

John Betjeman's Death of King George V captures not just the passing of a monarch but a subtle shift in the Britain in which he had grown up. Contributors include Betjeman's daughter Candida Lycett Green and his most recent biographer Andrew Wilson.