Poet and DJ Mr Gee talks to songwriters about poetry and how it influences their work.
The performance poet, DJ and broadcaster, Mr Gee - familiar from his work on Saturday Live and Russell Brand's Radio 2 show - is fascinated by poetry and songwriting, the similarities and the differences between these crafts. He seeks out songwriters who love poetry and hears from them about the importance of poetry in their lives and the way it influences their songwriting.
Noel Gallagher recalls going to see poets such as John Cooper Clarke and Lemn Sissay perform, and explains how his songs are metaphorical and imagistic, using the techniques of poetry.
Cerys Matthews, who came to fame two decades ago as the singer in Catatonia, is a Welsh speaker, in which language poetry is written in strict, elaborate forms. The poets she cites as influential include Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg, whose work, formally, ranges as wide as the plains of America, with enormously long lines and patterns like mountain ranges. These poets inspire her directly, she tells Mr Gee, then she picks up her guitar and sings.
For Richard Thompson the influence of the poets he loves - Eliot, Yeats and John Clare - is more tangential. It colours the mood and tone of his great songs of modern England. Sometimes the rhythms of poems find their way into his songs. He is struck by the power of traditional songs, how they evoke characters, and unfold stories in images.
Akala plays a game, firing quotes from Shakespeare and rap songs and challenging Mr Gee to identify which is which. This leads to serious discussion about the common ground between Shakespeare and Hip-hop, and the poetic richness of contemporary popular culture.
And Rapper Jordan Stephens, from Rizzle Kicks, reveals how poetry was at the centre of his upbringing and how one poem is so important to him that he's had it tattooed on his forearm.
Mr Gee hears, too, from someone working the other way around. Ian McMillan, enthusiast of what his wife calls 'squeaky gate music' by, for instance, Captain Beefheart, reveals how songs have influenced the poetry he writes, some of which is then set to music.
Producer: Julian May
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Poet Mr Gee is joined by singer Florence Welch to discuss her love of poetry.
Florence's album Lungs was the fastest selling debut in 2009.
Reading and discussing their favourite poetry, Mr Gee delves deeper into her relationship with poetry and looks at how it has inspired her music.
Other guests in the series include Tori Amos, Tim Rice-Oxley and Billy Bragg.
Repeated from BBC Radio 4.
Poet Mr Gee presents first programme in a four part series, Rhyme and Reason.
His first guest is singer songwriter Florence Welch whose album Lungs was the fastest selling debut in 2009.
Reading and discussing their favourite poetry, Mr Gee delves deeper into Florence's relationship with poetry and looks at how it has inspired her music.
Mr Gee is joined by singer Florence Welch to discuss her love of poety.
Mr Gee is joined by American pianist and singer-songwriter Tori Amos.
Mr Gee is joined by American pianist and singer-songwriter Tori Amos, to talk about how poetry and music has influenced her life.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Mr Gee presents the second programme in a four part series, Rhyme and Reason.
He is joined by American pianist and singer-songwriter Tori Amos, to talk about how poetry and music has influenced her life.
Throughout the programme we hear music from Tori's back catalogue and readings of her favourite poetry.
Mr Gee is joined by singer-songwriter Tori Amos to talk about her love of poetry.
Mr Gee's guest is award-winning composer and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane.
Mr Gee presents the third programme of a fourth part series, Rhyme and Reason.
His guest is award-winning composer and pianist, Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane.
Tim talks of his song writing journey, starting out from his hometown of Battle to the success with the chart topping band Keane.
We hear readings of Tim Rice-Oxley's favourite poetry and music from his last two albums.
His guest is award winning composer and pianist, Tim Rice-Oxley from the indie pop band Keane.
Mr Gee is joined by composer and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley from the pop band Keane.
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Mr Gee's final guest is the Bard of Barking, Billy Bragg.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Mr Gee presents the final programme in the four part series, Rhyme and Reason.
This week he is joined by musician and activist Billy Bragg to talk about how poetry has played a major role in his life.
Billy Bragg tells of how he's used music and poetry to express his feelings at pivotal points in his life.
We hear readings of his favourite poetry and music from his back catalogue going back over 25 years.
Mr Gee is joined by musician and activist Billy Bragg to talk his love of poetry.