The BBC’s Poetry Season is now fully up-and-rhyming. Last weekend, BBC Four showed a series of programmes – some old, some new – about Wilfred Owen, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Stevie Smith, Philip Larkin, Carol Ann Duffy, W. H. Auden and Radio 4’s long-running Poetry Please. A few are still available to watch on iPlayer, along with Ian Hislop’s witty and interesting look at the role of Poet Laureate, The Changing of the Bard.
But there’s plenty more to come, including:
Griff Rhys Jones: Why Poetry Matters
Wednesday 20 May, 21:00, BBC Two
Join Griff Rhys Jones on a personal journey to find out why we should care about poetry.
Off By Heart
Friday 22 May, 21:00, BBC Two
A documentary following primary-school children preparing for a national poetry recital competition.
Simon Schama’s John Donne
Tuesday 26 May, 21:00, BBC Two
Simon Schama celebrates the life and work of Britain’s greatest love poet, John Donne.
Armando Iannucci in Milton’s Heaven and Hell
Wednesday 27 May, 21:00, BBC Two
Armando Iannucci explores his passion for John Milton – a poet whose preoccupation with ideas of sin, liberty and the fall of man, may seem out of step with 21st century Britain but, as Iannucci reveals, has never been more relevant.
Arena: TS Eliot
Sunday 31 May, Time TBC, BBC Two
A profile of TS Eliot which, with unprecedented co-operation from the Eliot Estate, tells the story of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and elusive writers.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Thursday 4 Jun, 21:00, BBC Four
Having published an acclaimed translation of the 14th-century poem, Simon Armitage goes on the trail of the mythical Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The Poetry Season website is also well worth a visit. It has What’s On listings for TV and Radio; an Events guide; short features about, and sample poems by, a selection of great writers; and a (well-intentioned but rather meaningless) vote to find Britain’s Favourite Poet.
In addition, SKY Arts (channel 256 – an oasis in the digital desert) will be broadcasting a daily round-up of this year’s Guardian Hay Festival, Hay-On-Sky, presented by The Book Show’s Mariella Frostrup, starting this Friday at 19:00.
Who needs to go out?