BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH: TO DO WID ME
TO DO WID ME is a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. It shows him performing his poetry for different audiences and talking about his work, life, beliefs and much else. You see him live on stage at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Newcastle's Live Theatre, Hexham's Queen's Hall and Brunel University, and engaging with school children at Keats House in London, where he was writer-in-residence. All the poems and songs from the film and videos are included in the accompanying book from Bloodaxe, Benjamin Zephaniah: To Do Wid Me. For more details see bloodaxebooks.com/titlepage.asp?isbn=1852249439
The winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature, Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer (1931-2015) suffered a stroke in 1990, which deprived him of most of his speech and left him unable to use his right arm. But he was also an accomplished classical pianist. Unable to speak more than a few words, he was still able to express himself through music, despite only being able to play left-hand piano pieces. Swedish composers wrote several left-hand piano pieces especially for him to play. This film by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley combines contemporary footage of Tranströmer, including his piano playing, with archive film and recordings of earlier readings. The English subtitles to Tranströmer's readings of his poems in this film are Robin Fulton's translations from New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011).
Ruth Stone is a true American original. Now aged 94, she is still writing poetry of extraordinary variety and radiance. We filmed her in Vermont in 2008 and 2009. Ruth is almost blind but knows many of her poems by heart, and recites (or sings) several poems in this film portrait (prompted occasionally by editor Neil Astley). Born in Virginia in 1915, she has lived in rural Vermont for much of her life. In 1959, after her husband committed suicide, she had to raise three daughters alone, all the time writing what she called her 'love poems, all written to a dead man' who forced her to 'reside in limbo' with her daughters. The poems are all from her retrospective What Loves Comes To: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, USA; Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2008).
ROBERT ADAMSON: POET OF THE HAWKESBURY RIVER
Robert Adamson has been nourished for much of his life by Australia's Hawkesbury River. His grandfather was a fisherman on the Hawkesbury, where Bob has lived, on and off, for most of his life, and for the past three decades with photographer Juno Gemes. My film portrait covers some of the key aspects of his life and work: his early obsession with fishing, birds and nature; his discussions with American poets Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley during their visits to Australia (with Duncan's outing to the Hawkesbury inspiring one of the poems he reads); and the ways in which his poetry was transformed with their encouragement, and in particular by Duncan's insistence on the primacy of myth in poetry and Creeley's urging that he should write from his own life. The poems are all from his Bloodaxe poetry titles Reading the River: Selected Poems (2004) and The Kingfisher's Soul (2009): see https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/robert-adamson
MARIE HOWE: MAGDALENE
Marie Howe is one of American poetry’s most original and truly visionary voices. Her most recent collection, Magdalene, imagines the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene as a woman who embodies the spiritual and sensual, alive in a contemporary landscape. Between facing the traumas of her past and navigating daily life, the narrator of Magdalene yearns for the guidance of her spiritual teacher, a Christ figure, whose death she continues to grieve. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Marie Howe reading and discussing the poems of Magdalene in the setting of Hellens Manor during her visit to Ledbury Poetry Festival in Herefordshire in July 2018.
I am continuing to film poets for DVD and website use by Bloodaxe Books. To see many more of these poetry videos, go to:https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/hd-video