May 5th, 2013
Episode 362 of 434 episodes
The National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke discusses her collection Ice which was shortlisted for last year's TS Eliot prize. Inspired by the snowy winters of 2009 and 2010, the poems in Ice move through the seasons : from Gillian's experience of being snowed in to the sound of an icicle as it begins to melt. From the bluebells of Spring (inspired by a Renoir painting at the National Museum of Art in Cardiff) through to a hot summer's day and on to the harvest moons of autumn to New Year's Eve. They also include Gillian's earliest childhood memories, such as the opening poem Polar, which recalls the toddler Gillian lying on a polar bear rug which her father bought in a junk shop; and memories of a more collective nature - mining disasters and ancient British mythology. The land, language, history and myths of Wales are all present in these poems. Gillian says a love of language and an inherent ability to articulate is something the Welsh are brought up with, learnt from the early days of attending Chapel; and she says that being National Poet of Wales is no different than getting up at a family occasion and giving a verse or two, a tradition which lies at the heart of her culture. James Naughtie presents and a group of readers ask the questions. Recorded at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea. June's Bookclub choice : Quarantine by Jim Crace. Producer : Dymphna Flynn.