One of the more cheering aspects of the Covid-19 lockdown has been the way in which art and technology have joined together to bring comfort to those of us (i.e. everybody) who can’t leave the house, can’t attend readings, can’t pop into a bookshop for a slim volume. In this new weekly blog, we hope to bring you news of and links to an array of interesting things we’ve found online, from actors reading poems to online courses to virtual festivals.
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Captain, My Captain
Trekkies (or is it Trekkers?) upset that the last episode of Picard screened this week might find solace in the news that Patrick Stewart is videoing himself daily reading Shakespeare’s sonnets in order. You can watch them via his Facebook page and his Twitter stream.
To A (Computer) Mouse
The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow has kindly made available via their website an online course on – wha else? – Robert Burns. The course, which is free, ‘will introduce you to the life, works and global celebrity of Robert Burns. You’ll examine poems, songs, manuscripts, and objects used to commemorate the poet.’
Poet Luke Wright is currently performing a live poetry set on Twitter every night at 8pm in the UK. If you like what you see and hear you can donate to him via this link. And you can see him on his Twitter here.
While we’re on the subject of Luke Wright, it might be worth mentioning we recorded a podcast with him in 2014 which you can still hear on our website if you will but click this link.
Stay At Home Festival
The Stay At Home Festival kicks off today and runs until 11 April. An entire festival without you having to leave your living room, including a healthy presence for poetry. And it’s FREE. It features workshops, readings, panels and Q&A sessions. Poets include Jacqueline Saphra. Rishi Dastidar and some bloke called Samuel Tongue. See the programme here and their Twitter here.
Actor and all-round good egg Samuel West has been reading poems to lift the spirits using the hastag #PandemicPoems as a way to find them. You can access his recordings via his Twitter page (click here) or via Soundcloud (click here).
Another online festival, the Isolation Festival, will consist of a curated selection of readings, released daily, from both new and established performers. These will be posted on Youtube, and embedded into this site. It will run from 16 to 19 April. They’re looking for contributors, so head on over to the website and learn how you can apply to take part. Submissions to become a performer are open until midnight on the 6 April.
Read All About It
The Association of Scottish Literary Studies has made several of their titles free to download and read as e-books. Find out more here.
If you’re in the mood for a variety of poetry readings, the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts has made available films of readings by Jo Shapcott, Malika Booker, Ilya Kaminsky, Patricia Smith and more. Check the films out here.
Part of These are the Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS, an anthology of poems written by NHS staff and well known poets. All proceeds from the book sales go to NHS Charities Together Emergency Covid-19 fund.
BBC Radio Scotland’s The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon Show is showcasing Scotland’s artists, writers and performers because ‘now, more than ever, we need them to help make sense of the world.’ This week, heard from poets Iona Lee and Kevin P Gilday. You can hear them via The Afternoon Show’s Twitter stream.