78 episodes

Radio 3's cabaret of the word, featuring the best poetry, new writing and performance

The Verb BBC

    • Society & Culture

Radio 3's cabaret of the word, featuring the best poetry, new writing and performance

    Hotel

    Hotel

    Welcome to Hotel Verb. Checking in with Ian McMillan this week are novelist Eimear McBride. Eimear won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction for her debut novel 'A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing'. Since then, she's spent a lot of time in hotels, inspiring her new novel 'Strange Hotel' (Faber), in which the hotel becomes a metaphor for middle age.

    Joining Eimear is Andy Miller, author of 'The Year of Reading Dangerously' and presenter of the Backlisted Podcast. Andy Miller celebrates his favourite author, Anita Brookner, and her Booker Prize-winning classic novel, 'Hotel du Lac'

    And Roger Luckhurst is the author of 'Corridors: Passages of Modernity', on corridors, 'Monster hotels', and the the fictional hotel corridors that populate our imaginations.

    Presenter: Ian McMillan
    Producer: Jessica Treen

    • 48 min
    Jan Morris

    Jan Morris

    In a special extended conversation with Ian McMillan, the travel writer Jan Morris looks back over a career in writing that has spanned seven decades and explains what it is that keeps her returning to her writing desk every day at the age of 91. Jan Morris has just published 'Battleship Yamato: Of War, Beauty and Irony' (Pallas Athene) - it's the story of a ship that has always fascinated her, but, as she tells Ian, more importantly it is a portrait of the ship as an allegory for war itself. Jan has always been interested in allegory, as she says 'everything turns out to have more than one meaning'.

    Jan takes us inside her writing practice, including discussion of her strong musical sense (she even sings sentences aloud), her love of the exclamation mark and why three is the magic number when it comes to writing drafts. Finally, after a life-time of making connections and putting them into words, and considering what she believes is the 'self-centred' nature of her job, Jan is an advocate for 'kindness', which she calls 'the ultimate virtue'.

    Presenter: Ian McMillan
    Producer: Penny Boreham.

    • 44 min
    Native American Writing

    Native American Writing

    Poets Layli Long Soldier who is Oglala Lakota, and Natalie Diaz who is Mojave, join Ian McMillan for a programme in which they explore the power of pleasure, the effect of recurring images - and the way language can fall short in conveying apology. Professor Sarah Rivett explores the profound impact that Algonquin languages have had on the European mindset, and on the culture of the USA.

    • 44 min
    Goodness

    Goodness

    How can writers make 'goodness' compelling, as a theme or character trait ? Why is virtue-signalling seen as a negative thing? Is poetry the best form for exploring goodness? And do we need more writing about goodness, and more imaginative imagery for it'? Ian McMillan is joined by guests Toby Litt, Will Harris, Kate Fox and Kelcey Wilson-Lee.

    Presenter: Ian McMillan
    Producer: Faith Lawrence

    • 47 min
    Puns and Wordplay

    Puns and Wordplay

    Puns have a long history in human writing. Most of us recognise them as those little gems of comedy genius that make you laugh, or groan, but they're useful for being more than just funny, they're also fundamental to what makes poetry work and they provide the engine of change in language by allowing ideas to slip from one meaning to another. Artist and composer Hannah Catherine Jones, comedy writer Jack Bernhardt, poet Nasser Hussain and Sam Leith - Literary editor of The Spectator - join Ian Macmillan to reveal the linguistic power of the pun.

    • 46 min
    The World of Poetry Publishing

    The World of Poetry Publishing

    A must for those who submit poetry and fiction to presses and magazines - the Verb takes a deep dive into the language of the poetry publishing world. It's a vibrant landscape, with publishers like Carcanet celebrating 50 years in business, and a whole host of smaller presses and magazine publishers thriving both online and in print. Many of the people behind the scenes are poets and writers themselves, including our guests. They explore the 'poetry' words that inexplicably appear in submissions, the balance between writing and editing, and how to write book blurbs without using the word 'exciting'.

    Ian is joined by Michael Schmidt, Peter Sansom, Malachi McIntosh, and Nell Nelson.

    Presenter: Ian McMillan
    Producer: Faith Lawrence

    • 45 min

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