On today's podcast I am speaking with the award winning author, James Harpur about his new collection of poetry called The Examined Life.
In this episode James reads from his poetry book some of the poems which detail what life was like for him at boarding school in the 1970s.
James Harpur is an award winning poet who has had six poetry collections published by Carcanet and Anvil Press. He is also a member of Aosdana, the Irish academy of arts.
The awards he has won include: the Vincent Buckley Prize, a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship, and the UK National Poetry Competition.
His work has appeared in the national press, including The Irish Times, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and The Independent.
His books include The White Silhouette (2018), an Irish Times Book of the Year, Angels and Harvesters (2012), which was a PBS Recommendation and shortlisted for the 2013 Irish Times Award; and The Dark Age (2007) which won the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize.
Here are some of the topics and poems that James talks about:
1 Introduction. 00.0
How James came to write his book as an account of his ‘tribe’.
2Why boarding school? 7.45
Why did James’s parents send him to one?
3. Homesickness. 15.30
First few weeks at school and the change from family life.
Poem: ‘The Payphone Trap’
4 Family Situation. 24.25
James’s parents splitting up at the start of his school career.
5 Boarding School challenges. 35.00
James as an introvert in relentless public space; dormitories; prefects, etc.
Poems: ‘Middle Dormitory: Passover’ & ‘Senior Dormitory: Faust’
6. Positive aspects of school. 47.30
Camaraderie, influence of good masters …
Poem: ‘Senior Dormitory: Monday Morning’
7 Under Pressure. 57.15
Different types of pressure, e.g exams. James’s ‘breakdown’ …
Poem: ‘The Active Voice’
8. Boarding School in the 1970s. 1.07.30
Early 1970s still in the hippie era, but also industrial strife and the Troubles – what was that like?
9. The Feminine Principle. 1.16.01
School was almost entirely an all-boys’ school with an absence of the feminine.
PP: ‘Sex Education: ‘Terra Incognita’
In order to purchase James' book: :
Reviews for book:
The Examined Life
‘Insanely courageous.’ The Spectator
'Beautifully crafted and searingly honest.’ Dublin Review of Books
‘Haunted and haunting …’ The Irish Times
Piers is an author and a men's transformational coach and therapist who works mainly with trauma, boarding school issues, addictions and relationship problems.
He also runs online men's groups for ex-boarders, retreats and a podcast called An Evolving Man.
He is also the author of How to Survive and Thrive in Challenging Times. To purchase Piers first book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Survive-Thrive-Challenging-Times/dp/B088T5L251/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=piers+cross&qid=1609869608&sr=8-1
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