Radio 3's cabaret of the word, featuring the best poetry, new writing and performance
New Rules for Writing - Manifesto Launch
We reveal our new 'Rules for Writing' - six ideas to inspire, excite, and to break!
The musician and songwriter Damon Albarn - and award-winning poets Don Paterson and Elizabeth-Jane Burnett - all join Ian McMillan to illustrate these provocations, which are designed to help launch a new era of poetry, story-writing and performance. The composer and producer Gerry Diver has also contributed a piece of sound art inspired by the cadences of the human voice called 'You May be Mistaken'.
Across our 'Experiments in Living' season, The Verb asked over a hundred guests ( including Margaret Atwood, Yanis Varoufakis, Claudia Rankine and Simon Armitage ) for their ideas about how we might write most powerfully, and creatively in these times. Certain themes surfaced again and again, including time, uncertainty, the non-human world, and listening. Find out how they made their way into our manifesto, and inspired our six new rules.
The Keepnet Verb - Experiments in Living
Ian McMillan is joined by Anita Sethi, Kate Fox, Ira Lightman, and Tom Chatfield to explore the language of time, listening and uncertainty and to celebrate the most compelling ideas that have been gathered into the Verb's 'keepnet' over the last year. This is the final summit of our 'Experiments in Living' season, before we reveal our writing manifesto in the autumn.
Writer and journalist Anita Sethi reads from her book 'I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain' , the story of how a race-hate crime on a train led her to undertake a series of journeys through northern landscapes. Anita discusses the importance of thinking about deep time and the natural world, and listening as an act of restoration.
Technology philosopher Tom Chatfield's new book is called 'How to Think' and it touches on many of the themes that have been surfacing and resurfacing on The Verb over the last year, including 'uncertainty' and the way language can help us think clearly about technology and ecology.
Our regular Verb guests, the poets Ira Lightman and Kate Fox also join us for the season's coda programme. Kate shares a new collage poem which contains the words spoken by our guests at 20 minutes and 21 seconds within each of our Verb recordings - to see what it might reveal about the thinking of our guests in this challenging year. Ira helps us think about language and time and reads a brand new commission for The Verb which we hope will help us futureproof our manifesto.
How to Write a Manifesto - Experiments in Living
What makes a good manifesto? Are they better if they are sloganeering or questioning? Radio 1's Greg James and co-writer Chris Smith's new book is like a manifesto for the imagination, Malika Booker co-founded a poetry workshop that has transformed the literary landscape, and Kathryn Williams' songs always chart new territory - they join Ian McMillan to help him shape The Verb Manifesto which will be launched in the autumn.
Malika Booker founded the poetry workshop 'Malika's Poetry Kitchen' alongside fellow poet Robert Robinson twenty years ago, inspired in part by the American writer June Jordan's ideas in 'Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Handbook' . The workshop has included many of our most exciting poets, and an anthology celebrating the workshop is published on 5th August, called 'Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different' ( edited by Maisie Lawrence and Rishi Dastidar).
Greg James and Chris Smith have turned an idea that came to Greg in a dream, into a novel for children called 'The Great Dream Robbery'. With a an acute ear for the sound of language, and a Dadaist expertise in the absurd , Greg and Chris celebrate the power of the imagination and the power of Llamas ( with bananas) - but will these things make it into our manifesto?
Celebrated for her songwriting, Kathryn Williams' first novel 'The Ormering Tide' (Wrecking Ball Press) may have a listening manifesto at its heart. Its narrator is a curious listener, both to the natural world, and the people on her island. It's Rozel's listening which gives the reader hints of something mysterious that happened a long time ago -and which unsettles the present. As Kathryn has such an acute sensitivity to place, we asked her to write a special song to celebrate the places where manifestos are conceived.
The Politics Verb - Experiments in Living
Ian McMillan is joined by the Labour Party politician Ed Miliband, by ambassador for ‘Compassion in Politics’ Jackie Weaver ( Jackie recently shot to fame after a parish council meeting went viral), by writer Emilie Robson with a 'Verb Drama' featuring an existentialist cat, and by our regular guest, stand-up poet Kate Fox.
How do they think the language of politics could change to become more compassionate? And what about their perception of the word ‘authority’? Can writers help us see it differently? And why did the young Ed Miliband love the 1980s US soap opera Dallas so much - which was all about the power and authority exerted by Stetson-wearing characters like JR Ewing?
Tree Thinking - Experiments in Living
Ian McMillan on the language we use to think and write about trees and the kind of thinking we do alongside them - with forester and environmentalist Peter Wohlleben whose books include 'The Hidden Life of Trees', poet and academic Jason Allen-Paisant, bestselling novelist Sarah Moss, and Scots language specialist and Makar of the North East, Sheena Blackhall.
Producer: Ruth Thomson
Time Scales - Experiments in Living
Ian McMillan on how language and poetry affect our perception of time.
In this Verb he explores the language of slowness with Oxford University geographer Professor Danny Dorling, asks poet Rachael Boast to read time-bending poetry from her new collection 'Hotel Raphael' (and also to take us deep into the different time-modes and time-zones inhabited by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge). Philosopher Roman Krznaric explains how to write about future time and how to be a good ancestor, and Verb regular, stand-up poet Kate Fox offers an insight into the smooth running of book groups for other species: the slow-reading flies, and the fast-reading deep sea isopods.
Suggestions for a time-themed Book Club:
Danny Dorling - Slowdown
Roman Krznaric - The Good Ancestor
Rachael Boast - Hotel Raphael
Everything a good podcast could be
Each episode is interesting, entertaining, educational and varied. I love listening. Thanks for putting it on!!
Great Tim Minchin interview
Just listened to the interview with Tim Minchin. Delving into the writing process was fascinating. You did an excellent job of just guiding it and allowing Tim to be himself.
All of the podcast subjects seem interesting, and I’m a new subscriber from Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
I did wonder, did you get a Yamaha Grand for the interview or use a studio piano?
Your new fan,
An entertaining conversation