Shakespeare and Company

Poets Richard Barnett and Luke Kennard in conversation

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Episode notes

This week Adam is joined by poets Richard Barnett and Luke Kennard. Richard Barnet’s WHEREVER WE ARE WHEN WE COME TO THE END is an imagining of the experience of the young Ludwig Wittgenstein in the First World War, recounted in the same austere and succinct statements as the philosopher’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, the initial notes for which were taken during the conflict. The result is an affecting examination of love, duty and violence that had such a strong impact on me that it sent me back to investigate Wittgenstein’s writing with fresh eyes. Sarah Bakewell called WHEREVER WE ARE WHEN WE COME TO THE END “ingenious, devastating and filled with emotional riches.”Luke Kennard’s NOTES ON THE SONNETS, revisits Shakespeare’s poetry in a chain of prose poems set in a British house party. The party is a contradictory beast—at once crushingly dull yet flecked with the absurd, at once sprawling yet intensely claustrophobic. Kennard’s poems embody these contradictions too, they somehow manage to be superficial yet profound, charmingly insolent yet glacially serious, knowingly pretentious yet deeply insecure and self-critical, and they take in almost every subject under the stars. NOTES ON THE SONNETS was a Poetry Book Society recommendation, and recently won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2021.Buy WHEREVER WE ARE WHEN WE COME TO THE END here: NOTES ON THE SONNETS here: our online store here: a Friend of S&Co here: https:/*Richard Barnett is a poet and historian. He taught the history of science and medicine at Cambridge, UCL, and Oxford for more than a decade, and his history books include Medical London, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and The Sick Rose, an international bestseller.His first poetry collection Seahouses was published by Valley Press in 2015, and was short-listed for the Poetry Business Prize. His next poetry publication was Wherever We Are When We Come to the End, a poetic experiment digging into the form and language of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, published in May 2021.Luke Kennard has published five collections of poetry. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2007. He lectures at the University of Birmingham. In 2014 he was selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of the Next Generation Poets. His debut novel, The Transition, is published in 2017 by Fourth Estate.Adam Biles is Literary Director at Shakespeare and Company. Buy a signed copy of his novel FEEDING TIME here: to Alex Freiman’s Play It Gentle here: Get bonus content on Patreon

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