Category: Radio 4

Listen to contrasting performances of Sassoon’s poetry

By , June 9, 2010 2:43 pm

A special edition of the long running BBC Radio 4 programme ”Poetry Please” was broadcast on Sunday. It was recorded in April on location here in the Cambridge University Library.

The programme consists of a discussion about Sassoon and his poetry between poet Roger McGough and archivist John Wells, interspersed with readings delivered by the actor David Bamber (Rome, Pride and Prejudice).
You can currently listen to the programme via the BBC’s website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sl3y3#synopsis
The programme will be broadcast again at 11:30 p.m. this coming Saturday (12 June).

David Bamber’s style of delivery is highly dramatic and in stark contrast to the delivery of Sassoon himself as exhibited in two recordings available on the ”Poetry Archive” website. The website is the result of a project begun by Andrew Motion when Poet Laureate to make recordings of poets reading their own works accessible via the internet. There are two recordings of Sassoon in which he reads ”The Dug Out” and ”Everyone Sang”:
http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoet.do?poetId=1561.

 If you wish to compare the readings directly David Bamber reads the ”Dug Out” 21 minutes, 36 seconds into the programme and ”Everyone Sang” at 27 minutes, 47 seconds.

Sassoon’s Poetry Please

By , May 22, 2010 3:43 pm

David Bamber (left) and Roger McGough during the recording of 'Poetry Please' in the University Library.

A team from BBC Radio 4′s ‘Poetry Please’ visited the Library in April to record two programmes based on our holdings of manuscript poetry.

The second of these programmes, due to be broadcast on Sunday 6 June at 16.30 (and repeated at 23.30 on Saturday 12 June), focusses exclusively on the writings of Siegfried Sassoon, as represented in the Sassoon manuscript collections here.

The presenter, poet Roger McGough, was shown treasures from our recently-acquired archive of Sassoon’s papers, MS Add. 9852, together with items from Sassoon collections accessioned in earlier years. Actor David Bamber (whose television roles include Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Cicero in Rome) voiced a selection of Sassoon’s poems, as well as the ‘Soldier’s declaration’, Sassoon’s 1917 statement protesting against the continuation of the First World War.

The recording took place in the Library’s Sir Geoffrey Keynes Room, a fitting venue given Keynes’s close links with Sassoon and involvement with the publication of many of his small press poetry editions, from Vigils onwards.