Land of Three Rivers Events
‘My anthology of the year was Neil Astley’s Land of Three Rivers, which mingled some of the best English poets of the 20th century (such as WH Auden and Basil Bunting) with lesser-known talents such as Lilian Bowes Lyon, cousin to the Queen Mother. Astley also includes popular song, from ballads to Dire Straits, in a treasury that absorbs and enriches.’ – Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times (Poetry Books of the Year 2017)
Neil Astley's anthology Land of Three Rivers: The Poetry of North-East England was published by Bloodaxe on Friday 10 November. It was launched at Magnetic North East concert at Sage Gateshead 10 November. This wonderful concert, reviewed on Write Out Loud here, included performances of poems and songs from the anthology by Jimmy Nail, Martin Longstaff of The Lake Poets and others including piper Kathryn Tickell, who set one poem to music.
The anthology maps the region in poetry and song, with its title taken from Vin Garbutt's folk ballad in praise of the land of 'the Tyne, Wear and Tees', but extends its coverage to the Tweed to the north and the Pennines to the west. Poems are grouped together by place, starting at Hadrian’s Wall, and ending in Cleveland, with sections on the border region, Northumberland, Newcastle, Durham, Teesdale and Teesside along the way. As well as poetry, it also includes some classic North-East songs both traditional and modern, from the oral tradition of balladeers such as ‘The Keel Row’ and ‘Bobby Shafto’, to lyrics from songs by Jimmy Nail, Mark Knopfler and Sting. At the Sage Gateshead concert, Jimmy Nail read Sting's lyrics, and then sang his own 'Big River' which is also included in the anthology.
Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, Thursday 8 Feburary 2018, 7.15pm (Time TBC)
Culture Lab, Newcastle University
Land of Three Rivers: The Poetry of North East England Anthology Launch
Land of Three Rivers (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) is a celebration of North-East England in poetry, featuring its places and people, culture, history, language and stories in poems and songs with both rural and urban settings. Taking its bearings from the Tyne, Wear and Tees, the book maps the region in poems relating to past and present, depicting life from Roman times through medieval Northumbria and the industrial era of mining and shipbuilding up to the present day. Celebratory launch at NCLA, featuring many poets included in the anthology.
Free event, but please book by 7 February.
Click here for more information.
Click here to read Neil Astley's interview with the Hexham Courant in which he speaks about the background to the anthology.
Click here to read an interview with Northumbrian piper and Radio 3 broadcaster Kathryn Tickell, a Director of Magnetic North East, online at Folk Radio UK.
Kathryn spoke about Magnetic North East, which celebrates and promotes the distinctive cultural identity of the North East of England, and about the forthcoming anthology Land of Three Rivers from Bloodaxe, which is being launched at Magnetic North East’s event at Sage Gateshead on Friday 10 November.
“I am SO excited about that. Bloodaxe are the premiere poetry publishers in the UK, they are based in rural Northumberland but had never done an anthology of Northeast poetry. I’ve been badgering them and lobbying for it for years and it’s actually happening. It’s not just straight ‘poetry’ but includes a few songs, both traditional and modern – from Border Ballads to Jimmy Nail’s Big River as well as all the great NE poems…and loads more you’d never think of. Of course, it’s ended up being twice the size it was originally meant to be – there’s just so much good stuff out there. It’s going to be an incredible new resource – Bede, Bunting, Auden, Wilfrid Gibson, Tom Pickard, Katrina Porteous, Richard Dawson, Julia Darling, Philip Larkin’s poem about Bellingham Show…all sorts of goodies!” – Kathryn Tickell [on Land of Three Rivers]
[19 January 2018]