DESCANT ON RAWTHEYS MADRIGAL,  TO HONOUR NORTHUMBRIAN POET BASIL BUNTING
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DESCANT ON RAWTHEYS MADRIGAL,  TO HONOUR NORTHUMBRIAN POET BASIL BUNTING

DESCANT ON RAWTHEYS MADRIGAL, TO HONOUR NORTHUMBRIAN POET BASIL BUNTING

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The Beacon

67-68 Saint Mary's Terrace

Hastings, United Kingdom

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FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER 7.30pm THE BEACON 67–68 St Mary’s Terrace, Hastings Doors open at 6.00pm for supper menu

Descant on Rawthey’s Madrigal an evening of poetry, film & music in honour of Northumbrian poet Basil Bunting



Stuart Montgomery, Maggie O’Sullivan, John James, Grasscut,  Tom Pickard and Nicholas Johnson


Basil Bunting

A Quaker poet who played General Franco at chess, imprisoned (for the first time) as conscientious objector, but later a wing commander, M16 spy, balloon operator, Persian scholar, translator, friend to Pound, Zukofsky, MacDiarmid, Niedecker; poet of Briggflatts, The Spoils, Villon, and Odes. Filmed by Philip Trevelyan (The Moon and the Sledgehammer ). Published by Poetry Chicago, Fulcrum, Bloodaxe, and this summer also by Faber.



Maggie O’Sullivan and Nicholas Johnson open a performance inspired by poet Basil Bunting.

John James heard Bunting read Briggflatts in draft form in 1965 in Michael Shayer’s flat in Worcester. Circe is a poem, a good one, very much alive, wrote Basil Bunting on Stuart Montgomery’s Circe. At 20 Tom Pickard published The Spoils in the Morden Tower Book Room. Stuart Montgomery was Bunting’s first English publisher at Fulcrum. 1 inch ½ mile, Grasscut’s debut, wove Bunting’s reading voice into their music.


“Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself.” –Basil Bunting


Documentary film maker and poet Tom Pickard, writer of books like Fuckwind, High on the Walls, Hoyoot and Winter Migrants. Pickard's artistic lineage stretches back to Allen Ginsberg, the border ballads, Lindisfarne, the legendary Morden Tower - and - Basil Bunting.


Maggie O’Sullivan’s visceral vernacular (‘carnal thickness’) tills the inter-indigenous brainscape of Celtic/ Northumbrian/Welsh/ Gaelic / Scots / Irish / Anglo / Saxon… It’s not that O’Sullivan writes directly ‘in’ any one of the languages ‘of these Isles,’ but that they form a foundational ‘force field’ out of which her own distinctive language emerges, as figure set against its grounding...” –Charles Bernstein “


Stuart Montgomery’s book Circe channels Homer’s Odyssey; for Montgomery’s public readings of it were highly influential. Stuart Montgomery will have given a complete reading of Circe, earlier in the day.


. “These poems, sensuous and crafted sing of the sea. They are chiseled into shape and swell with echoes like a conch shell held to the ear telling the ancient story.” –Tom Pickard


John James’ work is like a vigorous breath of fresh air, full of variety, humour and surprise. It has a strong sense of lyricism and energy, a striking mixture of the experimental and the immediate that brings to mind the work of Mayakovsky or the New York poets.” –Charles Bainbridge


Nicholas Johnson usually write long poems and assemblages. These include The Lard Book, a gargantuan visual book on tracing paper in a silver case. This was occasioned by the upside-down handwriting of clairvoyant NY poet Hannah Weiner and the 1996 BSE crisis. “Extraordinary poetry.” –Alice Notley

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The Beacon

67-68 Saint Mary's Terrace

Hastings, United Kingdom

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