Shakespeare and Poetry

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I can’t help thinking of Shakespeare as a poet first and a playwright second. I know we all of us want Shakespeare to do both equally well, but I think first and foremost his mind and imagination were alive with poetic and rhetorical possibilities. The first time he breaks into print is with the long and erotic poem Venus and Adonis in 1593. It was the most successful of all his publications during his lifetime. When plays are performed I am captivated by dramatic action and story-telling: the spectacle, the crises and the emotion. It’s rare, I think, for us properly to hear a live performance in the way we suppose people did in Shakespeare’s own time. So how can we best appreciate the power of his poetry? Well, audio recordings can help, and the very best live performances will bring us close to the sound and feeling of Shakespeare’s poetry. As I write, I’ve just put the finishing touches to the 57th The Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival (14 July to 1 August), an opportunity for us to celebrate poetry in the town of the greatest poet of them all. Why not watch the video and let me know what you think?

 

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson
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  • http://bloggingshakespeare.com Paul Edmondson

    The poems submitted by primary school children in time for Shakespeare's birthday have already been selected and open the festival on Wednesday 14 July. Anyone can turn up and read either their own work or anyone else's for the Local Poets' Evening on Tuesday 20 July at 7.30pm. Come early, if you want to read!

  • melissaleon

    Hi Paul I am looking forward to the Poetry Festival. Can regular people send in poems to or just students? Also does it have to be on a specific theme?

  • http://twitter.com/Paul_Edmondson Paul_Edmondson

    The poems submitted by primary school children in time for Shakespeare's birthday have already been selected and open the festival on Wednesday 14 July. Anyone can turn up and read either their own work or anyone else's for the Local Poets' Evening on Tuesday 20 July at 7.30pm. Come early, if you want to read!

  • melissaleon

    Hi Paul I am looking forward to the Poetry Festival. Can regular people send in poems to or just students? Also does it have to be on a specific theme?

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