Icons & Influences: John Wilson with Jehnny Beth and Simon Armitage

09th June 2018 18:30
Hall One, Kings Place
90 York Way
Join BBC arts commentator John Wilson for his self-curated evening with fierce frontwoman of post-punk band Savages Jehnny Beth and renowned poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage as they tear up the lines between poetry and lyrics, one letter at a time. Discussing the finer points of poetic prose and songwriting, Wilson, Beth and Armitage look at how the two forms feed into each other, their depth of overlap and points of conflict.

Known for her darkly glamorous style and ferocious stage presence, French-born Beth is credited for the raw and at times violent lyricism that gave Savages their unique branding. Beth is very vocal about her love for poetry and credits a lot of her writing influences to literature, naming Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath and early British war poetry as amongst her inspirations.

Simon Armitage CBE is one of the most feted, studied and widely read contemporary English poets of our time, and a self-confessed ‘rockstar fantasist’. He considers both music and poetry core to his being and has released a number of albums with his band The Scaremongers.

Wilson specialises in music-related interviews and has interviewed countless musicians over his varied and extensive career. Following last year’s sold out event with PJ Harvey and Don Paterson, Wilson continues his investigation with us into the correlation between poetry and music.

This event is presented as part of Poetry & Lyrics Festival 2018.

John Wilson is a broadcaster and journalist, best known as presenter of BBC Radio 4’s nightly arts show Front Row. He has interviewed many of the biggest names in art, music, film, and literature – from Kate Bush and David Bowie, to artist Ai Wei Wei and Nobel Prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. He is also the host of the acclaimed music series Mastertapes, guests of which have included Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, Emeli Sande and many more. John joined us at Poetry & Lyrics 2017 to host Don Paterson and PJ Harvey in conversation.

Simon Armitage was a punk rocker before he burst onto the national poetry scene. A former probation officer, Armitage is an award-winning poet, lyricist, playwright and memoirist. His accolades include the BAFTA-winning Feltham Sings for which he received a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Armitage has published a dozen collections of poetry including Paper Aeroplane and The Unaccompanied. His acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has sold over one hundred thousand copies. Armitage’s popular memoirs include Gig: The Life and Times of a Rock-star Fantasist, about the formation of his band The Scaremongers. He is a regular contributor on BBC Radio 6 Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie. His latest musical project was with Land Yacht Regatta. Armitage is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds and was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford in 2015. He was awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010.

Widely considered one of the most powerful women in modern rock, Jehnny Beth doesn’t hold back. As front-person in the band Savages, she championed sexual exploration and self-empowerment while challenging the cliches surrounding what it means to be women in a band. French-born Beth also runs the label Pop-Noire records and has written and appeared on releases with Gorillaz, The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, and Anders Trentmoeller. She has toured the world with Savages and performed onstage with The XX, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz and Primal Scream. In addition to hosting and producing her own Beats1 show Start Making Sense, Jehnny is currently working on new music at her studio in Paris.

We invite you to join us for a FREE performance from Daudi Matsiko preceding Icons & Influences from 5.45-6.30PM.

British-Ugandan singer songwriter Daudi Matsiko’s raw vocals and poetic lyricism, underlaid with nimble, melancholic rhythm present a fresh yet reverent style of folk.
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