EMILIA BASSANO LANIER: SHAKESPEARE’S DARK LADY

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Poet Niall McDevitt tells the widely known but little appreciated story of Emilia Bassano, Shakespeare’s lifelong muse, and – as Emilia Lanier – the first woman to publish a book of original poetry in England.

In the heart of London McDevitt will evoke the world of Emilia and her contemporaries in the Elizabethan-Jacobean Renaissance. He will explore what we know of Lanier’s relationship with Shakespeare, how her influence can be pinpointed from the earliest to the final plays, and how she was ‘discovered’ in the 1970s by the maverick Elizabethan scholar AL Rowse.

Emilia Bassano was born into the illustrious Bassano family, musicians who had been induced to emigrate to England by Henry VIII himself. Their Italian and Sephardic Jewish ancestry accounted for the complexion that gave rise to the legend of the ‘Dark Lady’.

McDevitt will explain the schism in Lanier studies between some scholars who teach her poetry but refuse to accept the idea she is the character from Shakespeare’s sonnets 127-154, and yet others who feel that here at last the mystery is solved. As an aside, McDevitt will also quickly dismiss the lunatic fringe who claim Emilia Lanier wrote Shakespeare.

What emerges is the vista of a fascinating friendship between a male and female writer which forces us to think of Shakespeare and Lanier as something akin to the modern literary partnerships of Robert Graves and Laura Riding, or Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. McDevitt will argue that the high minded cadences of Lanier’s Salve Deus Rex Judeaorum (1611) are a deliberate riposte to Shakespeare’s scurrilous portrait of her in Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609).

McDevitt will examine the work they wrote in the light of their connection, contrasting the controlled religious poetry of Lanier with the sometimes unhinged sonnets of Shakespeare.

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. (147)

Meeting outside Tower Hill tube station by the statue of Trajan at 2pm. The walk will last approx. two and a half hours and finish within walking distance of Shoreditch station or Old Street tube. £10

http://www.thenewriverpress.com/events-1/emilia-bassano-lanier-shakespeares-dark-lady

Group bookings are available most weekdays and evenings: 077221638823

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THE SQUARE MILE SHAKESPEARE

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Poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt commemorates the month of Shakespeare’s birth and death with his much imitated but never equalled walk THE SQUARE MILE SHAKESPEARE.

McDevitt proves that you don’t have to go to Stratford-on-Avon or Bankside to follow the trail of our finest writer. We are taught about the messy London in which he lived, about the Elizabethan and the Jacobean Shakespeare, the cautious, wise, and almost neurotic man beyond the plays, as well as his very specific place within the city’s society during his lifetime.

Under a beautiful marble statue of the First Folio, McDevitt will argue that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, dismissing the Marlowe theory as ‘cobblers’ and the Bacon theory as ‘not kosher’.

Meeting outside Blackfriars Station (north entrance) on Sat 21 and Sat 28 April at 2pm. The walk will last approx. two hours and finish at Barbican.

We will process to the Sir John Oldcastle in Farringdon for a well-earned cup of sack.

http://www.thenewriverpress.com/events-1/william-shakespeare-saturday-walks

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THE POETS OF HAMMERSMITH

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Poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt takes an epic walk from border to border of Hammersmith Borough through a half century of poetry.

The great poets who’ve lived in Hammersmith include John Milton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Morris and WB Yeats.

There are stories of black magic, drug addiction, riverside rent-boys and double suicide attempts at such sites as ‘The Isis-Urania Temple’ and ‘The Madhouse of Hammersmith’. Other poets in a stellar cast include such modern giants as Dylan Thomas, David Gascoyne, George Barker, Laura Riding, Robert Graves, WH Auden and Ezra Pound.

And there are the popular poets Ian Dury, Shane MacGowan, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley.

Sun Mar 25 and Sun April 1 Meeting at Kensington Olympia Station for 2pm. The walk will last approx. 2 hours and finish at Ravenscourt Park tube.

To book tickets via New River Press http://www.thenewriverpress.com/events-2/2018/3/4/march-4th-the-poets-of-hammersmith-kensington-olympia-station-niall-mcdevitt-london-poetry-walks

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POETS OF THE EMBANKMENT

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Poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt takes a walk of discovery along the Thames tracing the 700-year history of poets and poetry in the area.

Elizabethans, Romantics, Decadents and Beats feature prominently.

There are the geniuses of England: Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson; of Europe: Heine, Rimbaud, Verlaine; and America: Melville, Ginsberg, Dylan; as well as a bonus Robbie Burns from Scotland.

McDevitt tells the story of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt and how Geoffrey Chaucer luckily managed to escape death at the hands of the Kentish rebels.

But perhaps the most haunting figure is that of the doomed Ernest Dowson who inspired the title of Wilde’s most famous play.

Meeting Sat 24 March and Sat Mar 31 for 2pm in the churchyard of St Martin in the Fields., Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ. £10

The walk will last approx. two hours and will finish in The Olde Cheshire Cheese close to Blackfriars tube.

To book tickets via New River Press: http://www.thenewriverpress.com/events-2/

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Niall McDevitt

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GEORGE BARKER, PENTAMETERS THEATRE

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JOIN US IN CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND WORK OF GEORGE BARKER (1913-1991)

with

JEREMY REED

PAUL SAKOILSKY

NIALL McDEVITT

Music:
GODFREY OLD
Hostess:
LEONIE SCOTT-MATTHEWS

MON 26 FEBRUARY, PENTAMETERS THEATRE, 28 HEATH STREET, HAMPSTEAD, LONDON NW3
8pm
£5

http://www.pentameters.co.uk/WhatsOn.html

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THE SHILL

 

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behind the illustrious man a shadow squats

behind the tenured man of academe

a shadow shits

what a shadow does not clean up

how can followers know?

how can flatterers see

his feet

not just of clay but cloven?

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

behind the public intellect, a human anus

behind the chambered mind, a serpent’s tail

behind the red facade, a bourgeois grabs

de luxe materials with padded hands

a camouflage

of silks and tweeds and cashmeres

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

and everyday at MONEYCORP

he keys in his pin number

fattening the golden calf

of his wallet with bribery fodder

*

he eats 1000 ducks

his cheeks hamster-stuffed with dim sum parcels

busily debriefing

his acolytes of gossip, information

a laptop cunningly records

anything to use against anyone

who does not see things

from his point of view

(i.e. through a spyglass darkly)

anything personal or impersonal

to his ends can be used

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

he tweets the lemon twist

of facts pressed through the juicer

of a big personality

with an even bigger disorder

observable in a microscope

the bacterium of his soul

so very small so very deadly

desperately devoid of hope:

a shill

programmed to play games

*

and sick of his false victimhood

squealed from a costume of truth

I turn back to my own humanity

for breath

from the anus, dragon-scaled

 

 

Poetry: Niall McDevitt

Art: Ralph Steadman (from STRIKE! Magazine Issue 1)

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THE LIFELONG DEATH OF TS ELIOT

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‘In my end is my beginning’ – Eliot in East Coker

The Lifelong Death of TS Eliot is a new walk by Niall McDevitt exploring the Kensington habitat of the American who was surprisingly voted ‘the nation’s favourite poet’ in a 2009 poll. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/10_october/08/poetry.shtml

Though Eliot is associated with Bloomsbury and with Carlyle Mansions on Chelsea Embankment, Kensington was his true London home both in his middle age and old age.

We will meet Eliot the church warden in his preferred Anglo-Catholic place of worship, Eliot the air-raid warden conducting fire drills in the streets, as well as Eliot the poet-publisher and practical joker.

McDevitt will tell the story of how his sequence The Kensington Quartets became better known as Four Quartets.

As January is the month in which Eliot died – and is also officially the most depressing month of the year – McDevitt will be offering four opportunities to go on this walk.

Sat 20 January, Sun 21 January, Sat 27 January and Sun 28 January.

Meeting 1pm outside Gloucester Road tube station. £10. The walk will last two hours and finish close to Kensington High Street tube station.

Eliot

Interlude in London

We hibernate among the bricks
And live across the window panes
With marmalade and tea at six
Indifferent to what the wind does
Indifferent to sudden rains
Softening last year’s garden plots.
And apathetic, with cigars
Careless, while down the street the spring goes
Inspiring mouldy flowerpots,
And broken flutes at garret windows.

TS Eliot

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