RMSYL 47: Love III by George Herbert (read by Rachel Kelly)

Rachel Kelly reading George Herbert

“Something I find really moving is the timelessness of our struggles. Herbert probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed with a depressive illness, but we now know that he had terrible battles and internal struggles. To me this poem describes that perfectly. There’s something very powerful about holding hands across the centuries. Rachel Kelly


Rachel Kelly is a journalist and writer with a long standing interest in mental health. She worked at The Times for ten years as a reporter, feature writer and columnist, and then went on to create an acclaimed educational poetry app and accompanying anthology with Allie Esiri. Her most recent book ‘Black Rainbow’ (2014) describes how poetry helped her overcome depression.


Rachel’s website: http://www.rachelkelly.co.uk/
Black Rainbow: http://amzn.to/1n1tQMg

RMSYL 46: A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka (read by Kevin Porter)

The covenant of RMSYL has always been that of Mo going to the Mountain. Mo to the Mou, if you like. If you get in touch, and invite me round for a cuppa, as long as you don’t live in Timbuktu, I’ll be there (with a packet of biscuits[1]). But it’s also pretty darn special when the Mou comes to Mo. In this case, the Mou not only came to Mo, he came all the way from Wo. Wolverhampton that is. Well, pretty much so. The mountain didn’t of course come down from Wo just for Mo, he also came for Mu and , and ended up listening to a recording of some Dub. But that’s a tale for the next podcast. Regardless of where the Mou came from, it was a pleasure hanging out in his mountainous heights, depths, and Black Country vowels. I’m hoping to tempt him down again with a verse-reciting gig in a neo-Gothic chapel for National Poetry Day,  where he might wrap those multi-syllabizing, Wulfrunian vocal cords around 60 sonnety lines of Derek Mahon’s ‘Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’ (Mou has been memorising Ma and writing about this the last couple of weeks – a very good read that is too).

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. From Waitrose, if you’re lucky.

RMSYL 17: Incarnations of Burned Children by David Foster Wallace (read by Alex Preston)

Whenever I meet flesh-encased authors, I need to be careful not to refer to them by the book-embedded appelations I hold of them in my head.

Alex Preston is of course Alex ‘TBC’ Preston. Not because he is forever awaiting confirmation, but because his name is, for me, synonymous with This Bleeding City.

So how annoying when these livingbreathing writing folk then go and produce further novels, requiring redrafts of psychic categories. Continue reading


RMSYL 57: I Dwell In Possibilty by Emily Dickinson (read by Laura Barber)

LB3“Although this is specifically a poem that speaks about poetry and the powers of poetry, it also speaks to me about the powers of the imagination. And that’s something I prize in life enormously. What books bring to me is the possibility of not only imagining fictional worlds, but the possibility of imagining what it might be like for someone else, the possibility of empathy.” 


Laura Barber is the editor of four popular poetry anthologies – including the hugely successful Penguin’s Poems for Life – and former ‘Poetry Doctor’ at The School of Life. She is also Editorial Director at Granta Books where her interests range from literary fiction to memoir, reportage, travel, narrative history and nature writing,


Read the poem online: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182904
Laura’s Poetry Anthologies: http://amzn.to/1qlYlTX
Music used in the podcast: I dwell in possibility 

RMSYL 56: Aubade by Philip Larkin (recited by William Sieghart)

William Sieghart

“Death is something that has come to bite me quite a lot. As so often happens, people turn to poetry in times of grief and need, and therefore my connection to poetry has often been dealing with both loneliness and grieving. That’s perhaps what attracts me to this poem. It seems to say a lot about how I feel about the world and what I have to contend with myself.”  William Sieghart


William Sieghart is founder and Chairman of Forward Thinking, a London-based NGO founded in 2003. FT works with the leadership of all parties on both sides of the divide in the Israel/Palestine conflict.  He is also the founder of the Forward Poetry Prize, Britain’s largest prizes for poetry and National Poetry Day.


The Forward Arts Foundation: http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/
Forward Thinking: http://www.forwardthinking.org/
Read Aubade online: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178058
Music used in the podcast: Aubade