Wednesday, 16 September 2020

This Friday's Leap in the Dark

A Leap in the Dark 49 8pm Friday 18th September 2020 Auden & Company (This evening’s programme will be recorded) An evening in the company of W. H. Auden. The programme will feature some of his most celebrated poems and more off-trail writing that demonstrates his tremendous range as a poet, essayist, critic, journalist and all-round literary hack. We’ll have readings from regular Leapers Kevin Boniface, Georgia Boniface? Marie-Elsa Bragg, Susanna Crossman, Kevin Davey, Emma Devlin, Will Eaves, Rónán Hession, Frank Hopkins, Amy McCauley, J O Morgan, Noah, Dan O’Brien and Aea Varfis van-Warmelo. Stephan Bookas and Tristan Daws will introduce their short film Refugee Blues; a documentary poem and David Collard will refelct on two life-changing moments in Auden’s life. There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust. The Programme The Pale Usher welcomes you 1 Early Auden ‘Woods in Rain’(from Public School Verse, 1924) read by Frank Hopkins ‘The sprinkler on the lawn’ (from the privately-published Poems, 1928) read by David Collard ‘Who stands, the crux left of the watershed’ (from Poems, 1930) read by Kevin Boniface ‘Control of the passes was, he saw, the key’ (Poems, 1930) read by Kevin Davey ‘“O where are you going?” said reader to rider’ (October 1931) read by Emma Devlin Chorus from The Dog Beneath the Skin or Where is Francis? (1935) by W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood read by J O Morgan 2 The Vision of Agape The Pale Usher on Auden’s life-changing experience with readings by Marie-Elsa Bragg ‘Out on the lawn I lie in bed’ (from Look, Stranger!, 1936) read by Marie-Elsa Bragg 3 Vin Audenaire ‘Look, stranger, on this island now’ (from Look, Stranger!, 1936) read by Aea Varfis-van Warmelo ‘Now the leaves are falling fast’ (1936) read by Rónán Hession ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ (1938) read by Amy McCauley Interval   4 American Auden ‘September 1, 1939’ read by Dan O’Brien The Pale Usher on Auden’s second life-changing vision ‘Hell’ (1939) read by Marie-Elsa Bragg ‘Refugee Blues’ (1939) read by Noah, a refugee, in Refugee Blues - A Documentary Poem by Stephan Bookas and Tristan Daws. Introduced by Stephan and Tristan. ‘If I could tell you’ (December 1940) sung by Will Eaves ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’ (from For the Time Being, 1945) read by J O Morgan ‘The Fall of Rome’ (written 1947, from Nones, 1951) read by Susanna Crossman (pre-recorded) 5 Later Auden From the BBC archive: WHA and Stevie Smith in an Edinburgh pub (1965) Auden’s Eden (from ‘On Reading’ in The Dyer’s Hand, 1963) read by Kevin and Georgia Boniface ‘August 1968’ read by Dan O’Brien ‘Moon Landing’ (1969) read by W H Auden 6 Late Auden ‘A Lullaby’(1973) read by David Collard A recording of Auden's last reading, for the Österrieschische Gesellschaft für Literatur at Palais Palffy, Vienna on 28 September 1973. The Pale Usher signs off The Company Stephan Bookas is a London-based writer/director, producer and cinematographer. He has shot and directed award winning documentaries and short films across much of the globe including India, Siberia, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, China and North Korea and is currently working on multiple international fiction, animation and documentary projects. His short film Refugee Blues (2016) premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and has gone on to win numerous awards all over the world. Marie-Elsa Bragg is an author, priest, therapist and Duty Chaplain of Westminster Abbey. Her first novel, Towards Mellbreak, was about four generations of a quiet hill farming family on the North Western fells of Cumbria. Her second book, Sleeping Letters (2019) is the description of the the ritual of the Eucharist alongside a compilation of poetry, memoir and fragments of un-sent letters. Marie-Elsa has contributed articles and interviews for papers such as the Telegraph and the Church Times; Radio pieces for BBC Radio 4 and interviews for literary festivals and Story Vault Films. Kevin Boniface is an artist, writer and postman based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Over the years his work has taken the form of zines, exhibitions, artists’ books, short films and live performances. He is the author of Round About Town, published by Uniformbooks. Tristan Daws trained as a theatre director at London’s Drama Centre and worked in the theatre in London and Vienna, before going on to study film at the National Film and Television School. His work has been screened, and won awards, at several international film festivals including Berlinale, Full Frame, Visions du Reel, HotDocs, DocumentaMadrid and Sheffield DocFest. His films explore the borders between factual and narrative storytelling, seeking out a sense of the poetic in reality. Rónán Hession is a writer, musician and civil servant from Dublin. His debut novel Leonard and Hungry Paul (published by Bluemoose Books) has been nominated for the Irish Book Awards, British Book Awards, the BAMB awards, and long listed for the Republic of Consciousness prize. His third album Dictionary Crimes was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. He is currently completing work on his second novel Panenka, which will be published by Bluemoose in 2021.A third novel, Ghost Mountain, will appear in 2023. Michael Hughes is the author of two novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl. Amy McCauley is a poet and freelance writer. She is the author of OEDIPA (Guillemot Press, 2018) and 24/7 Brexitland (No Matter Press, 2020). Amy’s first full-length collection of poetry will be published by Henningham Family Press in 2021. J O Morgan lives on a small farm in the Scottish Borders. His first book, Natural Mechanical (CB Editions, 2009), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize; its sequel, Long Cuts (CB Editions, 2011), was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Award. His third book, At Maldon (CB Editions, 2013), takes its bearings from the Old English poem ‘The Battle of Maldon’. It re-imagines the short-lived battle that took place on the Essex coast in 991AD, when a ragtag army of Anglo-Saxons was mustered to defend their land from Viking raiders. In 2015, Morgan published In Casting Off (HappenStance Press), a poem-novella that tells a love story that is set within a remote fishing community. Interference Pattern, shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, appeared from Cape Poetry in 2016, and Assurances in 2018. Morgan's most recent work, The Martian's Regress (published by Cape in 2020) is set in the far future. Noah narrates Refugee Blues: a documentary poem by Stephan Bookas and Tristan Daws. A former child soldier in Uganda, he was living in the so-called ‘Jungle’ Sangatte, Calais. Dan O’Brien is an award-winning playwright and poet based in Los Angeles. CBe publishes his War Reporter, New Life and Scarsdale; essays forthcoming in 2021. Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actor and writer. The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gatherings. The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville The final Leap in the Dark(Saturday 19th September) re-unites the original Company who took part in the very first Leap on 29th February this year: Tim Etchells, David Henningham, Ping Henningham, Michael Hughes, Amy McCauley, Helen Ottaway, Melanie Pappenheim, Paul Stanbridge, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo, Tony White and Natalia Zagorska-Thomas. Stay well! The Pale Usher

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