Literature Andrew Motion: Essex Clay

Wed 6 Jun | Doors 7pm | £12.50

Andrew Motion’s prose memoir, In the Blood (2006), was widely acclaimed, praised as ‘an act of magical retrieval’ (Daily Telegraph) and ‘a hymn to familial love’ (Independent). Now having left the UK’s shores, Motion looks back once more to recreate a stunning biographical sequel but this time, in verse. Essex Clay rekindles, expands and gives a tragic resonance to subjects that have haunted Motion throughout his writing life. The poem’s wealth of physical detail and its narrative momentum make it as compelling as a fast-paced novel: a settling of accounts which admits that final resolutions are impossible.

Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009 and is co-founder of the online Poetry Archive; in 2015 he was appointed a Homewood Professor in the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including most recently the Ted Hughes Award (2015), and has published four celebrated biographies, a novella, The Invention of Dr Cake (2003) and a memoir, In the Blood (2006). Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009.

His recent collection The Customs House opens with a sequence of war poems, Laurels and Donkeys, which draws on soldiers’ experiences from the First and Second World wars, through to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Peace Talks included poems from the front, the home front & other territories. His radio feature Coming Home drew on conversations with soldiers returning from Afghanistan and was broadcast on BBC R4.

Recent books are a Poetry By Heart anthology and The New World, second in his Treasure Island trilogy. His long poem An Equal Voice is the text of a new war requiem, written by Sally Beamish and commissioned by the LSO

Until last year, Andrew Motion was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

‘Lucid, brilliant, melancholic… Motion’s most achieved collection’ David Morley, The Guardian

‘Motion’s greatest and most distinctive gift…is to look squarely at the world and describe it with a plain and unsentimental eloquence that makes world value seem all the more questionable.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Motion’s creative documentary approach proves frighteningly efficient in highlighting numerous, unexpected – and unreported – details of warfare, from 1914 to the present day.’ Alan Brownjohn, The Sunday Times

www.andrewmotion.co.uk        @motionandrew

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