Simon Kovesi on BBC Radio 4 - ‘The Lament of Swordy Well’

Dr Simon Kovesi will be discusing the poem 'The Lament of Swordy Well' with presenter and prize-winning poet Paul Farley in a programme airing on Sunday 7th September at 4.30pm on BBC Radio 4. 

Swordy Well is a heath in rural Northamptonshire that was given the power of speech in John Clare's landmark eco-poem, The Lament Of Swordy Well. Poet Paul Farley finds out what's become of Swordy Well, uncovering an extraordinary history in the process, and meets a cavalcade of characters who have passed through this microcosm of rural England.

"My name will quickly be the whole that's left of Swordy Well," wrote John Clare in the 1830s, before he was committed to the asylum, in one of his most moving and proto-ecological poems. Through Clare, the genius loci of place gained a voice but, over the years, Swordy Well has almost lost it, and its name, too.

The site – now Swaddywell – is presently one of scientific interest and has been preserved for its wildlife and habitat. However, following Clare's time, and his catalogue of the area's neglect and abuse following enclosure, it has been used as a racetrack for stock cars, a site for illegal raves and parties and a fly-tipping eyesore.

Paul, who has edited John Clare's poems, goes back to the original location and takes the poem back to its source, meeting writers, conservationists and ravers, who remember partying in Swordy Well, and wondering how would it speak now nearly two centuries after enclosure.

You can now listen to this programme via the BBC IPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00d8h6t/

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