Happy Publication Day!

The Litel Boke

The Litel Boke

Today is the official publication day for Telling Tales. Hooray!

The photo was taken by the wonderfully talented Lyndon Douglas at The George Inn, Southwark. It’s the previous version of the cover but I think it looks rather good if I say so myself. Credit must go to the Canongate inhouse designer, Peter Adlington.

Below is the link for the first of a sequence of films to celebrate the creation of the book. As you will see, the camera chose to freeze on a particularly poetic grimace. The featured poem, Sharps an Flats, isn’t mentioned in this film but it gives you a flavour of one of the many voices in the book.

http://www.canongate.tv/discover/patience-agbabi-introduces-telling-tales/

Whan that Aprill…

To celebrate #Whanthataprilleday I don my medieval hoodie and read the opening of the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury. The birds are singing in the trees, the blossom is out and my hay fever is raging. But I am happy to lose myself in the mellifluous Middle English, to pay homage to my favourite poet, Chaucer, who inspired Telling Tales. Happy Whanthataprilleday everyone!

Prologue (Grime Mix)

626 years ago to the day, Chaucer’s pilgrims began their pilgrimage from London to Canterbury. Here’s a video of me peforming the opening to my version of The Canterbury Tales at the English and Media emagazine conference last year. The audience was 700 enthusiastic A ‘Level students!

Spring Update!

This is my shortest blog ever because I’ve spent the day working on the last of my versions of the Canterbury Tales. It’s an interpretation of The Man of Law’s Tale, heavily influenced by the BBC adaptation and it’s a 7-sonnet corona. And I’ve written most of it in one sitting so I’m ready to veg out on Spotify…

I’ve been showcasing new work at Lewes Literary Society and Greenwich Poetry Society. You can read about the latter at the wonderful poet, Fiona Moore’s Displacement Blog.

And I’ve sent the manuscript to my publishers, Canongate, so watch this space…

That Beatin’ Rhythm

So why the big gap between the last post and this? Well, I set myself the impossible task of at least starting a version of every tale by the end of January. I missed the deadline but now have only one tale I haven’t worked on. Wanted to share some of the new writing.

I’ve just put the finishing touches on this experimental piece made almost entirely from Northern Soul song titles. It’s a version of The Merchant’s Tale. As it’s quite long, here’s the first two paragraphs. Enjoy!

Once Upon a Time, in the Land Of 1000 Dances, January married May. What is This Thing Called Love? Some say, Love Is a Serious Business; some say, Love Is a Trap. He’s The Batchelor, She’s Not the Marrying Kind. He Mr Big Shot Got My Mind Made Up and she a Country Girl Talkin’ ’Bout Poor Folks, Thinkin’ ’Bout My Folks. He said I’ve Struck It Rich but some say she Cashing In. He Too Old for her and yet, they Just Like Romeo and Juliet. Adam and Eve. 

And I Damien, Agent 00 Soul from the Backstreet, the Image Of a Man. Saw a Job Opening for a Mr Clean to Lend a Hand to Little Old Man, January. He bought the House For Sale, The House Next Door, huge as a Haunted Castle. I fell The Big Oak Tree to make furniture an’ sing The Work Song as I clearing Bricks, Broken Bottles and Sticks outside. There’s a Storm Warning and I Run for Cover from the Spring Rain, The First Time I see May, the Lady In Green. She a Flower Child, a Wild One. I say Stop Girl, but she Keep On Walking, Surrounded By a Ray Of Sunshine. Am I Cold, Am I Hot. I Got the Fever. I Love Her So Much (It Hurts Me).