When I remixed the Prioress’s Tale as a rap (Sharps an Flats) in the voice of a 21-year old Black man from Southeast London, I hoped the lyrics would inspire someone to reinvent it, make it their own.
And it’s happened: Cynthia Turner Camp at UGA English Department (in Athens!!) introduced Telling Tales to her students. The talented King Atakpa has remixed my remix. Like the original, not for the fainthearted. I cried when I watched it, because it gets to heart of the piece in a totally different style to my own performance, because it creates beauty out of pain, as all art should.
Slam at the Albany, Deptford
I have a lovely reading coming up Friday 16 May at Lyric Sheffield. Not part of the official tour but a translation workshop where I talk about what I did with the original Chaucer followed by an evening performance with the supremely talented Sinead Morrissey.
Then Lo Deptford! Wednesday 21 May, a gig very close to my heart: the Albany staged slam. Eight carefully selected poets performing Telling Tales poems in their inimitable styles. When I wrote the work I imagined a huge range of voices from ‘every shires end’ and that’s what you’re going to get. This event is the embodiment of the book. ‘May the best poet lose, as the saying goes…’
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.
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!
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!