An anthology of new poetry written to mark the 250th anniversary of the death of Bristol-born Thomas Chatterton has been published as part of the Poetic City programme.
The book contains 12 poems commissioned through Lyra – Bristol Poetry Festival – six of which are by Bristol-based poets – and were written in response to Henry Wallis’ iconic painting of Chatterton on his death bed. Lucy English and Danny Pandolfi (co-directors of Lyra) write:
Wallis shows the teenager moments after allegedly taking his own life, presenting a lurid glamorisation of the age-old
(and, to some, pernicious) motif of the ‘doomed artist’. (It
is now widely acknowledged that the death was accidental.) The range of responses to this painting and to Chatterton’s legacy illustrates a phenomenal breadth of powerful poetic devices, images, forms and unique angles, in the incomparably visionary medium of poetry. These poets often employ anachronisms to deliberately contrast with Chatterton’s own Romantic sensibilities and grasping at the sublime, and instead humanise him in modern, real-world scenarios.
Copies will be available to collect for free from venues across the city including Bristol City Council’s libraries and museums; Bristol Cathedral; Glenside Hospital Museum; St Mary Redcliffe; the Tourist Information Centre at the Galleries; and the Royal West of England Academy. They have also been given to relevant departments at the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol to distribute to students and staff. (see the Poetic City Facebook page for the latest news on availability). If you are unable to obtain a hard copy, you can read the PDF here: Bristol – A Poetic City.
Author photos: Anthony Anaxagorou; Caleb Parkin; Chris McCabe (Gregory Hesse-Wagner); Emily Berry (Sophie Davidson); Fran Lock; Josie Alford; Keith Jarrett (Ajamu); Malaika Kegode (Jon Aitken); Rachael Boast; Rebecca Tantony; Theresa Lola; Tom Sastry; Vanessa Kisuule (Evan Dawson).