Monday 14 November 2022

Andrew Taylor, "Northangerland: Re-versions of the Poetry of Branwell Brontë"

Andrew Taylor is the author of 3 collections of poetry published by Shearsman Books, the latest, Not There-Here, was published in October 2021. His latest collection is Northangerland: Re-versions of the Poetry of Branwell Brontë, published by Leafe Press. He recently edited the Collected Poems of Peter Finch for Seren Books. He is the author of the first monograph on the work of Liverpool poet, Adrian Henri: Adrian Henri: A Critical Reading (London: Greenwich Exchange, 2019). He lives and works in Nottingham where he is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. His website is here

About Northangerland, by Andrew Taylor

Out of a conversation in a Nottingham city centre coffee shop in November 2021, discussing poetry and publishing, I sought to develop the idea of engaging with the poetry of Patrick Branwell Brontë. I was aware that the work of writers such as Shakespeare, Keats and Wordsworth had been engaged with in a ‘collaborative’ manner and wondered about the prospect of working with the poetry of Branwell Brontë. Branwell, so often overlooked and overshadowed in literary terms, by his three sisters, needs reappraisal, particularly with regards to his poetry. Even the most authoritative of critics, Juliet Barker noted back in 1994 that Branwell (as well as his father, Patrick) were due a ‘fresh look.’ 

I was determined to only use Branwell’s words and not add mine to the poetry. There was a temptation to update the work with a modern audience in mind. Early drafts of some of the poems did employ my own work, but I soon adjusted and followed John Seed’s methodology. Taking two of John Seed’s collections published by Shearsman Books, Pictures of Mayhew: London 1850 (2005) and That Barrikins: Pictures of Mayhew - London 1850 (2007), as my cue, I noted Seed’s statement that: 'Every word in the pages that follow is drawn from Henry Mayhew’s writings on London published in the Morning Chronicle from 1849 to 1850, then in 63 editions of his own weekly paper, London Labour and the London Poor, between December 1850 and February 1852 and then in the four volume work of the same title.' 

You can read more about Northangerland on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a poem from the collection. 

From Northangerland

The Emigrant. I

Sink from sight the landmarks 
  of home & the bitterness 
of farewells we yield spirit 
to the ocean & the life before 
the new born shores of Columbia 
& Australia exchange past time 
for time to come
  how melancholy if morning restores
(Less welcome than the night’s gloom)
  Old England’s harsh blue hills 
while we wake to a silenced pain
like a sick man resigned 
to die a well
remembered voice in eternity
May 28, 1848 [May 25, 1845 in Neufeldt] - Branwell Brontë
May 12, 2022 – Andrew Taylor


No comments:

Post a Comment