I should be used to it by now, but there is still something thrilling about having your new book arrive, hot off the presses. My latest book, Lyric Cousins, is out on October 31, and it represents a unique opportunity for me to bring together my three ‘careers’ – as a poet, as a professional musician, and as a critic.
As many of you will be aware, I started life as a concert violinist, studying at the Royal Academy of Music, and performing for and with musicians including Sir Simon Rattle and Pierre Boulez. As a poet, I have had my work set by composers including Sally Beamish, Steve Goss and Luminata Spinu, and am currently having three sonnets from Coleshill set by Sir Harrison Birtwistle.
I have always enjoyed bringing these aspects of my working and thinking together, and it has been wonderful to have been given the opportunity to do so in what for me was a ‘thought experiment’ – looking at the ways that these ‘problematic’ forms – poetry and art music – have worked for or against each other, and their family resemblances and differences.
For me both are striking examples of ‘thinking the world’ in a unique way. At a time when the zeitgeist (never a neutral creation) favours the simple and undemanding, poetry and art music, at their best, continue to ask questions of us for which there are no simple answers, and thus resist the banalization of modern life.
It was a pleasure to write this book, and a joy to have it arrive. More details here.