Press Release: 1 May 2008

Robert Minhinnick Under the Influence of Derek Walcott. Can laver bread compare to sea grapes?

The Poetry Society’s Under the Influence 2008 series starts with Robert Minhinnick under the influence of Derek Walcott on Thursday 22 May.
When as a young man, Robert Minhinnick read Sea Grapes by Derek Walcott, he wondered just what exactly sea grapes were. Could they compare to laver bread? By resetting the classics in the Caribbean, Walcott made anything seem possible. If Homer could feel the sand of St Lucia between his toes, perhaps, he might not entirely discount the’bwlch’ and ‘gwter’of the Welsh coastline either?
Robert Minhinnick was born in 1952 in Neath, South Wales and grew up near Bridgend. As well as being an active environmental campaigner, he is an essayist and poet. His poetry collections include A Thread in the Maze (1978); Native Ground (1979); Life Sentences (1983); The Dinosaur Park (1985); The Looters (1989); Hey Fatman (1994); Selected Poems and After the Hurricane (2002). In 2003 he translated from the Welsh, The Adulterer's Tongue: An Anthology of Welsh Poetry in Translation. His debut novel, Sea Holly, was published in 2007, and shortlisted for the 2008 Ondaatje Prize.
Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. His first collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962) brought him to public attention. Since then he has published many collections including Omeros (1990) an epic poem that invokes the lives of the people of the Caribbean, through Greek myth and epic, The Prodigal (2005) and Selected Poems (2007). For many years he has divided his time between Trinidad and the USA. His experience of the Caribbean and living between two cultures has strongly influenced his work.
The highly successful Under the Influence series continues in June and July with Lemn Sissay on the Liverpool Poets (Thursday June 26) and Yang Lian on Ezra Pound (Wednesday 16 July). All Under the Influence events will be taking place in a new venue - the wonderfully atmospheric and historic Club Room at the Arts Theatre in London's West End.
All the Under The Influence events will be chaired by Anne- Marie Fyfe, chair of the Poetry Society.
- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

  • All events are held in The Arts Theatre, 6/7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB. Tickets are £10 (£7 Poetry Society members and concessions).
  • All events start at 7pm

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