Arrows of Desire is a poetry series that explores the great diversity of English verse from the sixteenth century to the present day. Forms covered include love poems, satires, nature poems, elegies, devotional poems and comic verse. The poems range in level of difficulty from lower secondary to advanced study.
This is a three-year project, eventually yielding some fifty modules, ranging in length from about three to eight minutes. The modules will be grouped in twelve 25-minute programmes.
This year’s vibrant anthology of work features the readings and work of some of the world’s greatest English language poets, including estabished figures such as Tom Paulin, Andrew Motion, Jerome Rothenberg, Wendy Cope, Roger McGough, Michael Donaghy, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and Matthew Sweeney, alongside rising stars such as Clare Pollard, Kate Clanchy and Owen Sheers. Each film module deals with the work of a single writer, usually concentrating on just one poem. A contemporary poet reads a number of poems, comments on points of interest and gives their views about them as well as answering a number of core questions.
The interviews and readings are interspersed with appropriate visual material – still photographs, paintings, archive film, urban and rural landscapes, plus, crucially, all or part of the written text, in typescript and, where possible, in manuscript – occasionally looking at the poem in various drafts, watching its development on the page and in the poet’s own hand.
The sad truth is that it is possible for a student to go through secondary education in English without having any sense of the broad sweep of English poetry and how it relates to history or the other arts. This series, which teachers and students can use on a ‘pick and mix’ basis, will help to rectify that situation.