‘Above all, David Constantine is a “humane” poet – a word often used in connection with his work, as if in noticing and detailing the ways of the world he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us. For over forty years he has shaped a body of work that stands in comparison with that of any of his contemporaries, not just at home but internationally, navigating and negotiating that space between everyday events and their metaphysical or spiritual “otherness”.’ - Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, on behalf of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry Committee
David Constantine was one of the first poets to be published by Bloodaxe, making his debut in 1980 with A Brightness to Cast Shadows, just two years after the press was founded. His Collected Poems (2004) was followed by three later collections: Nine Fathom Deep (2009), Elder (2014), and his eleventh collection, Belongings, in October 2020. Two months later he was announced as winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2020.
The Poetry Medal Committee recommended David Constantine as the recipient of the Medal on the basis of his eleven books of poetry, in particular his Collected Poems, published in 2004, which spans three decades of his work. The Committee was chaired by UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who himself received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2018. Full story here.
Feature in The Guardianhere. Alison Flood spoke to both David Constantine and to his poetry publisher of 40 years, Neil Astley of Bloodaxe Books.
Oxford Brookes University Poetry Centre featured David Constantine’s poem ‘Maps’ from his eleventh collection Belongings as their weekly poem on 19 February 2021. Read here.
Two poems from David Constantine’s eleventh collection Belongings were featured on Bookanista on 26 October 2020 to mark publication. Read the illustrated feature here.
An interview with David Constantine was posted on the Berwick Literary Festival blog ahead of his joint online event on 17 October 2021.
'You can never settle down in language': read the interview here.
PAST READINGS: LAUNCH EVENT FOR BELONGINGS
17 November 2020, Joint Bloodaxe live-streamed launch event
David Constantine, Kerry Hardie and W.N. (Bill) Herbert launched their new poetry collections on 17 November 2020.
Hosted by editor Neil Astley from his home in Northumberland, this event was streamed live through the Bloodaxe Books YouTube channel on Tuesday 17th November. Wonderful readings by all three poets were followed by discussion and a Q&A with the online audience.
As well as a poet, David Constantine is a renowned translator. Below is a film of David reading two poems from his 2018 expanded edition of Friedrich Hölderlin.
David Constantine on Friedrich Hölderlin
Constantine introduces Hölderlin and his poetry, discussing how translating Greek poetry (at first Pindar) helped Hölderlin evolve his own way of writing in German. Like Beethoven, Hölderlin was inspired by the French Revolution before it went wrong, and Constantine discusses the relevance also of Hölderlin to the times we live in, most particularly when there has been renewed interest in his work, such as during both world wars and during the period of social revolt in Germany in the 1960s. Constantine reads two poems from his edition of Hölderlin's Selected Poetry, ‘Once there were gods…’ (‘Götter wandelten einst…’), written in the spring of 1799 (but not published until 1909), and ‘The sun goes down’ (‘Geh unter, schöne Sonne…’), written some time before May 1800 but not published until 1846, three years after his death.