Katrina Porteous on Front Row & in The Guardian

Katrina Porteous on Front Row & in The Guardian

Edge manages to find images adequate to the task of describing the marvel that is the universe, at both micro and macro levels’ – Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian


Katrina Porteous's third collection Edge, published October 2019, gathers together poems from Katrina's scientfic collaborations. It is a new departure from her two earlier collections, The Lost Music (1996) and Two Countries (2014), which were concerned with the landscapes and communities of North-East England.

Edge was reviewed in The Guardian's best recent poetry roundup on 4 January 2020.  Click here to read Ben Wilkinson's full review.

'Katrina Porteous’ latest poetry collection, Edge, offers dazzling telescopic associations between the cosmic and the local, considering humanity’s attempts to map our knowledge of the known universe, from gravitational fields to the celestial bodies of our own solar system...' -  Josh Allsop, READ (Research in English at Durham). Read the full review here.  

Edge was reviewed in The Amethyst Review here.  'The concluding poem, with its deliberate emphasis on the first person pronoun – ‘I walked out to the end of the Broad Rock’ –  is at once a subtle reminder of our place in the vastness of the cosmos and an affirmation of humanity’s ongoing quest to explore the edge of knowledge and push ever further the boundaries of our understanding.' - Marian Christie



Planet Poetry podcast, Thursday 19 November 2020

In-depth interview with Katrina Porteous on the Planet Poetry podcast about her third collection Edge.  She was in conversation with Robin Houghton.  Katrina spoke about how she approached quantum physics from the point of view of a non-scientist, and about performing these poems with Peter Zinovieff’s music.  She read and introduced her poems ‘Quiet’, ‘Higgs’, ‘Quantum ii’, ‘Window’ and ‘Intertidal’.

‘Katrina Porteous takes us from the micro quantum world beyond human vision out to the furthest reaches of the universe as we discuss her Bloodaxe collection Edge’

Listen here. First item (from 1:54)

Katrina is the third poet in a row to be interviewed on the new weekly Planet Poetry podcast. Pascale Petit was the inaugural interviewee, followed by Clare Shaw.  All three interviews are in depth and illuminating.


Front Row, BBC Radio 4, Monday 4 November 2019, 7.15pm

Katrina Porteous was a guest on Radio 4’s Front Row on 4 November.  She was interviewed live down the line from Newcastle, and was talking to Kirsty Lang about her new collection Edge, which gathers together the three poem sequences ‘Field’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Edge’.  These were all commissioned for performance in the Life Science Centre Planetarium in Newcastle between 2013 and 2016, with electronic music by Peter Zinovieff forming an integral part of the work. 

In the introduction, Kirsty asked ‘What can poetry teach us about quantum physics?’, and played a clip from Katrina’s performance of ‘Field’ at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, with music by Peter Zinovieff.  A clip from her performance of ‘Edge’, which was broadcast as a half-hour feature on Radio 4 in 2013, was played in the main interview (she was reading the final part of the poem ‘First Rising Tide’).  Katrina ended by reading one of the three poems for voice alone from the Coda: ‘An Education’.

‘In her poems Katrina Porteous has explored nature, place and time through the local, writing about the coast of Northumberland and its fishing communities, often in their dialect. But in the past few years she has been inspired by the work of research scientists, space telescopes and the Large Hadron Collider. In her new collection, Edge, her concerns extend beyond the human scale. She writes about the tiny - sub atomic particles - and the vast, the moons of Saturn and the workings of the sun. Katrina Porteous talks to Kirsty Lang about how, with no background in science, particle physics and cosmology, she writes poems about them, poems that the general reader can understand.’

Click here to listen or to download the podcast. Intro & from 18:09.

BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please Special: Edge was broadcast in December 2013.  Audio is now available via Soundcloud:  Click here to listen to the full performance of 'Edge' at the Life Science Planetarium in Newcastle.  Introduced by Radio 4 producer Julian May.

A gallery showing images of the moons described in the poem is on the Radio 4 website here.


Video with clips from the performance of the sequence 'Edge' at the Life Science Planetarium in Newcastle in 2013.


Katrina read at an event in Stockton on 20 July 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission.  Read more about her connection with space on her blog here.

[05 November 2019]

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