Katrina Porteous on Front Row
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.
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.
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]