Dubbed the ‘Tenth Muse’ by Plato, Greek lyrical poet Sappho has been immortalised as both an icon and an enigma.
While her contemporaries devoted their songs to the Gods and war, Sappho focussed on vulnerable, human experience - her words “more naked than flesh”. Sappho’s first-person perspectives offered women a voice in a society where there was none, radicalising musical culture and paving the way for soulful singer-songwriters like Adele and Joni Mitchell.
History has painted a colourful picture of Sappho’s lesbian affairs and dramatic suicide. Yet knowledge of The Poetess’s life is as fragmented as her works; just 650 lines of poetry are known to have survived. Though one thing is for sure – Sappho’s deeply moving lyrics on sex, love and motherhood continue to captivate listeners and cement her as a symbol of feminist and queer culture.
Poet in the City welcomes you back to Wilton’s for a decadent - dissident - evening of music, recital and revelry evoking the spirit of the world’s first feminist. Featuring artists including Joelle Taylor, Remi Graves and Richard Scott and hosted by Professor Peggy Reynolds (Queen Mary University).
Running time: 90 minutes, no interval
Joelle Taylor is the author of 4 collections of poetry. Her most recent collection C+NTO & Othered Poems won the 2021 T.S Eliot Prize and was the subject of a Radio 4 arts documentary Butch. C+NTO was nominated for the Rathbone Folio Prize, longlisted for the Ondaatje Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Polari Book Prize. A former UK SLAM Champion she founded the national youth poetryslams SLAMbassadors through the Poetry Society in 2001, remaining its Artistic Director until 2018. She is a co-curator and host of Out-Spoken Live, resident at the Southbank Centre, and an editor at Out-Spoken Press. She is also completing her memoirs for publication in 2024, as well as a novel of interconnecting stories The Night Alphabet. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and the 2022 Saboteur Spoken Word Artist of the Year.
Remi Graves is a London based poet and drummer. A former Barbican Young Poet, Remi's work has been commissioned by St Paul's Cathedral, Barbican and BBC Radio 4. Remi’s debut pamphlet, with your chest, is out now published by Fourteen Poems.
Richard Scott was born in London. His first book Soho (Faber & Faber, 2018) was a Gay’s the Word book of the year and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot prize. Recent works include ‘Quartz’ in Poetry Review and ‘Amethyst’ in the anthology Queer Life, Queer Love (Muswell Press). Richard’s poetry has been translated into German and French. He is a lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths, University of London and he teaches poetry at the Faber Academy.
Please note that some material is sexually explicit in nature and features themes of sexual abuse, which some audiences may find upsetting.