Adam Foulds is not a dead poet. He is, however, the author of one of the finest long verse narratives of the last quarter century. The Broken Word (winner of the 2008 Costa Poetry Award and the Somerset Maugham Award) is the story of a young man who returns to his family farm in Kenya before going up to Oxford and finds himself caught up in the Mau Mau rebellion – and in its brutal suppression. The poem addresses terror, violence and spiritual disgrace with a propulsive narrative economy that recalls Homer or classical drama, but it is also lyrical, domestic, touching and precise. It’s an overwhelming experience: compassionate, unsettling and a masterfully clear-eyed examination of our colonial legacy. Dead Poets Live’s setting is a response to the poem’s inherent drama, and a one-off theatrical event.
All proceeds went to Safe Passage.
This performance was filmed by T. S. Eliot Foundation and Print Room at the Coronet.