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The Sheppard Lecture 2022: There was an Old Man on the Border

Join us as award winning translator, children’s author and poet Kevin Crossley-Holland explores the theme of borders in his work.

Kevin writes: “Not only the horror of Ukraine - no, we're all confronted by borders perhaps as never before: those we share with previous generations (coming to terms with death, for instance) but also desperate contemporary challenges: the environmental endgame, starvation, refugees, terrorist attacks, the abuse of information technology.

No philosopher or social historian, I'm nevertheless aware of how these and other issues have had a bearing on my writing, and my own crossing-places during the last six decades. My first border is one we all share: adolescence. My Arthurian trilogy is set at a time of borders (oracy/literacy, religious absolutism, power and rebellion), so how does its central character, Arthur de Caldicot, intelligent, literate and champing at the bit to join the Fourth Crusade, discover his core beliefs and fears?

My second crossing-place engages with cultural assumption. How can one enter the mindset, blood-tide and words of another individual, culture and time? How can one most truly translate Anglo-Saxon poetry?

My third border, accentuated by living on the fluctuating coast of north Norfolk, examines how the actual and sensory may become a chain of words; how often that chain breaks; how argument and metaphor is informed by image, rhythm and sound. I want to explore the making of poetry and a few of my own attempts at crossing from disorder to order”.

Booking essential. Please arrive at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery by 6.05pm, talk begins at 6.15pm.

The exhibition Poem, Story and Scape in the Work of Kevin Crossley-Holland is on display in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery until 20 August 2022.

Pages of draft notes written by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Pages of draft notes written by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Pages of draft notes written by Kevin Crossley-Holland