In Our Time: 25 Iconic Poets and Poems in English

In Our Time: 25 Iconic Poets and Poems in English

A BBC Radio 4 Collection


Melvyn Bragg and guests analyse 25 key poets and literary works, tracing the evolution of poetry over 550 years

'The best programme coming out of the entire corporation these days' Sunday Telegraph

Since its debut in 1998, In Our Time has amassed a dedicated following of more than 2 million listeners. Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, with a panel of guest experts, each show features a plethora of fascinating facts and inspirational discourse on topics ranging from democracy to dark matter.

This specially curated collection celebrates the rich diversity of poetry in English, focussing on 25 major works and writers from the mediaeval era to the 20th Century. Opening with a programme on Geoffrey Chaucer, often called the father of English literature, it encompasses some of the greatest poets of all time, including John Donne, Pope, Milton, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, W B Yeats and Wilfred Owen.

Among the influential poems discussed are Shakespeare's sonnets, Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', Wordsworth's 'The Prelude' and the epic that made Byron famous, 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'. Also featured is a bonus episode, 'The Sonnet', exploring the most enduring form in the poet's armoury and how its fourteen lines have exercised poetic minds.

Packed with stimulating ideas and spellbinding rhetoric, this absorbing anthology is guaranteed to bring unfettered enjoyment to all lovers of the written word.

Production credits
Presented by Melvyn Bragg
Produced by Simon Tillotson, Thomas Morris and Natalia Fernandez

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates:

Chaucer 9 February 2006
Piers Plowman 29 October 2020
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 13 December 2018
Shakespeare's Sonnets 24 June 2021
John Donne 12 January 2023
Milton 7 March 2002
Pope 9 November 2006
Songs of Innocence and of Experience 23 June 2016
Lyrical Ballads 8 March 2012
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 4 March 2021
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage 6 January 2011
The Prelude 22 November 2007
John Clare 9 February 2017
Emily Dickinson 11 May 2017
Christina Rossetti 1 December 2011
The Charge of the Light Brigade 10 January 2008
Tennyson's In Memoriam 30 June 2011
Aurora Leigh 24 March 2016
William Morris 5 July 2018
Gerard Manley Hopkins 21 March 2019
Walt Whitman 27 April 2023
Thomas Hardy's Poetry 13 January 2022
Yeats and Mysticism 31 January 2002
Yeats and Irish Politics 17 April 2008
Wilfred Owen 27 October 2022
The Sonnet 21 June 2001

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.

About the author

Melvyn Bragg

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