JAN NOBLE | SHELLEY 200
A new poetic monologue written and performed by Jan Noble celebrating the life and work of Percy Bysche Shelley.
Giving voice to the bronze bust erected to the English Romantic poet whose body washed up on the shoreline of Viareggio, this work seeks to reconcile the poet with those he left behind and justify his place in the modern age.
Visited first by Mary Shelley and then by his first wife Harriet the author challenges the silent statue to account for his actions provoking a poetic odyssey that tells of Shelley’s ten days twisting in the waves, “his stormy going out, his short blown course and slow return to shore.”
On the 8th of July 1822 the body of the English Romantic Shelley poet washed upon the coast of Tuscany, his body was cremated on the beach at Viareggio and his ashes were interred in Rome in April 1823. Despite being just 29 years old he had forged a reputation as a trouble maker and settled in Italy in self imposed exile. In times of political and social unrest that very much mirror our own, Shelley can be imagined as the first ‘woke’ or ‘snowflake poet’, champion of the oppressed and unrepresented, a sensitive soul raging and wailing against injustice. He may also be regarded as the embodiment of white privilege, abaronet’s son “composed”, as Jan Noble states in his address to the poet’s statue, “of Eros, dust and daddy’s money.”SHELLEY 200 gives voice to his bronze bust in Viarregio but also allows the author to recall his own personal journey, a poetic pilgrimage where old ghosts gather in the piazza, where Keats is quarantined on a cruise ship and the presence of poetry is apparent… even at a football match in Rome, the ‘EternalCity’ where Shelley’s remains are laid to rest.
Readings in London, at the poet’s memorial in Viareggio and at the Festival Internazionale Teatro Romano in Volterra preceded a special performance at the 22nd edition of Poetry on The Lake in Orta, Italy. A new reading series to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s ashes being laid to rest in Rome begins this Spring.
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