Persons from Porlock
by Louis MacNeice

Louis MacNeice - Persons from Porlock

BBC Third Programme

Broadcast: Friday 30th August 1963 "When Coleridge failed to complete his 'dream poem' Kubla Khan, he laid the blame on a 'person from Porlock' who had called to see him on business, thus fatally interrupting his writing. Taking the phrase 'person from Porlock' to relate to any unforeseen interruption of creative process - or going deeper, those forces which are always at odds against the artist - I have dramatised the story of a fictitious painter of our time ... As the story covers more than twenty years, I have had to break it up into a large number of scenes ... I intend the story primarily as a story but it involves some implicit comments on the conditions in which artists have to work in this country today." (Louis MacNeice in the Radio Times).

With Jon Rollason [Hank], Elizabeth Morgan [Sarah], Peter Claughton [Peter], Norman Wynne [Mervyn], Mary O'Farrell [The Mother], Margaret Gordon [Maggie], Tom Watson [Donald], Charles Leno [The Bailiff], Kenneth Hyde [The Doctor], and William Eedle [The Person].

Other parts played by Michael Spice; David Valla; Jo Manning Wilson, Janet Burnell; John Baddeley; Norman Claridge; and Frederick Treves.

Produced by Louis MacNeice

70 min.

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Frederick Louis MacNeice (September 12, 1907 September 3, 1963)

Louis MacNeice was a British and Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and C. Day Lewis; nicknamed MacSpaunday as a group. His body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed, but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly (or simplistically) political as some of his contemporaries, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots.

He wrote in the introduction to his Autumn Journal:

Poetry in my opinion must be honest before anything else and I refuse to be 'objective' or clear-cut at the cost of honesty".


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