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We Shot the Albatross: Jeffrey Barbeau interviews Philip Hoare

Photo credit: Ellen Gallagher + Edgar Cleijne, ‘Ah Wretch’, installation view, The Edge, University of Bath, February 2020. Courtesy: Philip Hoare

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Big Read

Jeffrey Barbeau, associate editor of The Coleridge Bulletin, sat down for a video conversation with Philip Hoare, co-creator of this stimulating new project, in May 2020 to ask him more about the origins of the Ancient Mariner Big Read, the process by which it was created, and the meaning of Coleridge’s poem today.

The attached (click here to read) is an excerpt of their conversation, which appears in full in issue no. 55 of The Coleridge Bulletin.


Greg Leadbetter on the cancellation of the Autumn Study Weekend

As regular attendees will already know, the Coleridge Autumn Study Weekend is not running in 2020. Halsway Manor, our venue for many years, changed its policy on lets at very short notice, in order to focus on its activities as a national centre for folk arts. The Friends of Coleridge sought and found an alternative venue, but thereafter this too became unavailable. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have had to cancel the event for this year in any case.
With the cancellation of the Coleridge Summer Conference 2020 due to the pandemic, the Friends of Coleridge committee is currently revising plans for both the Summer Conference and the Autumn Study Weekend, in the hope that 2021 will enable us to institute new arrangements for both of these events, which are of such significance in our calendar.
Further announcments will be made regarding 2021 and beyond as soon as our fresh plans are settled. We look forward to sharing these with you in due course.
Professor Gregory Leadbetter
Director, Coleridge Autumn Study Weekend
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Important! Coleridge Summer Conference 2020 cancelled

We regret to announce that the 2020 Coleridge Summer Conference in the Lake District has had to be cancelled, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.


An imagined walk from Racedown to Crewkerne with Coleridge and the Wordsworths, by David Stevens

David Stevens, a loyal Friend of Coleridge, has written an account of the walk that STC, Dorothy and William Wordsworth took from Racedown to Crewkerne in June 1797. It is a vividly imagined description of conversation and place.

Click here to read a PDF file of the work, which David hopes to develop into an illustrated booklet. It is well worth a read!

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Daily online reading of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

Jeremy Irons, Tilda Swinton and Hilary Mantel are collaborating to read Coleridge’s most famous poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. It has been divided into 40 readings.

The readers, who also include Alan Bennett and Lemn Sissay, each recorded a sequence of three to four verses to be broadcast online, day by day. Once complete, it will be available to listen to as ‘one symphonic piece’.

Author Philip Hoare, who curated the project, said: ‘It is no coincidence, perhaps, that this poem is the first great work of English literature to speak to isolation and loneliness. For those facing restricted access to culture in these difficult times, the Ancient Mariner Big Read offers a new digital work of art to be experienced at home – in a wild voyage into the unknown and watery world.’

The readings are accompanied by works from artists including Cornelia Parker, Marina Abramovic, and Gavin Turk.

You can listen to each of the daily reads at