Michael Rosen And John Hegley Celebrate Legacy Of Keats

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 30 months ago
Michael Rosen And John Hegley Celebrate Legacy Of Keats

Michael Rosen is Keats House's poet in residence. Photo by Jack Goffe in the Londonist Flickr pool.

When Keats lived at the north London house on 10 Keats Grove (it wasn't called that then), he's said to have paid £5 a month rent, along with half the liquor bill. It costs much less than that (adjusted for inflation) to attend the Keats Festival — held at the tragic bard's former Hampstead home — featuring a programme of performances, talks, films, workshops and family activities.

The festival gets under way with a talk from Professor Michael O’Neill on the influence of Keats on poets like Thomas Hardy, Wallace Stevens, Philip Larkin and Seamus Heaney.

Other highlights include a family-friendly reading of poetry about dogs, penned by the likes of Byron, Wordsworth and Shakespeare, who quipped "Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on" (3 June), and an adaptation of Keats’s narrative poem, Lamia — the tale of a beautiful snake transformed into a woman so that she can pursue the man she loves (5 June).

The festival finale happens on 7 June, with poet in residence Michael Rosen, plus Jo Shapcott reading Keats poems, John Hegley performing some of his songs, and Daljit Nagra handing over the residency baton.

Keats Festival runs from 28 May-7 June. Ticket prices vary. See the website for more details.

Last Updated 08 May 2015