Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Beautiful evening on Monday hearing Simon Armitage read from his translation (Middle English to modern English) of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and seeing Clive Hicks-Jenkins' joyous illustrations for this book projected hugely on a screen in the holy but not austere ambiance of St. Dunstan-in-the West on Fleet Street.

Wine and mince pies were on hand, courtesy of Faber & Faber the book's publisher, but best of all for me was finally meeting Clive and his life-partner Peter Wakelin, in real life. Clive and I have been friends at a distance for years but until now never managed to be in the same place at the same time. 

We both have been closely associated with the Old Stile Press, working with Nicolas and Frances McDowall on some of our artists' books. To actually embrace Clive and Peter last night, two gifted and life-enhancing individuals, was a thrill I won't forget.

One of Clive Hicks-Jenkins illustrations for the bool.

Simon Armitage reading from the pulpit at St. Dunstan, 10 December 2018

St. Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street

Printmaker Dan Bugg in foreground, Clive Hicks-Jenkins in the middle, Joe Pearsonat at the far end, 10/12/18


Nelson said...

When I read your post I confess it meant nothing to me and I thought the book some stuffy old hard-to-read thing. At university I switched away from English to avoid learning Anglo-saxon in the second year..

But it just so happens that today's "In Our Time", with Melvyn Bragg. Simon Armitage was one of the academics present & talked about his translation, & I learned what a wonderful book it is, and the illustration you include makes perfect sense from the synopsis presented.

So now I understand some of the excitement of your being there at the presentation & reading, and look out for Armitage's translation.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Vincent, yes I must admit I've had no previous interest in Olde Englishe. But Simon Armitage is a highly respected poet and Clive Hicks-Jenkins is a friend of mine and a very fine artist. Their collaboration has resulted in a really lovely book which I'd recommend your gifting yourself for Christmas! You can see more of it at the link I gave above or on Amazon:

Unknown said...

Oh, what fun. I know Clive only through Via Negative's old podcast and the lovely book containing ekphrases Dave Bonta and five other poets wrote in response to Clive's art.