Lyric in the Archive, Poetry at the Magistrate’s Court: Victoria Bean and Richard Price

Moon for Sale by Richard Price

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What does it mean to 'research' a creative work?

What do real life and the library have in common for the writer? Two poets discuss what it means to ‘research’ a creative work, exploring the spectrum of inspiration, from direct witness to in-depth study in archives. The evening also includes readings of their work.

For Victoria Bean’s Caught (2011) the author spent a year in Horseferry Road Magistrate's Court, recording in verse the high drama and low comedy of the English justice system. Caught is a wholly unique take on everyday life in a busy courtroom and its cast of thieves, drunks, kerb-crawlers and dealers who come before the bench each day in despair, bewilderment and indifference. In Liberties (2017) the keen observation of the criminal justice system continues, a portrait in verse of the blameless and the shameless from ‘Gin Lane’ to ‘Smack City’. Liberties draws on the found-poetry of graffiti, tattoos, and cards placed in London phone-boxes.

The original points of inspiration for Richard Price’s Moon for Sale (2017) include the artist’s book Russian Ballet published in 1919 by David Bomberg and Walter Sickert’s unsettling Head of a Woman completed in 1906. Yet many of his poems are based on acute observation of contemporary language and the real people close to him, most famously in his collections Lucky Day and the prize-winning Small World, which bear witness to the strange linguistic lives of children as well as to the world experienced by those with severe disability. In Moon for Sale entirely new works are created through a sensitivity to the cut and thrust (and balm) of everyday language, as if being itself was his research focus.

Victoria Bean is an artist and poet, and part of the Arc Editions collective. She also co-edited The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century. Her artist’s books are held at the British Library and internationally. Liberties is published in early 2017.

Richard Price is an award-winning poet and Head of Contemporary British Collections at the British Library. His essays on lyric poetry and artist’s books, Is This A Poem?, were published in 2016. Moon for Sale has been recently published by Carcanet.

Enjoy food and drink purchased from the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.00 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00.


Name: Lyric in the Archive, Poetry at the Magistrate’s Court: Victoria Bean and Richard Price
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £5.00
Senior 60+: £6.00
Student: £5.00
Registered Unemployed: £5.00
Under 18: £5.00
Friend of the BL: £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546