Swift flows the tide to the sound of the bell
Is that a name it is tolling, as the flow it doth swell?
It rings once more, oh hark to its knell!
The name it is tolling is that of Brunel...
Ralph Hoyte is a Bristol-based poet, writer and text-based artist who works with words in a variety
of contexts: live, visually and sculpturally, across artforms and in
new media. He is currently in residence with the Bristol Alliance (Broadmead
extension) investigating ‘text in the
city’. His first major work for the Alliance is a 134m-long text-based
artwork entitled PAST-PRESENT…FUCHSIA on the hoardings around
Quakers Friars (www.ralphhoyte.net or
wrote, displayed, distributed, broadcasted, webcast and performed an
epic poem interpreting Brunel’s life, work and legacy.
“ISAMBARD! is an epic poem about a man of epic stature – Isambard
Kingdom Brunel. I have for some time wanted to really let rip on a long
poem. Brunel is the ideal subject: driven, tempestuous, obsessed, running
away from inner demons, impossible to work with or deal with except as
a force of nature; and in the end a tragic hero. Of such are epics made”,
said Ralph Hoyte.
Ralph researched the poem via visits
to the Brunel Archive at the University of Bristol, where he had access
to biographical accounts of Brunel by Adrian Vaughan and Celia Brunel
Noble –– Brunel’s
granddaughter, who contributed much of the material to the University
to start the archive in 1950.
ISAMBARD! THE EPIC POEM is written in
epic verse form with ballad inserts. There are five sections to the epic,
each corresponding to five phases in Brunel’s life. It has been
produced in a facsimile Victorian ballad sheet style with an embedded
CD and has seen many public performances, comments from which included,
“A wonderful experience – I’m
racking my brains to think of how to bring the poem to more people!”
You can hear the full poem here (MP3).
It is available through the Bristol Poetry Can:
www.poetrycan.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at: (0117) 942 6976
or write to: Poetry Can, Unit 11, 20-22
Hepburn Rd, Bristol BS2 8UD
Photography: Mark Simmons.