‘I hope that it adds up to a new way of thinking about who we have been, and who we are now’
Andrew Marr’s new book, We British: The Poetry of a People is out now, published by 4th Estate Books. The British have never had a musical tradition to rival that of Russia or Germany; or the gloriously exuberant architecture of Paris or Rome; or the coherent worldview of classical China. What they have had is the richest and most remarkable tradition of poetry of any major culture. This book is an attempt to use British poetry as the framework for a kind of alternative epic, the story of what it was like to be British, told through poetry, and sometimes through the stories of the poets.
We wanted to meet Andrew and find out more about his life-long but little-documented passion for poetry.
This interview took the form of a brand new podcast feature from 4th Estate: 4 Books.
In 4 Books, we ask an author to answer 4 questions on the books that made them — on those books that made a significant impact at distinct junctures of their lives. It might be the book that guided them through a break up, the one that they press urgently into a friends’ hand, the book that best articulates love, or the book that opened up the world in a startling new way. Reading has a unique power to universalise the most private of experiences, and the books we turn to can reveal more about ourselves than we think. In 4 Books, we use literature to glimpse the inner life of our authors.
We British is out now.
Subscribe to the 4th Estate podcast.
If you enjoyed this, try: