Tony Harrison film / poems

A retrospective of Tony Harrison film / poems, curated by David McLachlan in partnership with Tyneside Cinema.

"Harrison is the master of a form he has made his own" - The Times

Tony Harrison is one of the most distinguished and important poets of his generation. Whether through books, performance, theatre, film, newspapers or TV his poetry has always embraced the past, often through his working-class roots or the myths and dramas of ancient Greece, to tackle, confront and challenge the present.

Often controversial, dividing opinion and embracing the challenge to the powers that govern, Harrison’s poetry, no matter the format, always conveys a message, whether political or personal, for the public at large.

The film / poems were made between 1984 and 2002 and primarily shown on the BBC and Chanel 4. They were screened at peak times, often attracting audiences in the millions and form an important part of the work of Tony Harrison. Many of the original television screenings of the film / poems initiated national debate, division, discussion, and in many cases controversy.

Dealing with themes and issues such as censorship, the fall of the working class, the collapse of socialism, life, death and memory in the community, the destructive violence of governments, the ever presence of fascism and the fragility of Europe. The power and intensity of these works continue to resonate, engage and respond to the times.

Through complete parity of image and sound by one the greatest technical and forceful poets of our times this is a unique opportunity to see these rarely screened works and experience the power of the film / poem as created by one of the greatest poets for the people.

“I am thrilled that there is a season of Tony Harrison’s film / poems, most of which have only been seen once. It will offer everyone the chance to reassess and enjoy his innovative and powerful contribution to the genre, and hopefully may lead to the work becoming more easily available.” – Peter Symes

Tony Harrison: An Illustrated Talk

Enjoy an evening with Peter Symes (long time collaborator and director of several of the film poems) and curator David McLachlan as they discuss the creative practices and themes of the film / poems with clips from many of the works.

Tony Harrison: Greek Tales

Programme 1 : Greek Tales
Showing: A Maybe Day in Kazakhstan (1994) and The Gaze of the Gorgon (1992)

Click to view Greek Tales

Tony Harrison: The Graves of Loving Memory

Programme 2: The Graves of Loving Memory
Showing: Mimmo Perella non e piu (1987) and Cheating The Void (1987)

Click to view The Graves of Loving Memory

Tony Harrison: Prometheus


For the fourth event in the Tony Harrison film / poems season, we will be showing Prometheus.

Click to view Prometheus

Tony Harrison: Lives and Memories

Programme 3: Lives and Memories
Showing: The Shadow of Hiroshima (1995) and Black Daisies for the Birde (1993).

Click to view Lives and Memories

Tony Harrison: State of the Nation

Programme 4: State of the Nation
Showing: The Southbank Show / Crossings (2002) and V (1987).

Click to view State of the Nation


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