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Faber Radio presents Emily Berry

Listen to the poet's Spotify playlist, a companion to her collection Unexhausted Time.

Unexhausted Time is basically a book about feelings.

I thought about music a lot while I was writing it – music, above all art forms, makes me feel the most. And it gets around this question of understanding, which people can get so hung up on with poems; no one worries about not understanding a piece of music – it goes straight to the place where it’s already known, even if it’s a sad, inexplicable knowing. The poet Harmony Holiday writes of ‘the sorrow of knowing a language not spoken where you live    we call   that music’.

When I write a poem I think I’m really wishing I could sing. In the words of Burial, which I rearranged in my poem ‘Ghosts (Homage to Burial)’: ‘I just want to be a symbol you alone could hear. Someone in your head. Everyone knows those sorts of feelings.’ I rarely listen to songs at the same time as writing, but around writing I’ll spend a lot of time wandering the streets, perhaps in the rain, with headphones on, having feelings. People who can make music seem like gods to me – what power they have, to make us feel so much! Here are some songs about feelings and related phenomena, such as dreams, seasons, sunshine and rain . . .

Listen to the playlist:
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Emily Berry

Unexhausted Time inhabits a world of dream and dawn, in which thoughts touch us ‘like soft rain’, and all the elements are brought closer in.

About the Author

Emily Berry’s first book of poems is Dear Boy, which won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Hawthornden Prize. She is a contributor to The Breakfast Bible and editor of Best British Poetry 2015. A selection of her work appears in Penguin Modern Poets 1: If I’m Scared We Can’t Win. She is editor of The Poetry Review.

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About the Author