Speak The Mag

Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel is a British poet, author of Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth on harmony and conflict in the Middle East, the bestselling Darwin – A Life in Poems, a verse biography of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin, and Emerald, a lyrical exploration of the search for value in the process of mourning and bereavement. Her prose includes studies of the mind in Greek tragedy, bestselling books on reading contemporary poetry, and a personal account of wild tiger conservation. She is Professor of Poetry at King’s College London, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was Chair of Judges for the 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize and Judge for the 2016 International Man Booker Prize. Her poems have been published in, among others, The New Yorker, Harvard Review, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books and The White Review. Awards include First Prize in the National Poetry Competition and a British Council ‘Darwin Now’ Fellowship. Her next collection will be Beethoven Variations, January 2020.  Visit: www.ruthpadel.com 

Ruth Padel

Non-Fiction

Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life

Two hundred and fifty years since Beethoven was born, Ruth Padel goes on a personal search for him, retracing his steps through war-torn Europe of the early nineteenth century, delving into his music, letters, diaries and the conversation books he used when deaf, to uncover the man behind the legend. Her quest, exploring the life of one of the most creative artists who ever lived, turns more personal than she expects, taking her into the sources of her own creativity and musicality. From a deeply musical family herself, Padel’s parents met through music, and she grew up playing chamber music on viola – Beethoven’s instrument as a child. Her father’s grandfather, a concert pianist born on the German–Danish border, studied in Leipzig with a friend of Beethoven before immigrating to the UK. The poems in this illuminating biography in verse conjure not only Beethoven’s life and personality, but her own music-making and love both of the European music-making tradition to which her father’s family belongs, and to the continent itself Europe.

Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life
Non-Fiction

Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life

Two hundred and fifty years since Beethoven was born, Ruth Padel goes on a personal search for him, retracing his steps through war-torn Europe of the early nineteenth century, delving into his music, letters, diaries and the conversation books he used when deaf, to uncover the man behind the legend. Her quest, exploring the life of one of the most creative artists who ever lived, turns more personal than she expects, taking her into the sources of her own creativity and musicality. From a deeply musical family herself, Padel’s parents met through music, and she grew up playing chamber music on viola – Beethoven’s instrument as a child. Her father’s grandfather, a concert pianist born on the German–Danish border, studied in Leipzig with a friend of Beethoven before immigrating to the UK. The poems in this illuminating biography in verse conjure not only Beethoven’s life and personality, but her own music-making and love both of the European music-making tradition to which her father’s family belongs, and to the continent itself Europe.

Non-Fiction

Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth

Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, Ruth Padel’s powerful new poems address the Middle East, tracing a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, the central instrument of Middle Eastern music , is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives attacks, a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camp learns capoeira, and a guide shows us Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the heart of the book are Christ’s last words from the Cross. Uniting this moving collection is the common ground shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music and making. With care and empathy, Ruth Padel suggests how rifts in the Holy Land speak to conflict in our own hearts. 'We identify. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.'

Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth
Non-Fiction

Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth

Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, Ruth Padel’s powerful new poems address the Middle East, tracing a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, the central instrument of Middle Eastern music , is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives attacks, a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camp learns capoeira, and a guide shows us Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the heart of the book are Christ’s last words from the Cross. Uniting this moving collection is the common ground shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music and making. With care and empathy, Ruth Padel suggests how rifts in the Holy Land speak to conflict in our own hearts. 'We identify. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.'