Old English scholar Netherlands bound for university tour

Knutsford Guardian: Scholar Michael Gibson will be touring universities in Netherlands to give them a taste of Old English poetry and life Scholar Michael Gibson will be touring universities in Netherlands to give them a taste of Old English poetry and life

A KNUSFORD scholar and self-styled ‘Poetrician’ is bringing his ‘no-nonsense’ approach to medieval poetry to international shores.

Michael Gibson, a scholar of Middle and Old English Poetry, will be touring universities in the Netherlands this weekend, putting on special performances for fellow scholars and students.

He will begin his three-day stint at Leiden University, with his rendition of ‘Beowulf’s Boxer Shorts’ on February 23, and then moving on to Utrecht University and Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he will cover such topics as King Cnut and Caedmon’s Song.

“I’m absolutely full of delight to have the opportunity to do these performances. It is just about the joy of music,” Michael said.

“Beowulf’s Boxer Shorts is the heritage of English poetry stripped down to its rhythmic essentials.

“‘This performance unlocks the mystery as to ‘the rhythm of Beowulf’, a problem which has been much discussed and much confused for many years.”

Over the past three decades, Michael has dedicated his time to conserving and reviving the tradition of ‘songlikeness’ in poetry.

He travels across England - visiting schools, festivals and universities, including Oxford - reciting lyrical English poetry from over 1,000 years ago in their original tones and dialects, as far as these are known.

He was invited to perform in the Netherlands by Thijs Porck, a lecturer from Leiden University. The pair met last year at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds.

Thijs, whose fields of interest include Cnut the Great and Beowulf, was an audience member at one of Michael’s performances and wanted to bring his expertise to his homeland.

Michael added: “I perform whenever and wherever I can. My performances are a woven with music - my pipe and harp- and song.

“I love singing for people and helping them engage with English poetry back to its earliest state as is possible.”

Visit michaelgeorgegibson.org for more information about Michael and his performances.

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