Water, water everywhere…

Listen to Iggy Pop read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Music | 27 April 2020

Making excellent use of Iggy Pop‘s gravelly, sawdust tones, the Detroit musician has been commissioned to give a reading from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 fable, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Read as part of a free-to-access digital project hosted by the University of Plymouth’s Art Institute, the poem’s 150 verses have been split into 40 sections to be read by performers, writers, poets and even Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s sixth-generation nephew.

Against sonic clips of stormy waves and bell tolls, Iggy’s coarse drawl reflects the story’s mythic undertones: a teenage Mary Shelley crouched behind the sofa when Coleridge came to her parents’ house to recite The Rime in person – an event which later influenced her Frankenstein epic.

A cautionary tale of distancing one’s self from nature, Coleridge’s Rime tells the misfortunes of a seaman who shoots and kills an albatross, which spells disaster and death for members of his crew. The sailor is then made to wear the albatross around his neck as a symbol of his actions.

Iggy’s reading is the latest addition to the project, joining contributions from the likes of Jeremy Irons, Willem Dafoe (very apt following his role in The Lighthouse) and Tilda Swinton. The readings are accompanied by contemporary artworks by artists like Marina Abramović, William Kentridge, Cornelia Parker and George Shaw.


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