A Written Legacy

The idea of what love leaves behind is a concept that sounds like poetry. But sometimes it is poetry that a great love leaves behind.

British theater producer and writer Josephine Hart—who died in 2011—was not only a literary and arts figure (and author of the best-selling novel, Damage), but also a passionate advocate for classic poetry. In 2004 she launched The Poetry Hour at the British Library, public readings of the great classic poets (Auden, Eliot, Yeats, Dickinson et al), at which she spoke of the poet's life and work, before inviting great actors to the stage to read some of their best-known pieces.

Her passion for poetry and great literature was shared with her husband, advertising mogul Maurice Saatchi. Their intellectual connection was described in Hart's obituary: "They bonded over books and often, heading off on holidays, they would buy two copies of the same book and discuss it as they read it. Maurice was the instigator for Hart's creative career. Listening to her moan about there not being any poetry readings in London, he suggested that she start them. And so she did."

Saatchi ensured that the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour would continue after she died, establishing the Josephine Hart Foundation to fund the events, which continue today, as well as the addition of creating digital works of art set the readings to film or animation, to bring the poetry further to life, forever in her memory. 

Herein, one selection from the foundation's portfolio: The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot.