“Water, water, everywhere…Nor any drop to drink…”  “…The Albatross About my neck was hung...”  If you recognize these iconic phrases, did you know that they originated in the imagination of a 25-year-old poet over 200 years ago?  Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” tells a story so powerful and timeless that it’s provided inspiration to creative figures from Mary Shelley to Iron Maiden.  The Mariner’s tale of the nightmarish consequences unleashed by his act of shooting an innocent albatross has now been digitally reimagined and released online as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Big Read.”

Sponsored by the Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth, the project brings together readers including Jeremy Irons, Iggy Pop, and Marianne Faithfull, joining them with contemporary artworks and an evocative soundscape to create a multi-sensory experience.  The work has been internationally praised and, and with timely themes of isolation and despair, it's been described as ‘the epic poem you need for quarantine” (The New Yorker).

In recognition of our Summer Reading program theme, “Imagine Your Story,” the Library invites you to share the experience of “The Big Read” together on Saturday, July 25 at 1:00 p.m. (via Zoom).  We will be joined from England by one of the chief curators of the project, Philip Hoare, as well as Coleridge scholar Jeffrey Barbeau of Wheaton College.  Jeffrey and Philip will contribute their valuable insights into the epic poem, the fascinating poet, and the monumental work of producing The Big Read.” 

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Advanced registration is required for this online program. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email a day or two in advance. The registration form can be found online at www.scotlib.org/events, or you may call the Library at 908-322-5007, x204.  Information about the entire summer reading program can be found at https://www.scotlib.org/adult-summer-reading/.

The Scotch Plains Public Library is grateful to the Friends of the Scotch Plains Public Library for their generous support of the summer reading program.