Endeavour: Newfound Notes. Beagrie, Bob. 2004

Endeavour: Newfound Notes. Beagrie, Bob. 2004

Beagrie, Bob. 
Endeavour: Newfound Notes
Biscuit Publishing.
ISBN 1 903914 13 2.

For over 200 years Cook’s adventures have provided a stimulus for artists. Time has not diminished their impact on those who produce two and three-dimensional art, or those who rely on the written or spoken word. Bob Beagrie falls into the latter categories. This 37 year old was born and bred in Middlesbrough where he now works as a freelance writer with schools and community groups.

His new work arose from the Endeavour Replica’s visit to Middlesbrough in 2003, and, after researching Cook’s voyage, his poem was published the following year. In searching for a "voice" to tell the story of the Endeavour’s voyage Beagrie settled on that of an anonymous Whitby sailor from below decks. Beagrie has achieved his aims as the voyage, as seen through the eyes of a bewildered and homesick ordinary seaman, contrasts vividly with the contemporary accounts of the voyage written by the ship’s officers and gentlemen. The poem reflects its North-East roots, weaving local dialect and superstitions into the sailor’s life.

The publication is profusely illustrated with images both ancient and modern that complement the different stanzas of the poem. It is written in blank verse, and, at times, it is difficult to interpret the cadences that the author intended. In compiling the poem Beagrie has exercised artistic, poetic and historical licence, and Cook purists will find that the text contains a number of contentious facts and anachronisms.

However, any difficulties experienced by a reader of the poem are addressed by the CD that accompanies the book. This poem was written primarily as a performance piece and the CD brings the author’s words to life against a background of music and sound effects. Having heard the CD I look forward to experiencing a performance of the work one day.

Cliff Thornton

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 40, volume 28, number 2 (2005).

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