From performing Coleridge's maritime epic to creating a coastal art-and-poetry installation with glowing tents, True Blood
star Fiona Shaw
is on a mission to make us love language.
Given the context for my interview with Fiona Shaw
, my central question – what is your favourite love poem? – doesn't seem especially tricky or prying. We meet to talk about Peace Camp, an art collaboration with director Deborah Warner
and composer Mel Mercier, for which Shaw has been darting across the UK, imploring people to record their favourite love poems – and accosting well-known actors she's bumped into at airports. "Alun Armstrong
! Please, will you do it?" She has recorded 570 poems in total, with voices from Cornwall, Northumberland, Wales, the Isle of Skye, and everywhere in between.
And yet Shaw is not easy to pin down. Her words keep hurtling off through exclamations, exhortations, then collapsing in laughter. She revises herself regularly, shouting into my dictaphone: "Don't write that!