Guest Poet: Sue Boyle
Sue Boyle's Too Late for the Love Hotel won The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition in 2010. Her second book, Too Late for the Judenplatz, a sequence of nine lamentations on the Holocaust, was performed in full on the opening day of the Torbay Festival of Poetry in 2014. Safe Passage, her first full collection, published by Oversteps, was launched at Toppings Bookshop in Bath in 2015. She is hoping that her work in progress, The Letters from Mexico, a sonnet-based Victorian love story, will be ready to dip its toe in the water at The Swan Hotel on February 25th. She runs regular Cafe Writing Days in Bath and will be judging this year's Torbay Poetry Festival Competition, for which she promises to read every one of the probable one thousand entries at least twice.
Guest Poet: Connie Voisine
Connie Voisine is the author of the forthcoming (autumn 2015) book of poems, Calle Florista, from University of Chicago Press. Her previous book, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, also published by University of Chicago Press, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her first book, Cathedral of the North, won the Associated Writing Program's Award in Poetry. She has poems published in The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Magazine, Black Warrior Review, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Her work was featured at The Lab at Belmar, a museum show pairing prehistoric stone tools with poems. Educated at Yale University, University of California at Irvine, and University of Utah, Voisine teaches in the creative writing programme at New Mexico State University and also co-ordinates La Sociedad para las Artes, its outreach organisation. A past fellow at Breadloaf, she is returning to Belfast for a sabbatical, where she was a Fulbright Fellow in the School of English at Queen's University in 2012.
25th February 2016, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Lots of lovely synchronicities at another packed Words & Ears on Thursday, when our guest poets were Bath's Sue Boyle and Connie Voisine, Associate Professor of English at New Mexico State University. Huge thanks to Connie, who was in England for just one day, and squeezed in her reading for us following one at Bath Spa University. And thanks to Paul who treated her to a great taste of European eccentricity when she rode back to Bath in the back of his 2CV!
In her reading, Connie remarked on the differences in use of language between US and British poets, and those differences made for a rich and diverse evening of poetry from our guests and open mic-ers. Connie's canvas is broad - we heard poems on the humiliation of a body wasting away, a car breaking down, a baby viewed on a sonogram - and lots of references to New Mexico, including an ode to the high temperatures, "This thick arctic of heat".
With her focus on the same continent, Sue Boyle treated us to a substantial portion of her latest work, The Letters from Mexico, her moving Victorian love story. The tale is told in sonnets based on letters - or meditations - between a wealthy, but essentially lonely man ("I was a country no one thought to find") and his children's governess. Then we were off to Rome for another love affair - delicious.
That point about use of language was a theme for the evening, in fact, with lots of haiku (and their variants - thanks, Alan, for the one-liners!), memorable prose poems from Lesley, and a 'found' poem from Peter, among the many excellent open mic contributions.