30th November 2017, The Coach House, The Swan, Bradford on Avon
Excellent, enjoyable sets from our two guest poets at Words & Ears on Thursday - I loved in particular Tania Hershman's offer to 'customise for the audience' and add in more swear words when her first poem, complete with expletives, went down so well. Just two years in the poetry kitchen, she has developed a great knack of cutting out poems from dough taken from scientific facts and imagery. I liked The Biology and the Birds (inspired by a letter to New Scientist), and the unexpectedly tender account of seeing her mother's heart beating during a medical examination. There was a lovely synchronicity with our second guest poet, Pam Zinnemann-Hope, in that she gave us a love poem about watching her husband during a medical examination. The two poets' work is, in fact, very different in style and tone, but it's interesting how those small meeting points sometimes come out during a reading, and give the evening a coherence beyond what was planned. Much of Pam's new work celebrates the West Dorset landscape in the face of a changing climate. I particularly enjoyed her poem in the voice of fossil collector Mary Anning, and also her entertaining preambles about her husband, a composer - in spite of her own, admitted lack of musical ability, the thread of her husband's work undoubtedly runs through her work, with a strong focus on the art of listening.
Meanwhile, the open mic poems were excellent as always. To reflect Tania's second set, which gave us a flavour of her wonderfully imaginative short stories, we also had two short stories from Paul Brokensha, along with poetry contributions from Josephine Corcoran, Jinny Fisher, Michelle Diaz, Rachael Clyne, Chaucer Cameron, Ray Fussell, Mark Sayers, Stephen Boyce, Stephen Payne, Peter O'Grady, John Powell and Rosie Jackson and others. Thanks to everyone for taking part.