28th March 2019, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
7:30pm - 10:00pm.
Come and join us at Bradford on Avon's popular reading series, Words & Ears. Bring a poem, story or song to share, or just bring yourself. All performers and listeners welcome: open mic slots always available. £4 on the door.
At this event, we welcome Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders, with their collaborative work A Part of the Main. The book is the outcome of what began as an initial email conversation between them during the political upheavals that characterized 2016-2017. The subsequent dialogue was conducted over three or four months in seriously playful verses passed backwards and forwards between the two poets, more and more rapidly as they entrusted themselves to the improvisatory process. The sequence moves, in swerves and echoes, beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language, even life itself. It translates personal feelings into a more communal language and, in a time of simplistic soundbites, gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more head-room.
A cast of traditional characters appear, disappear, re-appear - Miranda, Caliban, Odysseus, Dido, Beowulf and Grendel, a Celtic saint or two, King Lud and Gogmagog - who are enlisted to help make some sense of who and where we are now as a nation, a people whose roots are everywhere in the world, certainly not just in 'this skew-whiff island'. And then there are also 'the eyeless, / limbless, sunk, without rank, /names or papers', the ones who - whether now or in the historic past - have risked everything to find a place of safety, and who deserve to be a central part of this island's story: a story in which the sea is a constant and overwhelming presence. In the words of a reviewer, 'this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.'