9th November 2018, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
It was lovely to see both familiar and new faces at our 'extra' Words & Ears on Friday, and, in spite of our theme being the First World War, it was, on balance, a truly uplifting evening, where the over-riding impression was one of the tenacity of the human spirit in challenging times. Martin Malone treated us to a 'golden summer' first-half set of non-war poems, leading up to readings from his WWI pamphlet 'Mr Willett's Summertime', and from his forthcoming WWI collection, 'The Unreturning'. Lots to provoke the thoughts, not simply about war, that war, but about our own vulnerability, and that of everything around us: "...we've time to die / over and over before our letters reach home". Thank you Martin, and also to our open mic readers for sharing their work, including John Hawkhead for his poem about the Afghanistan war ("Here too, poppies fall, seeds scattered on stone"), Richard Carder, who shared poems by Ivor Gurney, Mark Sayers, Ann Phillips, Chaucer Cameron, Tessa Strickland, Nicola Heaney, Lizzie Parker, with more seeds, and a welcome sense of unstoppable optimism, Hannah M Teasdale, and Helen Sheppard, with her wonderful and necessary poem about birth.