Guest Poet: Alison Brackenbury
Alison Brackenbury has published 10 poetry collections. Her work has won an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award. She has read at many major literary festivals, including StAnza, Ledbury and Cheltenham Literature Festival. Her 2016 Carcanet collection, Skies, featured in The Guardian and was one of The Observer's Poetry Books of the Year. Gillian Clarke recently wrote: 'Alison Brackenbury loves, lives, hymns and rhymes the natural world and its people like no other poet'. Alison's most recent collection, Aunt Margaret's Pudding, (HappenStance Press, 2018) celebrated her grandmother. It was the basis of a BBC Radio 4 feature, What Sweetness Touched Your Tongue?, (June 2018), featured in Radio 4's Pick of the Week. Gallop, her Selected Poems, is published by Carcanet (February 2019). It presents her favourites from 40 years of published poems.
You can find more about the pedigree and poems of Gallop at Alison's website: http://alisonbrackenbury.co.uk/
Guest Poet: Shirley Wright
Shirley Wright is a former French teacher turned poet and novelist who lives in Bristol. Back in 2008 her poem, My Father, won the Sunday Telegraph Poetry for Performance competition, judged by Ben Okri and Andrew Motion. Since then her poetry has won or been placed in various competitions and appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies. Her first full collection, The Last Green Field, came out in 2013, published by Indigo Dreams. It explores the inevitability of change, both in human relationships and in the natural environment. Her latest collection, Sticks and Stones, picks up the environmental theme. While acknowledging the threats that loom, the poems celebrate the enduring strength of the natural world via two symbols of longevity - ancient trees and rocks, representatives of the organic and inorganic that somehow survive over vast periods of time compared with a tiny human life. Photo: Sarah Blake
25th July 2019, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Thank you to everyone who braved the heat last night to come to Words & Ears - it was a great evening, complete with our very own rain goddess, in the shape of guest poet Shirley Wright - twice when she stood up to read her poems, the heavens opened, sluicing down the heavy air. She, and fellow guest poet Alison Brackenbury treated us to the best of poetry moments - I loved Alison's 'thoroughly disreputable villanelle', her uncanny timing on reading her 8am poem as the clock struck 8pm, not to mention her focus on a 'brief outbreak of anarchy on a Chinese train'. My thanks to all audience members, and, of course, to our open mic poets of the evening, Peter O'Grady, Richard Wallace, Kate Semple, Kate Pawsey, John Powell, Eileen Cameron, Moira Andrew, Norman Leater, Dominic Weston, Kieron Bacon, Tom Forrest, and, all the way from Guildford just for Words & Ears, Janice Dempsey and Donall Dempsey - their visit made the evening particularly special for me, as Dempsey and Windle will be publishing my new pamphlet in September, and this was the first time I'd met Janice and Donall.