30th June 2016, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
It was a huge pleasure to welcome two excellent poets, Alison Brackenbury, and 'our own' Rosie Jackson - and a strong open mic contingent. The assured flow of Alison's performance - with poems smoothly delivered from memory - made for hugely enjoyable sets. Although growing up in Lincolnshire and now living in Gloucestershire, she brought with her many apposite references - to Bath, to river-towns - and a good measure of gentle humour. Her new book, Skies - which is the Observer's Poetry Book of the Month and has been featured on Radio 4 - is one of haunting imagery: stories from her grandfather, 1950s playgrounds and, somehow presiding over it all, 'the lizard older than the afternoon'.
Rosie examined, from various viewpoints in her new book, The Light Box, the idea of absences: the missing spaces inhabited by the likes of Ulysses, Stanley Spencer's first wife Hilda, and Barbara Hepworth, and the world-wide losses stitched into our subconscious in a fractured world, as in her achingly moving poem Had We Known: those who are "kissing mouths they will not meet again", "temples without gods", "heads needing pillows". Rosie's fine and prodigious output continues apace, with her memoir, The Glass Mother (Unthank) due out in November.