24th June 2017

Moira Andrew
Maggie Harris
Ruth Marden
Crysse Morrison
Patrick B Osada
Peter Wyton

25th May 2017

Elephant's Footprint
Jodie Hollander
Liz Watts

27th April 2017

Rishi Dastidar
Susan Utting

17th April 2017

Rebecca Gethin

30th March 2017

Charles G Lauder Jr
Jennifer A McGowan

23rd February 2017

Wendy Klein
Daniel Sluman

26th January 2017

Ira Lightman
Ruth Sharman

3rd January 2017

Angela France
Roy Marshall

15th December 2016

John Hawkhead
Elizabeth Parker

24th November 2016

Claire Dyer
Hannah Teasdale

27th October 2016

Brokenborough Poets
Liz Carew
Atherton Gray
David Lukens
Matthew Oates
John Richardson
MM Season

29th September 2016

Deborah Harvey
Kieron Winn

16th September 2016

Harry Man

25th August 2016

Various contributors to the new book Salt on the Wind

11th August 2016

Georgi Gill
JL Williams

28th July 2016

David Clarke
Rachael Clyne

30th June 2016

Alison Brackenbury
Rosie Jackson

28th June 2016

Sam Loveless
Alan Summers

26th May 2016

Martyn Crucefix
Linda Saunders

5th May 2016

Cristina Navazo-Eguia Newton

28th April 2016

Graham Burchell
Maggie Sawkins

31st March 2016

Martin Malone
Caroline Heaton

25th February 2016

Sue Boyle
Connie Voisine

28th January 2016

Carrie Etter
Matthew Stewart

4th January 2016

Alison Lock
Stephen Payne

26th November 2015

Rose Flint

29th October 2015

Robin Houghton

28th September 2015

Emily Wills

27th August 2015

Alasdair Paterson

30th July 2015

Matt Merritt

25th June 2015

Deborah Harvey

28th May 2015

Sue Sims
Jeremy Young

30th April 2015

Carole Baldock

26th March 2015

Lesley Saunders

26th February 2015

Susan Utting

29th January 2015

Sue Chadd

5th January 2015

Josephine Corcoran

4th December 2014

Special Event

30th October 2014

Stephen Elves

25th September 2014

Daisy Behagg

3rd September 2014

Special Event

31st July 2014

Peter Wyton

26th June 2014

Rosie Jackson

29th May 2014

Misha Carder

24th April 2014

Richard Skinner

27th March 2014

Allison McVety

27th February 2014

Martin Malone

30th January 2014

Hilda Sheehan

16th December 2013

Deborah Harvey

28th November 2013

Chrissie Gittins

24th October 2013

Dawn Gorman

26th September 2013

Fiona Moore

2nd September 2013

Special Event

25th July 2013

Alan Summers

27th June 2013

Kevan Manwaring

25th April 2013

Lynne Sedgmore

28th March 2013

Peter Wyton

28th February 2013

Jay Ramsay

24th January 2013

Linda Saunders

19th December 2012

Helen Moore

29th November 2012

Frances-Anne King

29th October 2012

Rose Flint

1st October 2012

Lesley Saunders

3rd September 2012

Special Event

30th July 2012

Jay Ramsay

23rd May 2012

Special Event

30th April 2012

Stephen Boyce

26th March 2012

Kevan Manwaring

23rd January 2012

David C Johnson

19th December 2011

Crysse Morrison

22nd November 2011

Philip Lyons

31st October 2011

Sue Boyle

29th September 2011

Special Event

27th August 2011

Liv Torc

25th July 2011

Stephen Payne

27th June 2011

Kevan Manwaring

23rd May 2011

Linda Snell

18th April 2011

Special Event

28th March 2011

Julie Mullen

28th February 2011

Gabriel Bradford Millar

25th January 2011

Special Event

13th December 2010

Muriel Lavender

17th November 2010

Karen Hoy
Alan Summers

23rd September 2010

Carrie Etter

31st August 2010

Jay Ramsay

Graham Burchell

Guest Poet: Graham Burchell

Graham Burchell was born in Canterbury and now lives in South Devon. In between he has lived in Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Tenerife, Mexico, France, Chile and the United States. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. His third collection, Kate and his fourth, Cottage Pi (one of the winners of the inaugural Sentinel poetry book competition) were published in 2015. He was the 2012 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year, a 2013 Hawthornden Fellow and winner of the 2015 Stanza competition.

Maggie Sawkins

Guest Poet: Maggie Sawkins

Maggie Sawkins won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2014 for her live literature production, Zones of Avoidance. Her collections include Charcot's Pet (Flarestack), The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens Press) and Zones of Avoidance (Cinnamon Press). Since 2003 she has organised events for Tongues&Grooves Poetry and Music Club. Maggie lives in Portsmouth where she is involved in writing projects in community and health care settings.

28th April 2016, The Swan Hotel, 1 Church Street, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LN

Unseasonal hailstones hammering at the French windows of the Coach House at this month's Words & Ears were matched by some hard-hitting poetry from our headliners Maggie Sawkins and Graham Burchell. Maggie's honest, open sequences from Zones of Avoidance, about her daughter's addiction, pregnancy and the adoption of the baby, where, about to say goodbye to the child, "we listen, stricken, to the words I love you / escaping from the hard box of my throat" were, not surprisingly, deeply moving. But there was dry, dark humour, too: "I wake up wondering what it's like to cluck", and other avenues to explore, including A Visual Exploration of Fetish... Maggie answered questions about her writing and told us a little about her professional involvement with people in recovery from addictions - "Poetry -" she said "they love it, for some reason!" You get a sense that Maggie's unassuming, matter-of-fact honesty has much to do with their response.
Graham Burchell's collection Kate, a narrative sequence about the bleak life of an imagined girl, brings with it its own braveries - not least in that the poet is inhabiting the persona of a young girl. "Such a cheerful book, what was I thinking of?" Graham laughed, but the oddly perceptive collection is mesmerising. Particularly memorable was The Song of the Child That Wants to Come, celebrating the moment (as one of the world's remote tribes does, apparently) when the idea of a baby takes hold in a woman.
After all this, it was not surprising, perhaps, that there were lots of open mic contributions on the subject of mothers, fathers and children - Stephen Daniels' line "Mum filled the teacup for Dad to drown in" is still in my mind as I write this, as is Tom Forrest's poem Dropping South to the Cape (echoing Robert Lowell's Dropping South: Brazil), "to land in a clash of masculinities".
And speaking of masculinities, I thought it interesting that, on a night where poetry about women was so much to the fore, all but two of our excellent open mic-ers (thanks Anna-May and Josephine!) were men...