31st August 2017, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Meanwhile, we were treated to exquisite readings by our two guest poets, Helen Evans and Rachel Curzon, at Words & Ears at the end of August. We were taken on some extraordinary journeys by Rachel's delicious, and often mischievous, imagination, keeping the company of gypsies, an unhinged school master, Maud Gonne and the spirit of the rowan tree. It was a great evening for learning the unusual - from Rachel, my favourite fact was that the glass harmonica was banned because it was thought to create hysteria in women. From glider pilot Helen, we learned much about what it is to fly, about yearning, and about the different kinds of fear. It is difficult, she said, to write about fear without being sentimental or melodramatic, but her poems, delivered from memory, with fascinating asides, achieve the balance with much grace. Many of us identified with her observation that 'sometimes I think my poems know more about me than I do' - a sentiment neatly echoed in Stephen Payne's open mic poem Some Regular Shapes - 'as with poems and lives, we make some things before we understand them.'