30th August 2018, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
We were in the territory of where personal and world histories meet last night at Words & Ears, when both our guest poets, Lesley Saunders and Josephine Corcoran, shared work from their new collections. As Lesley said, there are, tragically, always echoes of the past in current affairs - human suffering on repeat - and 'it's the soft things that perish first', but her book, Nominy-Dominy, also digs down for more benign constants, the 'colour at the back of things', as in her meditation on the colour indigo, and in her deliciously wise, extended poem about Sappho, transplanted to the Irish island of Inishbofin. Josephine took us from the Irish Potato Famine (in the title poem of her book, What Are You After?) to 'tray after tray / of blossom-filled boulevards' in Paris, with a sense of the poignant way our small histories swim through the world of bigger ones - both movingly and humorously brought home in one of my favourites, Love in the time of hospital visits.
As always, the open mic was rich and varied, with new voices and lots of familiar ones, including Rachael Clyne giving us a couple of sneak peeks into her brand new book, Girl Golem. Other readers were Stephen Payne, Ray Fussell, Michelle Diaz (herself riding on a wave of recent poetry successes), Mark Sayers, Richard Devereux, Tom Sastry, Kieron Bacon, Ginny Saunders, John Powell, B Adriens, Linda Saunders, Peter O'Grady, Heidi Beck, John Hawkhead and Paul Brokensha. Thanks to everyone for helping to make it such a great night.