20th December 2018, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
A huge thank you to guest poets Jan Noble and Kevan Manwaring for bringing our Words & Ears year to a fabulous close in December. Kevan set the mood for the turn of the year with poems about the 'wild north wind', mistletoe, and the solstice ('the darker it gets, the brighter we become'), and open mic-ers shared childhood family Christmas memories (Mark Sayers); the US East Coast in winter (Diana Durham) and, naturally, snow (Peter O'Grady - 'this wintered acoustic changes everything'); plus there were great poems from Martin Davies, Paul Brokensha, Chaucer Cameron, Verona Bass, John Powell and, freshly written and then performed in the first half, from Kevan's friend Kevin. BUT the highlight of the evening for me was Jan Noble's electrifying performance of his complex, political, luminous monologue My Name is Swan ('King of effortless rivers / mercenary of the estuary... pimp of the tributaries') - the broken streets of our time meet the unbroken voice of the people, 'loose, though not free'... If you weren't there, you missed 15 minutes of the utterly extraordinary. If you'd like a link to the full-length film version, please let me know.