When Liz Watts suggested I ran an edition of Words & Ears within her ceramics installation Beached at Greenhill Cottage Gallery, I immediately said yes, because the gallery is such a wonderful space and because Liz’s work is stunning. But I didn’t anticipate it working quite so well as our Easter Monday event. That was down to a combination of things – Liz’s inspired staging of her award-winning, sea-themed ceramics; guest poet Rebecca Gethin’s superb, salt-tanged sets, which took us to Zennor and Co Donegal, into the company of turnstones, mermaids and whales and to the dark side of the lighthouse; and to the enthusiasm of the audience and open mic contributors, who really entered into the spirit of things with some great sea poems. Lovely to see new faces, Words & Ears regulars and old poetry friends – Lesley Saunders, Ruth Sharman, Paul Brokensha, Chaucer Cameron, Tom, Sue and Iris Anne Lewis among others. My thanks to gallery owner Martyn Slade, to Liz and her family, and, poignantly, to Mary, Martyn’s partner, who, after last year’s event at the gallery with Cristina Newton said to me ‘we must do another one of these soon’. Sadly, Mary passed away at the end of the summer; for me, the evening was a fitting honouring of her enthusiasm and support.
The next Words & Ears takes us back to The Swan in Bradford on Avon next Thursday, April 27th, for a really exciting line up – guest poets Susan Utting and Rishi Dastidar, plus guest MC Sam Loveless. Susan’s latest collection, Half the Human Race: New & Selected Poems was published just last month. About her work, Moniza Alvi says: “Poets are often praised for knowing what to leave out. Susan Utting knows what to leave in. Ordinary things gain an almost hallucinatory vividness in her richly textured poems. Utting animates life’s brittle edges and her poems carry unforced emotional weight.”
Rishi Dastidar’s first full collection, Ticker-tape, was also published last month. About it, Daljit Nagra says: “These poems are perfected eccentricities who dance through the techno world. Urban wit rubs alongside innovative love poetry. Dastidar is at home “forglopned”, in his “blipverts”, on the way to Stavanger without a signal, enjoying a ‘Potluck Kinfolk style’ or selling love at the Tsukiji fish market. Wherever he is, whatever he’s up to, I declare Dastidar to be one of the most ingenious, modern, thrilling, hilarious and tender poets writing today.”
You don’t need me to tell you that this combination makes for a stunning evening’s poetry… Bring your own, too – open mic contributions always welcome.