27th February 2020, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to Words & Ears this month - what a treat it was to have the luxury of being a reader, while Rosie Jackson did such a splendid job MC-ing. I was particularly struck by how attentive an audience Words & Ears folk are - thank you so much for your support and your great open mic poems, and thank you to Stephen Boyce for his readings, which I thought were excellent. Here is Rosie's review of the evening - thank you for this too, Rosie.
"With the world facing dark places right now, any poetry worth its salt will both face them head on and try to transform or lift them into light. Last night's Words and Ears did just that, naming the threats to life, how birds can be 'flipped back to a handful of nothing', how icebergs need a requiem, how there's 'a lump in the throat of the day', how 'this year needs us more than ever' and yet finding redemption through empathy for all forms of life. Guests Dawn Gorman - delivering 'a light for the dark of it' - and excellent craftsman Stephen Boyce - 'I count myself well versed in trees', set the tone, moving and warm, with poem after poem celebrating larch, tulip tree, sycamore, cherry, and the evening had plenty of birds too, especially great egrets. I dropped deeper into my heart listening to them both, and to the wonderful open mic-ers: Rachael Clyne, June Hall, Liz Watts, Heidi Beck (with an audacious fully rhyming poem!), Chris MacFarlane, Kate Escher, Stephen Payne (with a literal carousel of Extinct and Endangered Species in Paris), Anne Gregson, Peter Peter O'Grady, Eileen Cameron, John Powell and John Skreen, whose line 'Who'll find the right words to warm the heart?' was loudly answered by every poet present. It was a special treat to have Dawn, usually the host, reading her poems from Instead, Let us Say. She shared that Wendy Klein's review in High Window notes that 'this poet can make a graveyard erotic'. And she did, she did."