30th November 2017

Tania Hershman
Pam Zinnemann-Hope

28th December 2017

Stephen Daniels
Hazel Hammond
Dru Marland

25th January 2018

Angela France
Robert Walton

22nd February 2018

Alyson Hallett
Julie-Ann Rowell

29th March 2018

Paul Deaton

26th April 2018

Tony Curtis
Cora Greenhill

31st May 2018

Claire Williamson

28th June 2018

Martin Malone
Jacqueline Saphra

27th September 2018

Ross Cogan
Anna Saunders

25th October 2018

C L Dallat
Anne-Marie Fyfe

Jonathan Edwards

Guest Poet: Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards' first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014), received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People's Choice Award. It was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

Sarah Watkinson

Guest Poet: Sarah Watkinson

Sarah Watkinson has been writing and studying poetry since 2012 after a career in plant biology. Her work has appeared in UK anthologies and magazines including Litmus, Pennine Platform and The Rialto, and has been successful in several competitions. Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight, her debut pamphlet, was a winner in the 2017 Cinnamon Pamphlet competition. Earlier published work includes three editions of a co-authored textbook, The Fungi, and numerous scientific papers. With Jenny Lewis, of The Poet's House Oxford, she organises SciPo, a summer Science Poetry event.

26th October 2017, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN

Our October guest poets, Sarah Watkinson and Jonathan Edwards, had much in common: they both have an interest in - and have poems about - animals; both write from various and memorable points of view (Sarah, for instance, as a dung beetle, Jonathan as a servant minding his master's seat in an 18th century theatre); and they both deliver their work with a bewitching gentleness, which made for a wonderful evening's poetry at the Swan.
Jonathan told us that 'being a poet is a bit like being a Mastermind contestant - you have to have a specialist subject', and Sarah's scientific background is certainly hers, but, coupled with her quirky imagination it produces some wonderful vignettes. 'How do you dress for photosynthesis?' she asks, imagining a woman who can live on light, like plants do. But she has some serious messages about our natural world, too, with habitat loss being 'a preoccupation'. Jonathan admitted that his speciality is 'animals that don't do stuff' - because when he observes them, they have a habit of becoming completely immobile, including lions ('sunshine with teeth) at Bristol Zoo, and hippos, which, eventually deigning to stir, are spotted by a little girl ('Dad, that island's moving'). His light-touch humour is delicious - I loved his description of his father trying to get a look at Sophia Loren when she was filming Arabesque in the village next to his in 1965. He spots her �wearing her cheekbones' and, watching from an imagined spot close by, Jonathan says �my father's breakfast is nervous in his stomach'. Great stuff.
There were some wonderfully quirky open mic contributions, too (we went into the 'poison garden' with Dominic Fisher; discovered what can be made from which tree with Dru Marland; and learned much about broken escalators from Tom Forrest), with other rich offerings on a busy night from Ruth Sharman, Stephen Payne, Deb Harvey, Frances-Anne King, Linda Saunders, Caroline Heaton, Hannah Teasdale, Ray Fussell, Mark Sayers, Jinny Peberday, Peter O'Grady, Francis Deas, Moira Andrew and Norman Leater.