31st May 2018, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Some nights, there's a stronger sense of Magic Fairy Dust at work at Words & Ears than others. On Thursday, there must have been a stock surplus - the Cellar Bar was filled with richly meaningful synchronicities between poets, and the kind of gorgeous interconnectedness that simply happens - and certainly can't be planned. Thank you to guest poet Claire Williamson for her powerful, affecting poems - portraits of the vulnerable and lost, in a world where 'quick as the flick of a rodent's tail, / we can lose our children'. Fellow guest Susan Richardson's poems likewise addressed the vulnerable, in her case some of the endangered sea creatures with which we share the planet, beautifully presented with fascinating, funny and moving between-poem anecdotes. I loved in particular her poem about Lamna nasus, the porbeagle, a species of mackerel shark, whose joys and dangers are deliciously captured through the innovative, language-romp poem 'Play', where life is clearly good 'when frondling kelp / the overunder underover roll and oh / the gilly tingle'. Thanks too to the open mic-ers for their serving of strong poems, including Jinny Fisher (great 'Google sculpt' poem), Rosie Jackson, Stephen Payne, Rose Flint (in search of swifts), Pey Oh, John Waite, Michelle Diaz, Claire Coleman with a powerful poem about her work as a youth worker, Sylvia Novak, John Skrine, Liz Watts on 'fourth cone' envy, Peter O'Grady, Mark Sayers, Ruth Sharman, John Hawkhead and Kate Pawsey. And a final thank you to all those who bought tickets for the draw for a copy of Claire's new book 'Visiting the Minotaur', all money raised going to the charities Splitz and the Malala Fund.