Susan Richardson

Guest Poet: Susan Richardson

Pembrokeshire-based Susan Richardson's fourth collection of poetry, Words the Turtle Taught Me, themed around endangered marine species, will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2018. In addition to her recent residency with the Marine Conservation Society, she is currently poet-in-residence with both the global animal welfare initiative, World Animal Day, and the British Animal Studies Network, facilitated by the University of Strathclyde. Susan has performed on BBC 2, Radio 4 and at festivals both nationally and internationally. She co-edits Zoomorphic digital literary magazine.

Claire Williamson

Guest Poet: Claire Williamson

Claire Williamson's latest poetry collection Visiting the Minotaur is published by Seren. Claire has been highly commended in the Bridport Prize (2017) and was runner up in the Neil Gunn writing competition (2017). She's currently studying for a doctorate in Creative Writing at Cardiff University exploring 'Writing the 21st Century Bereavement novel'. Claire writes libretti and has been commissioned to commemorate the SS Great Britain, the outbreak of WW1 and most recently St George's Hall. She is Programme Leader for the UK's only MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes.

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.