Guest Poet: John Greening
John Greening is a TLS reviewer and Eric Gregory judge, whose awards include the Bridport Prize and a Cholmondeley. Since his last visit with Penelope Shuttle to read from their collaboration, Heath, he has published an Egypt memoir Threading a Dream: a Poet on the Nile, a new edition of Geoffrey Grigson's poetry, the fine press chapbook Achill Island Tagebuch, and a major new collection from Carcanet, The Silence (May, 2019). His many earlier books include the collection To the War Poets and studies of poetry and poets from the Elizabethans to Ted Hughes. His edition of Edmund Blunden's Undertones of War appeared from Oxford in 2015, along with a classical music anthology, Accompanied Voices. There is a pamphlet from New Walk Editions due in autumn 2019, and in 2020 a collection of his collected essays and reviews. He has recently collaborated with the baritone Roderick Williams on his Schubert Project and is currently editing a new edition of Iain Crichton Smith's poetry.
Author photograph: Adrian Bullers
Guest Poet: Susan Jane Sims
Susan Jane Sims is based in Beaminster, Dorset where she runs Tangerine Cafe with her husband Chris alongside her publishing company Poetry Space. Her work has been widely published in poetry magazines and she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2018. Her third poetry collection Splitting Sunlight was published in 2019 by Dempsey & Windle.
30th January 2020, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Thank you everyone who brought their words and ears to the Swan in Bradford on Avon this month - we were treated to two fine readings by our guest poets, Sue Sims and John Greening. In the vast landscape of John's poems (both geographically and stylistically - we went to Achill Island, to Egypt, and negotiated a 'crown' of sonnets) were the most delicious, tiny details (a stag beetle, 'struggling like a memory'; 'lanes of trickling fuchsia hedge'). Meanwhile, Sue's honest, moving poems about her son Mark's cancer were a gently-spoken war cry echoing through the territory of a battle not won ('It makes you weaker than you thought possible. / It makes you stronger than you ever wanted to be.')
As often happens at Words & Ears, a theme for the evening emerged in the open mic (birds, in all their guises), and there were some pleasing ripples of prose, too. Thank you for your contributions, Olivia Tuck, Sue Boyle, Verona Bass, Luke Palmer, Anne Gregson, Mark Sayers, B Anne Adriaens, Martin Davis, Anthony Barne, Peter O'Grady, Mike Grenville, Nick Sorensen, Lisa Samuel and Paul Brokensha.