16th September 2016, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN
Great to see so many new faces at the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival Words & Ears extra event on Friday - thanks to all those who rose to the challenge of reading poems (and in some cases writing new poems for the night) on the festival's theme of Space (and Other Big Things) - Ruth Sharman, Martin Davis, Simon Williams, Susan Taylor, Paul Brokensha, Kate Escher, Mark Sayers, JJ Evendon, George Faina-Dixon, Hannah Teasdale and Paul Deaton, who delivered one of my favourite lines of the night: "The sky is faultless, pig-rind clean".
Our guest poet Harry Man, dressed for the part in a Thunderbirds jumper, gave us a rich and varied set of science fact, science fiction and an addictively whimsical sense of humour. He drew elements of space from his pamphlet Lift, where titles such as My Older Brother is a Self-Contained Binary Star System and Lines Derived From Minecraft Player Queries tell you as much about him and his style as his jumper. The poems have Macedonian translations on each facing page - well, why not? - and there are thought-provoking notes at the back, including alarming facts about the plight of the nightingale in Nightingale is - an area explored more fully in this year's witty yet melancholy Finders Keepers, a collaboration with artist Sophie Gainsley about Britain's vanishing wildlife.