Martin Figura

Guest Poet: Martin Figura

Martin Figura's collection and show Whistle was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the 2013 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show. Other prizes include the Poetry Society's 2010 Hamish Canham Prize and runner up in the 2017 RSPB/Rialto Poetry Competition. Shed (Gatehouse Press) and Dr Zeeman's Catastrophe Machine (Cinnamon Press) were both published in 2016 and a new edition of Whistle (Cinnamon Press) in 2018. The spoken word show Dr Zeeman's Catastrophe Machine was shortlisted in the 2018 Saboteur Awards and is currently touring. He lives in Norwich with Helen Ivory and sciatica, where he runs the literature event Cafe Writers.
Photo: DaveVallis

Helen Ivory

Guest Poet: Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist. She has won a Gregory Award and her fourth Bloodaxe Books collection, the semi-autobiographical Waiting for Bluebeard was short-listed for the East Anglian Book Awards (2014). She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is tutor and Course Director for the UEA/NCW online creative writing programme. Fool's World a collaborative Tarot with the artist Tom de Freston (Gatehouse Press) won the 2016 Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. Hear What the Moon Told Me is book of collage/ mixed media/ acrylic painted poems was published in 2016 by Knives Forks and Spoons Press. She was recently awarded an Arts Council grant to work on The Anatomical Venus Bloodaxe Books (June 2019), and Maps of the Abandoned City a chapbook from SurVision Press (Ireland), was published in January 2019.
Photo: Dave Gutteridge

31st October 2019, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN

WHAT an outstanding Words and Ears we enjoyed last night, the room so packed we nearly ran out of chairs, lots of new faces, umpteen former guest poets among the open mic contributors, and the Halloween evening's actual guest poets, Helen Ivory and Martin Figura casting their poetry spell over us for sure. Martin conjured up the '70s with Bourbons, Colditz and Arthur Scargill's hair (these from his hilarious poem imagining Edward Heath meeting his nemesis, 'Joyce'); spreadsheets and sciatica, and a drama of rooks in Norfolk ('the sky is blind with them'), while Helen interrogated our culture's packaging of women, shining her torch on everything from crime drama to vibrators, then, her superbly imagined Maps of the Abandoned City in hand, finding the pain of mirrors when there's no one to reflect. Enormous thanks to them, our many attentive 'ears', and to open mic-ers Stephen Payne, Ruth Sharman, Verona Bass, Rosie Jackson (and thank you, Rosie, for the night's photos), John Powell, Sue Boyle & Sylvia Novak (with their exquisite Venetian collaboration), Eileen Cameron, Nikki Kenna, David Blake, Linda Saunders, Chaucer Cameron, B Anne Adriaens, Lesley Saunders, Frances-Anne King, Sarah Watkinson, Mark Sayers, Peter O'Grady, Martin Davis, Lindsey Shaw Miller, Charlotte May, Ray Fussell, Sam Betts and Claire Coleman.