A Coincidence of Two Mexicos at The Swan

How daunting it might have been to find that I was sharing my first ever extended reading of work-in-progress Letters from Mexico with the brilliant Connie Voisine, Associate Professor of English at New Mexico State University,  for whom Mexico is not a poetically imagined unvisited space ( as it is for me ) but an intimately familiar place.  And how beautifully generous of Connie Voisine not to daunt me about this!

Words & Ears last night was its usual vibrant, congenial self with a wonderfully attentive audience of accomplished open mic poets, all so different, all in their turn so worth the attentive listening. The Coach House at The Swan Hotel in Bradford-on-Avon is an excellent poetry space,  compered with such relaxing grace by Dawn Gorman that the evening appears simply to run itself.   ( It doesn’t. Nothing takes more skill than the organising of an apparently effortless happening. )

Connie had come to read from her third collection, Calle Florista. I was riven with anxieties  of course, before I arrived in Bradford for this reading. Which nine of the twenty four sonnets in Letters from Mexico would tell the story best; whether to include the bit I like so much ( for all the wrong reasons ) about the humming sloths; whether I would get away with knowing so little about Victorian microscopes; whether it was true that in Mexico the moonstones came from mines  – the usual things. It was such a joy to sit and listen to Connie’s sparse, vivid, enthralling poems and forget all that.

Calle Florista



An Afternoon of Particularly Good Poetry in Bath

On Saturday 13th February, Anne-Marie Fyfe will be tearing herself away from London’s Troubadour to visit the poets and friends of the Bath Poetry Cafe. During the afternoon she will be reading from her new collection, House of Small Absences, published by Serenand will be accompanied by six poets who read and workshop regularly with the Bath Cafe.  Read how they introduce themselves, below……Anne-Marie flyer 6 Jan



Rachael Clyne lives and works as a psychotherapist in Glastonbury. Her latest collection, Singing at the Bone Tree, won Indigo Dreams’ George Stevens Memorial Prize 2013 and concerns our relationship with the wild. She appears in several anthologies, including: The Very Best of 52, Book of Love and Loss, Poems for a Liminal Age. Also Magazines: Poetry Space, Reach, Domestic Cherry, Tears in the Fence, The Fat Damsel & The Interpreters House. Rachael enjoys bringing humour and a touch of theatre to her readings, having had a previous career as an actor.

Rosie photo1 colour

Rosie Jackson’s first full collection of poetry The Light Box will come out with Cultured Llama in March 2016, following her pamphlet What the Ground Holds (Poetry Salzburg, 2014). She is widely published. In 2015-16 she won awards in many competitions including First Prize in the Berkshire Music & Arts Festival, Joint First Prize in the Bath Poetry Café, the Hilly Cansdale award at Wells Literature Festival, and Second Prize in the Battered Moons. She’s taught in many venues – University of East Anglia, Skyros Writers’ Lab, Open College of the Arts – and in community and health settings. Her memoir The Glass Mother will be published by Unthank Books in Nov 2016. Rosie lives near Frome. 

Frances Anne mono23

Frances-Anne King is a prize winning poet whose poetry has appeared in Journals such as The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Agenda, and Poetry Ireland Review. Her first pamphlet, Weight of Water, was published in 2013 by Poetry Salzburg Pamphlet Series. She convenes Ekphrastic Poetry workshops at the Holburne Museum in Bath where she is currently editing an Anthology for their centenary celebrations in June this year.


John Richardso pic

John Richardson has written poetry for almost fifty years. He was a founder member of Poetry Swindon, has MC’d poetry events at Marlborough and Bath literature Festivals and given many workshops and readings. He has published several pamphlets and has had modest success in national and local poetry competitions. John currently designs poetry websites and has just released a poet’s workbench support application named SecretaryBird. His poems are inspired by : his travels to the far East, family, friends and everyday events. John says he write poetry because he has to, in order to go where there are no maps, where no one else has been. He expects to get lost. His poems help him find his way back.


As a one-time fine-arts journalist, Linda Saunders found an early spur to poetry in a wish for a less analytic and more poetic language in which to speak about art. She is fascinated by fleeting visual events, but also by feelings glimpsed ‘sideways’ ‘between the visible and invisible’. Her fourth book will be published next spring by Worple Press; it includes a sequence about an imaginary sculptor as well as the title poem of the Bath Poetry Cafe’s Anthology, The Listening Walk. Her first full-length collection was short-listed for the Jerwood/Aldeburgh Prize. She was also shortlisted for the BP Arts Journalist of the Year Award. 

Shirley Wright pic

In 2008, Shirley Wright’s poem My Father won the Telegraph ‘Poetry for Performance’ competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion. In 2014, she won the People’s Prize at the Wells International Poetry Festival for her poem Arête, which can be found in Poems For A Liminal Age, an anthology sold in aid of the charity Médecins Sans Frontières. Her novel Time Out Of Mind, came out in 2012. Her first full poetry collection, The Last Green Field, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013, and she is currently working on a second collection, a homage to natural examples of longevity.