All the Way Home

On April 9 we had the pleasure of hosting (at West Greenwich Library) award-winning Irish poet Jane Clarke reading from All the Way Home, her sequence of twenty-one poems responding to one family’s experience of WW1, hot off the press (Smith Doorstop). And what a treat it was!

The backstory: Gill Stoker of the Mary Evans Picture Library (Blackheath), having received a vast archive of letters, drawings, documents and photographs relating to the Auerbach family from Patricia Aubrey (niece of the ‘protagonists’ of this pamphlet) had asked Jane if she could write something in response to it. Jane was awarded a literary bursary form the Arts Council of Ireland, which allowed her to spend eighteen months researching and writing. We were privileged to hear the result just days after publication and the Dublin launch, and before next week’s Manchester launch. Almost by chance, Jane had met Blake Morrison in Dublin late last year, and he agreed to introduce her works on the night, reading two beautiful poems from her previous book (River, Bloodaxe 2015) and from the one due out later in the year, also from Bloodaxe.

The emotional landscape of war for those at the Front and at home is illustrated by Jane’s sequence and the poignant photographs accompanying it. And ‘landscape’ is the key word here, because as Jane explained, the natural world offered her a way in, becoming a unique facilitator with its gift for metaphor and beauty, the everyday and the extraordinary, for echoing losses and the small joys one can experience even in the midst of a catastrophe.

For a ‘proper’ review, do read The Yorkshire Times

Photographs by Paul Brown (Mary Evans Picture Library)

Blake Morrison introducing Jane Clarke (left), with Patricia Aubrey
Gill Stoker and Patricia Aubrey giving the background to the book project
Jane Clarke introducing her pamphlet, in the background one of the photographs from the Auerbach archive
Jane and captive audience in the beautiful Library rotunda

 

Events

February 4

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

UNIVERSITY POETRY CHALLENGE
Blake Morrison and Cherry Smyth will introduce students from Goldsmiths and University of Greenwich respectively to showcase their poetry-writing skills. With the participation of poet Sascha Akhtar.

Door opens at 6.30 for a 6.45 start. All welcome.

February 25

West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

WRITING DOWN DEEP
Jan Fortune of Cinnamon Press will launch her own book, Writing Down Deep, grown from her blog on writing. Not a how-to, but a volume rich with ideas, exercises and reflections.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

March 10 – POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER

Graham Fawcett‘s lecture/performance on American poet Elizabeth Bishop.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is not widely known in this country. Unaccountably so, given her profound and varied output, her literary prizes and her interesting life.

But for a true insight and some wonderful readings, do come to Graham’s talk with the wonderful Sue Aldred as second reading voice. Plenty of time to whet your appetite by reading up on Bishop…

Venue to be confirmed.

March 24

West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

Two poets bringing their voices from further afield: Omar Sabbath – British Lebanese living in Dubai, and Edward Ragg, who lives in China.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

April 28

West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

TWO GIRLS AND A BEEHIVE
Rosie Jackson and Graham Burchell will launch Two Girls and a Beehive, their collaborative collection of poems, due to be published by Two Rivers Press (Reading) earlier that month. The poems follow the life and explore much of the work of visionary artist Stanley Spencer, as well as giving voice to his complex personal life and the relative invisibility of artist Hilda Carline, his first wife.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

May 12

West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

Readings by the wonderful Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

June 23

West Greenwich Library,
146 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NN

NIGHT WATCHED
Celebrating the Solstice with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, plus other poets bringing us their take on the night skies…

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome