All That Has Been

On Remembrance evening a large virtual audience was treated to moving, incisive, witty and evocative readings by Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French, and original ‘poem songs’ composed and performed by The Moonpennies (Steve Halliwell and Clare Harriot).

At his time of travel restrictions, we were transported to the Indian mountains, where Chrissie retraced her father’s footsteps during WW2, the the Welsh farm of Wendy’s family memories and the chilly markets of South East London.

We were there. We smelled the places, heard the sounds, felt the discomfort, fear, comfort and losses. We joined them on their journeys to discover, or perhaps own again, bits they were missing from their narratives – something we all feel the need to do at different stages of our lives. The resonances were vivid.

We also giggled at funny anecdotes and felt the strength of loyalty and gratitude to our NHS with Wendy’s reading from Born in the NHS (co-written with Jane Kirwan).

We listened to Emily Dickinson’s words as never before, one of the settings The Moonpennies performed, and, appropriately at the end, to their setting into music of Yeats’s ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’. Wonderful.

Chrissie’s collection Sharp Hills is available from indigodreams.co.uk

Wendy’s Bread Without Butter is available from rockinghampress.co.uk and Born in the NHS from The Hippocrates Press

Events

STILL EUROPEAN – Thursday 25 February 2021 at 7.30 on Zoom

However you feel about ‘having got brexit done’ (personally, I am gutted…), I want to celebrate the diverse languages, artforms and culture of Europe with an evening of words, images and more words.

In collaboration with the Mary Evans Picture Library in Blackheath and thanks to its Poetry and Pictures Blog, curated by Gill Stoker, we shall hear Sarah Lawson, Fiona Moore, Gabriel Moreno, John McCullough, Emma Page, Jacqueline Saphra and Richard Westcott read their poems on a European theme and show the pictures that inspired them. They will also read their favourite European poem in translation and, wherever possible, in the original.

Free by invitation. Email irena@in-words.co.uk to be sent a zoom link the day before the event.