Family, Animals and Other Things – Zoom reading on June 24

For former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, a poem is ‘a flashlight, an instrument of discovery’. I don’t think this can be surpassed as the most perfect concise definition of poetry.

Sarah Westcott, Gordon Meade, Gillie Robic and Neetha Kunaratnam confirmed this definition last night with verses that shone a light on and helped us discover many different ‘elsewheres’ – some painfully real, like the moment a cancer diagnosis is received; or when a parent is desperately worried about a child’s health; or when one witnesses a parent’s sickness or when caged animals are given a voice. Others almost mythical, where one flies again with an injured bird, watches hawks, listens to ‘the old man by the sea’ or floats out to the ocean without flipflops through a flooded London… And others again, where you’re taken for a literal ride with family members to times and a society so different that it feels like watching a Hollywood movie.

Beautiful voices and not only in the poetic sense. Sarah, Gordon, Gillie and Neetha have beautiful reading voices and I could have listened to them for a lot longer. Comments from the audience expressed the same. If you enjoyed the evening, or if you didn’t make it and would like to read their work, here are some links:

You can order Sarah’s books from the publisher https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/

Gordon’s Zoospeak is published by Enthusiastic Press.

Gillie’s books are published by Live Canon https.//www.livecanon.co.uk/store

Neetha’s collection Just Because is published by Smokestack Books.

Events

Tuesday March 5 at West Greenwich Library, 7-8.30pm

The Birth of a Book: Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety plus A Taste of 154 – readings of some of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, and modern responses to them

Local author and scholar Neville Grant will talk about the writing of his new book, Shakespeare in an Age of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange, 2023), about what inspired him to delve into this well-explored subject and to succeed in finding a plethora of unknown, intriguing (and some amusing) facts about the Bard, and many parallels with goings on in the 21st Century.

154 is a poetry collection published by Live Canon. Each one of 154 modern poets was asked to respond to one of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets (not counting the ones inside his plays). We shall hear some of these inspired pairings, by and with Nick Eisen, Gillie Robic, Lorraine Mariner, NJ Hynes, Rosie Johnston and Doreen Hinchliffe.

Unmissable….

Free as always, with plenty of refreshments – and food for thought!

Neville Grant, best known locally as former editor of the Westcombe News, is a professional author who has published many textbooks on language and literature used in countries around the world. His  latest book, Shakespeare in an Age  of Anxiety (Greenwich Exchange 2023), written for the general reader, celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio – the collection of his plays published seven years after his death. The book looks at how a grammar school boy made it in London’s theatreland, how he survived Tudor politics, and gives an appreciation of each of his works in the order in which they were written, so one can trace his development as a writer.