Growing Well

Last night Zoom allowed us to connect with two poets from Norfolk, Peter Wallis and Jenny Pagdin, and it was a moving and memorable evening. The title united the main themes – illness, recovery and… allotments. And for me there was a further meaning: the word ‘well’ as a noun, signifying something dug deep, from which life emerges as pure water. There was so much sense of love and consolation as well as deep pain, sorrow, raw honesty and plain hard work in the very different but somehow parallel sequences of poems. And yet no self pity or self indulgence. As Phil Hawtin, a member of the audience, commented, Peter and Jenny “demonstrated the craft of dealing with near impossible subjects, and seeking the positive.” And another one, Caroline, said, “Such inspiring and thought-provoking works: where the poets also gave us a window into their lives, which made it all the more relatable.”

Jenny’s experience of post-natal psychosis and her subsequent recovery were mapped in raw, immediate language, her reading accompanied by some original images. Peter’s reading unfolded in seven ‘episodes’, which included verses inspired by his twin brother’s illness, by his family’s involvement in an allotment and by his own involvement in different and unique projects – assisting Ida Affleck Graves in getting her poems ‘sorted’ (http://www.peterwallis.co.uk/ida-affleck-graves/), becoming Submissions Editor for ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’ (http://www.poemsinthewaitingroom.org) and using poetry with people in care homes.

I feel so grateful for such an uplifting experience provided by Jenny and Peter at this difficult time.

Peter’s signed collection of poems about being an identical twin, Articles of Twinship, is available from the Contact Page at peterwallis.co.uk

Jenny’s pamphlet Caldbeck can be bought following this link https://blackspringpressgroup.com/products/caldbeck

A deeply relaxing, moving tonic of an evening listening to some beautiful poetry being read where the poets shared their life stories with us in both words and in their works (Nadia Ostacchini, Artistic Director, Tricolore Theatre Company)

A beautiful, brave, and graceful reading (Wendy Klein, poet)

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.