Friday afternoon open mic

6 Oct
In the garden at the Richard Jefferies Museum In the garden at the Richard Jefferies Museum

Yesterday afternoon at the Festival began with an open mic session within which two longer reading slots were given to myself and Anna Saunders.

Anna Saunders Anna Saunders

Anna is the director of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and has written five collections of poetry. We heard a number of poems from Kissing the She Bear and Ghosting, her most recent collection from Indigo Dreams. Heavily influenced by myth and folklore, Anna’s poems were frequently evocative and mysterious. ‘He is gone into a tree’ was a poem about her father based on stories from the Golden Bough. She explained that ‘Ghosting is about ‘the things that haunt us’… ‘the person opposite on you on the train […] suddenly flashing you that smile’ (‘The Ventriloquist Dolls of the Dead’). An engaging and varied reading.

Hannah Linden Hannah Linden

The open mic was of a really high standard; with so many published and active poets in the tent I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. Lucia Sellars from Bolivia bravely read first – a lovely, contemplative start to the set. Hannah Linden read a six-part mermaid sequence, Alison Brackenbury a short poem from a new collection about the life and recipes of her grandmother. Arthur Broomfield read a lovely poem about when he first met his wife. Liz and John Mills, Michelle Diaz Janice Dempsey, Jinny Fisher, Judi Sutherland and Tony Hillier all read, and more. Apologies to anyone I’ve not mentioned.

Judi Sutherland Judi Sutherland

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