There were fifty people in the Elwin Room when we counted at 3pm – FIFTY people on the day Bath Christmas Markets opened, on the day of the Artisan Fair outside the window in Queen Square, on a day when most sensible people – unless they wanted to go Christmas shopping – might well have avoided Bath. We had a marvellously engaged and responsive audience, made specially lively by the colourful contingent who came to hear Larkhall star, artist JUDE WISDOM answer questions about her work. This followed a powerpoint presentation of selected pieces to accompany ANN PRESTON’S eloquent Appreciation, which we might be permitted later to include in the blog.
The Realms of Gold concert was also mesmerising with some of our finest readers and most admired poets delivering a powerful programme of prose and poetry. We all love drama, except perhaps an organiser waiting at 1.55pm for the arrival of the always reliable CONOR WHELAN who had promised to open at 2.00pm with a recital of Kubla Khan from memory. The piece really mattered to establishing the meetup theme. Only the wonderful talent and good temper of STEPHANIE BOXALL saved us from listening vainly to the silence of the void. Hers was a marvellously sensitive and compelling reading and it gave our afternoon a flying (albeit for this organiser a nailbiting) start.
The shared tea was unusually spectacular. Many thanks to VERONA BASS for taking charge of managing the tables, to all the generous providers, and especially to FLORY WISDOM who had been baking for us for days. FLORY will be presenting her poems for the first time on March 23rd next year, our youngest contributor so far and also definitely one of our culinary stars. It was quite difficult to coax the audience away from the food and each other’s company and back to their seats for The Letters from Mexico .
This must surely have been one of the most delightful launches, for an author, that anyone could have had. Other than the little pieces of linking narrative, all I had to do was listen, enchanted, as friend after friend delivered my sonnets better than the author could have done, while PETE SMITH serenely showed the slides. The Letters from Mexico has now, under GRAEME RYAN’S excellent direction in Taunton, been a costumed play; had a formal launch at the excellent Teignmouth Festival of Poetry; an outing to the Beaufort Bookshop with audience spilling out on to the pavement and the glorious accompaniment of an overhead thunderstorm; and now presented itself in Queen Square, to a wonderful audience who had travelled, among other places, from Dublin, Exeter, Reading and Appledore.
Many thanks to all the writers and artists who played a part in this excellent afternoon: VERONA BASS, CHRISSY BANKS, AMA BOLTON, STEPHANIE BOXALL, CLAIRE COLEMAN, CLAIRE DYER, NIKKI KENNA, ANDREW LAWRENCE, MIRANDA PENDER, ANN PRESTON, GRAEME RYAN, LINDA SAUNDERS, SUE SIMS, PETE SMITH, CONOR WHELAN ( much better late than never ) and SHIRLEY WRIGHT
Many thanks, too, to the people who provided such a wonderfully supportive audience, among whom were CAROLE CATLING, B&NES Senior Arts Development Officer ANN CULLIS, poet MARILYN FRANCIS , botanical artist CAROLINE FRANCES-KING, Walcot State Choir’s BRIAN GOODSELL, singer CAROLINE KAY-MOUAT, poet MERETTA HART, Secure Broadcast CEO HELEN LENNON, SIMON LENNON, writer and teacher MICHAEL LOVEDAY, poet PAT MILLNER, artist MARK PENDER, author PETER REASON, writer and publisher TESSA STRICKLAND, JILL SWALE, writer JUNE WENTLAND, DAISY WISDOM and LUTHER WISDOM, all of whose presence was such a pleasure and such a joy.
The next scheduled appearance of The Letters from Mexico will be at The Swan Hotel in Bradford-on-Avon on Thursday 26th September 2019.
The next fully programmed meeting of Bath Writers & Artists group will be in the BRLSI on Saturday 23rd March 2019. The day is already rich in themes and interest. Please visit the programme Page to see the details if you would like to play a part in this.
sue boyle / organiser bath writers & artists group