Sue Boyle

WRITER. Mesmerised by Venice, cats, invisible cities, poetry, puppets, wolves

CURRENT PROJECT: To write a first novel of which I am not ashamed.

Phgotograph by Matt Prosser

Founder organiser  Bath Poetry Cafe / now known as Bath Writers & Artists group. Too Late for the Love Hotel ( Poetry Business Winning Pamphlet) 2012. Report from the Judenplatz dramatised performance Torbay Festival of Poetry 2014.  Safe Passage ( Oversteps Books). 2015 Report from the Judenplatz fully staged performance Taunton 2016. The Letters from Mexico fully staged performance Taunton 2017.  Launch reading Teignmouth Festival. Illustrated by Jude Wisdom ( Bath).  Musical arrangments by Miranda Pender. ( Sherborne). Guest Readings :  Appledore Book Festival, Teignmouth Festival, Torbay Festival of Poetry, Troubadour, Words and Ears, Ware Poets, Swindon, Reading, Sheffield. Workshops and Writing Days: Appledore, Exeter, Torbay and Paignton Festivals, Moor Poets, Bath Poetry Cafe Workshops, Cultural Olympiad Series, Cafe Writing Days Bath, Project 2017. Organiser Annual World War One Centenary Evenings 2014 – 2017 at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution sponsored by Bath and North East Somerset Council Arts Development. Judge: Torbay Festival of Poetry Competition 2016. Magazines: Poetry Ireland, The Rialto, Poetry Salzburg, Magma, Acumen.

Looking forward ….

Saturday February 1st to the Bath Writers & Artists meetup on when Taunton stage director GRAEME RYAN will be working with my set of nine meditations on the Holocaust, Report from the Judenplatz

Saturday 6th June to workshopping again with the wonderful Moor Poets in Devon…

Saturday 26th September to the Bath Writers & Artists meetup titled ‘Elemental Things’ which I am curating for our climate catastrophe thread. I am already sounding out Writers & Artists who would like to work ahead with me on an almanac project for this and have the pleasure of saying that Ali Bacon, Verona Bass, Ama Bolton, Eileen Cameron, Ann Preston, Miranda Pender, Peter Reason, Graeme Ryan and Janet Snowdon have already all said ‘yes’. Their ongoing Climate Conversation can be found elsewhere on this blog.

Tuesday 3rd November to Guest Reading with the excellent Fountain Poets in Wells

Later this year to visiting the Sherborne Literary Society with a programme to be titled ‘Late Onset Poetry’, hopefully with singer/songwriter/artist Miranda Pender as my brilliant star ….

19 December 2019

Christmas races towards my eleventh draft manuscript, which has just arrived at the 40% moment, a little short of 31,000 words. This new draft is crucial because it is trying to incorporate all the edits required by an eleven day Venice stay.  As, for example, that Guiseppe Ricciarelli would not have wanted to own a boat large enough to transport eight partying American students to Poveglia because it would have been much too cumbersome for his usual needs.  He must hire a boat – which involves implicating a boatman in the plague island events, and finding that new character a name.  As, for example, that a building I believed to be a church is actually a liceo.  My beloved Faroukh’s neighbours will have to go further afield when they want to pray. What I learnt in those eleven days was overwhelming and will, I hope, be transformational.  I have shifted the deadline for this draft to New Year’s Eve …… at which I can hear some of these Ca’ Macana characters giving a very hollow laugh……

ca'macana masks

19 November 2019

My book has been completely overtaken by events.  The city is really under seige by water.  Here is a tiny, so far unedited passage I wrote a year ago…..

The surge which devastated Giudecca burst through the Malamocco inlet and struck first on the south western shore,  pouring over the perimeter wall into our friend Frederick  Westwood’s garden, uprooting most  of the trees that lay in its path.  The famous pergolas of course were nothing to the advancing water, nor the flimsily glazed  summer house imported section by section from England by Frederick’s grandfather. Thwarted by the solidity of the villa, the force of the surge veered sideways to breach the brickwork of the canalside wall and elbowed the broken  masonry into the canal, tumbling it into  underwater dams and obstacles, which made the angry hurtle of the surge even more turbulent. The boats on maintenance rigs in Tommaso’s yard were smashed and shrugged aside.  The Salve .  The Regina Mare.  The Stella Maris. The Giulietta.

Across the canal, gondolas tethered below the Salute lifted like slim black leaves on the back of the rising water.  Checked only briefly by their mooring ropes, they sheered off when these snapped,  then either sank at once,  or broke  against the first obstacle they met, their remnants tossed like matchwood on the flood.The harbours of the Arsenale lay helpless, the floating biennale  pavilions  twisting and turning wildly  to escape their anchor chains before they too were swept away…..The flood that swept away the biennale pavilions was the final proof, if proof were needed, that the experimental barrier known as the M.O.S.E. would never work….

And, as a little postscript, in November 2019, the tall cypress you see here really was uprooted by a storm.

A Garden on Giudecca
Off the Piazzetta
Looking across the Piazza November 2016

4 comments on “Sue Boyle

  1. janetmcclean says:

    Great quote from Yeats, and really helpful advice from Morag Kiziewicz, thank you. Your books sounds facinating – shame about the Snake Dancer.


    • sueboylepoetry says:

      Thank you very much for being interested, Janet. The Snake Dancer became involved in a rather special garden and the Eden parallelism came to seem a bit too obvious. She might be allowed to resurface elsewhere in the plot. Dawn has offered the novel a very short reading opportunity at her wonderful Words & Ears event at the Swan in Bradford-on-Avon on 27th April . I am wondering who to bring!


  2. markhbooth says:

    Splendid ambition, striking photographs – may it all go well!


  3. veronabass says:

    How about a little progress report after your recent Venice sojourn?


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