In September Peter Sutton asked me to be a poet at his Elgar Poetry Event and I jumped at the chance. He then invited Lesley Ingram and Michael W. Thomas to complete the line up for the evening.
© Cinnamon Press
Lesley Ingram’s first poetry collection Scumbled was printed in 2015 and was highly commended in the Fledgling prize for first collections for poets over 40. She won first prize in the Ludlow Poetry Competition 2013 and has been published in print and on line for the last seven years. She has a Masters in Poetry and Poetics from Gloucestershire University, with a particular interest in ‘Ekphrasis as Translation’. She has been involved in the Ludlow Arts trail through an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Suzanne Boak. Her background is in IT Business Systems Analysis, and she has lived and worked as an Analyst and Consultant in many places from Doncaster to York via Bristol, Bracknell, Long Island, London, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Scunthorpe – before moving to the Charente-Maritime in France to teach English and run a gite for 12 years. She is now settled in Ledbury and working on her second collection. She runs the Herefordshire Poetry Society Stanza and has initiated poetry projects on the Alleys and Yards of Ledbury, and on John Masefield. She is involved with the Ledbury Poetry Festival as a volunteer manager and steward. Her interests are poetry, archaeology, ‘whodunnits’ and language, and she loves flat lands and proper Pontefract liquorice.
© Oversteps Books
Michael W. Thomas’s novels include The Mercury Annual and Pilgrims at the White Horizon. His poetry collections include Port Winston Mulberry (Littlejohn and Bray, 2009), Batman’s Hill, South Staffs (Flipped Eye, 2013), The Girl From Midfoxfields (Black Pear, 2014) and Come to Pass (Oversteps, 2015). He has recorded two CDs of poetry and music, Seventeen Poems and a Bit of A Song and Angels in the Telegraph Room. His work has appeared in such magazines as The Antioch Review, Critical Survey, The Explicator, Irish Studies Review, The London Magazine, Magazine Six (US), Pennine Platform and Stand Magazine; and he reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement. In 2015, his novella, ‘Esp’, was shortlisted for the UK Novella Award. He is currently working on Nowherian, the memoir of a Grenadian traveller. His latest poetry collection, Early and Late, is appearing in 2018, along with a collection of short stories.
Blog: ‘The Swan Village Reporter’, swansreport.blogspot.co.uk/
© Peter Sutton
Peter Sutton spent fifteen years working in adult education before becoming Head of Publications at the Unesco Institute for Education in Hamburg for seven years, In 1994 he returned to the UK and became a freelance translator and editor for cultural institutions, lawyers and international organisations. He also trained as a professional actor and started writing plays. Elgar and Alice was first produced in 2007 and has been revived twice since, and The Prebumptious Mr Punch was premiered in 2013. His modern verse translation of William Langland’s great medieval poem Piers Plowman was published by McFarland of North Carolina in 2014, and he has given readings from the work at conferences and festivals including Ilkley, Ledbury, South Downs, Stamford and Worcester. His own poetry has begun to appear in journals, and he is a regular reader at local poetry events. He has written textbooks and articles on languages and education, Elgar and Langland, and he has been a visiting lecturer on translation, English language and education at universities in Armenia, Germany, Russia and the UK.
© Paul Stringer
Nina Lewis is a poet from Worcestershire. She returned to the world of poetry in 2013 after a 15 year break. She founded INKSPILL an annual online writing retreat with national and international guests. Her poetry is published in a range of anthologies including Paper Swans Press, Fair Acre Press, Three Drops From a Cauldron, Paragram and Shabda Press, in magazines including Abridged, Under the Radar and Here Comes Everyone and online. Nina’s poems appeared on the Poetry Trail at Wenlock Poetry Festival and BIG Lit Festival, and 21 Haiku were used in an Art Installation at the MAC. She is a headline poet and in 2014 was commissioned to perform at Birmingham Literature Festival. Since 2015, Nina has worked as a Lead Writer for Sparks Young Writers Group, Worcester for WWM. Her début pamphlet Fragile Houses was published by V. Press in 2016. This year Nina was accepted onto the Room 204 Writer Development programme run by Writing West Midlands and was appointed Worcestershire Poet Laureate. Nina is also a Reader in Residence at Rugby Library for West Midlands Readers’ Network.
In October we all worked on our sets and Peter masterfully pulled the entire script together. I thoroughly enjoyed researching Elgar and relating my memories of him in poetry. I wrote 14 new poems for this commission and the remaining poems were recently written for the Unremembered Collection published by Black Pear Press and produced by Polly Stretton for The Living Memory Project.
Peter added poems from Elgar’s contemporaries and tied the performance together with facts and insights.
The event was held to raise funds for the Elgar Festival 2018 and took place at The Elgar School of Music in Worcester.
It was an evening of incredibly powerful poetry. A delight to hear the work of others and to see a good turn out for the well organised event. It was a privilege to be part of such a project and great to work with Peter.