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Reading in Bath and in London

November 30, 2018

Last Saturday I took part in an unrehearsed reading by ten readers (one of them also a singer) of Sue Boyle’s sonnet sequence, The Letters from Mexico, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. Everyone took their role seriously and read clearly and with feeling. The sonnets are densely-written and full of poignancy. Not a word is wasted.

The audience was wildly appreciative. It was a real privilege to be part of the performance. For details, see

Mexico Letters

It was lovely too to meet the illustrator/artist Jude Wisdom, whose drawings add so much to the published version of the sonnets, and to hear something of the way she works. Jude is a talented, original and refreshingly unpretentious artist.

And yesterday I read at the London launch of Magma #72, the Climate Change issue. It was a great (and not too grand!) event with a full audience and a programme of readings from, among others, Jemma Borg, Leo Boix, Mario Petrucci, Maya Choudhry and the brilliant Shetland poet Jen Hadfield.

I felt old and provincial and insignificant in such company, but everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. Thanks to Peter, my minder and navigator, we found our way safely there and back. One of my many shortcomings is that I have very little sense of direction and shockingly poor map-reading skills. A bad combination!

My poem is below. The layout was not an easy task for the magazine’s design team, but they did a great job. Note: an extremophile is a micro-organism that thrives in what we humans consider to be extreme conditions. Our earliest ancestor was one such, and doubtless the last surviving life-form on earth will be another.

I was human once
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    November 30, 2018 4:12 pm

    Dear Ama,

    Congratulations on these readings! Your poem is lovely and my first thought was that it would have been great to stow a digital version of it in the last exploring vehicle that just landed on Mars!

    I love too the way you have set it on the page in really clears a kind of creative reading space within the poem, and makes one think about the words and their interior song in a beautiful way.

    P.S. I am the same way with directions and maps! I think this has to do with being an artist or a poet and how we often start our work off in one direction only to find ourselves in a completely different landscape. And its there that we often find something astonishing.


  1. Girl Golem | ways with words in the city of Wells

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