Best of British launches at The George, Tunbridge Wells

Best of British launch at The George, Tunbridge WellsOur new anthology, Best of British, launched last night at The George, Tunbridge Wells. We were thrilled to have nine poets, from all over the country, come to read their poems and thereby followed a brilliant evening of chat and new friendships.

Claire Collison gave an emotional start to the evening with her poem The Gentrification of Ruskin Park (Summer of Chemo) about her journeys to and from hospital and followed up with her poem The Woman in Arments, about a local pie and mash shop.

Next was Karen Izod with her poems about the abandonment and development of countryside, Local Plan and Gollan Head, Former home to RAF radar station, Outer Hebrides. Sue Spiers delighted us with her reminiscence of Tar Balls and Susan Evans made us laugh out loud with her vivacious performance of Brighton.

Lawrence Wilson’s tongue-in-cheek rendition of his poem about Becoming British was all too relevant and Claire Booker had us smiling with her animated reading of her poem, Stone-Whisperers.

Ed Broom kept us laughing with his witty observation of Brits abroad with Expat Sunpat and Carole Bromley followed with her poems Jorvik and Songs of Praise which made us think about keeping our roots and welcoming those who are trying to plant new ones. Maggie Sawkins finished the evening with Paperback about the Penguin paperback that inspired her to write and Things to do around Southsea, which made me want to ‘go for a curry’.

The anthology cover depicts a faded Union Jack flag, layered on scenes of the Lake District, a Lincolnshire road and some Sussex flora. Given the current political atmosphere, we were reticent to use the flag on the cover. However, we, at Paper Swans, wanted to reclaim it as a symbol of true love of a country and all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. What Britain is really about and not what the flag has (recently) become a symbol of. So, use it we did, but it is faded; a shadow of its real self.

Our thanks to The George, who didn’t charge us and are great supporters of the Arts in Tunbridge Wells.

Of course, we really hope you’d like your own copy of Best of British, either for yourself, as a present or both! Click HERE to view it in our shop and its great review from Jonathan Edwards, winner of the Costa poetry prize, 2014.

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