The Green Fuse

Garden of Awen: The Green Fuse

7th March

Lighting the Green Fuse at Garden of Awen

Last Sunday I hosted the Garden of Awen at Chapel Arts Centre – now in the newly opened Live Arts Cafe: the place to be for bohos in Bath.

We kicked off with Chloe from the Midnight Storytellers raising some energy with an African chant we all joined in with. Then Ursula Toher created a lovely atmosphere with some fine fiddle playing.

I started the ‘open mic’ part of the evening with my favourite Yeats poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, then we had folk come up from the audience to offer a poem, song or story on the theme of the Green Fuse.

After the break we had an excellent set of poetry from Dawn Gorman, who runs Words and Ears – a poetry night in Bradford-on-Avon – it’s had a break for a couple of years, but is being relaunched next month (April 27th, Georgian Lodge, 7.30pm) with yours truly as the first guest poet, reading from my new collection, The Immanent Moment.

We had some more ‘green shoots’ from the floor, then we finished off with a set of sublime melodies from The Children, over from London.

They were my guests for the night and we wound down with some wine back at mine – the next morning I sent them off with a hearty breakfast  (could start my own business: Bard and Breakfast).

Crysse wrote a lovely review of the event on her blog:

Garden of Awen has cornered the Poetry Cafe market for laid-back bohemian eclecticism, it seems.  Sunday’s event, affably hosted by Kevan Manwaring, was the usual unusual pot-pourri of words and music, mingling poetry with story-telling and song, with bread & cheese free at the end of the night. In the relaxed setting of the Chapel Arts Centre we heard Irish reels on the fiddle, children’s poetry from Iceland, a fable from Japan, WB Yeats recited and William Blake strummed, as well as poetic ‘green shoots’ from the audience. Very pleasant.

The next Garden is on Easter Sunday, 4th April – the theme is Tricks and Fools – and we’re launching a new book (The Art of Self-Publicity from David Lassman), via Awen Publications imprint, Writers’ Workshop – the first in a series of practical guides for writers and artists. Also performing will be fabulous poet, author, and fellow Skyros teacher, Crysse Morrison from Frome (where she runs the popular poetry nights at the Garden Cafe); and Ali George – singer/songwriter (who I came across, jamming in the Star one night – his version of a Van Morrison classic blew me away and I had to book him). Once again, there’ll be floor spots – arrive early to register.

I’ll certainly be hanging out in the Live Arts Cafe as much as possible. Awen Publications have a dedicated bookshelf there – where you can browse and buy our titles.

This week I’ve been proofing my new non-fiction book, The Way of Awen (published by O Books, June 25th). In between that and teaching I’ve somehow managed to send off a proposal for a TV series and write a film script – a Victorian horror for Realm Pictures. I seem to be courting both sides of the cameras these days – tomorrow night I’ll be hosting the Bath Storytelling Circle, at the Raven – and the BBC will be there filming … (they had rang me up when planning to do a feature on Bath’s literary heritage, past and present). If you want your 3 seconds of fame – practise your party piece and come on down!


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