Poets unite in celebration of our precious planet

Nusrat Ghani
DOWN TO EARTH: Local poet Steve Walter

On Tuesday (August 24), the renowned Scottish poet Roger West and I will host an evening of poetry as part of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival.

Titled Remember the earth whose skin you are, it will celebrate our precious planet and consist of both spoken word and inspiring soundscapes. The title comes from Joy Harjo’s poem Remember.


INVENTIVE: Poet Roger West has created soundscapes for the stage


Roger and I will meet for the first time on the evening and we are both, like many of us, united by our concern for the wellbeing of the planet – and also our love of poetry and performance.

Tuesday’s event is being held at the King Charles the Martyr Church by The Pantiles, opposite The Forum (which is also the hub of other events during the Poetry Festival).

The audience can expect to be impressed by the magnificent soundscape composition created by talented poet Roger. It is called Consider the song of the cicada and is a suite of 15 poems and one song which traces the summer months in southern France week by week – from the first notes of the cicadas, which herald the summer, to their disappearance in autumn.

Each piece of the suite uses soundscapes, pre-recorded and generated on stage, and live music. On the night there will also be a musician playing the King Charles’ grand piano.

Roger’s poem draws on ancient Greek mythology in the bedrock of literature, through the Occitane troubadours to the jangling discord of the American Beats, to examine ‘lives lived deep’, the landscapes and histories in which our experiences are rooted. It also looks at horizontal links, exploring themes of power, patriarchy and impending ecological collapse.

Roger’s work is published worldwide and has been written and performed in both English and French.

He lives in the South of France and is a former director of the Austin International Poetry Festival in Texas. He is also a member of the Urgence Poésie Collective in South West France and a translator for the Festival of Mediterranean Literature in Malta. Roger performs regularly at festivals in the US, France, Belgium and the UK.

A poet of the stage as well as the page, he concentrates mainly these days on performance pieces in collaboration with musicians and on poetry films.

In addition to Roger’s performance I will be performing Gaia 2020: Earth, Moon, Sky. This piece challenges us all to rethink our relationship with Mother Earth. The poem ranges from the origins of life, the nature of rock, to the experience of our lives upon the planet.



Time: 8pm-10pm Tuesday August 24

Venue: King Charles the Martyr Church

Venue accessibility: Wheelchair access is available

Entrance fee: £10 per person


To find out more about Steve Walter’s work, visit: makingconnectionsmatter.org

To discover more about Roger West, visit: rogerwestmusic.com

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