Launch of 'Love's Cold Returning'

The Poetry Café, Covent Garden
November 15th, 2019






Over 40 people braved a damp and miserable Autumn evening to attend the launch of Love’s Cold Returning.






John Gallas, Master of Ceremonies for the evening, began by regaling the assembly with his experiences of following Clare’s Journey on today’s highways and byways.






Tony Lanfranchi read Bridget’s poem ‘Paradise Lost’, from the beginning of Love’s Cold Returning, which mythologises Clare’s birth and the origins of his poetic sensibility.






Bridget recited two of her poetic ‘Musings’ written on the first visit she and Ellis made to Epping Forest, where Clare was incarcerated between 1837 and 1841.






Ellis explained how a slim volume of verse and photographs became a 400-page book, and read from his prose sketch of Clare writing the first line of the Journey out of Essex.






Ellis and Tony narrated the tragic story of how Clare escaped from the asylum, and how he arrived home to find his imaginary wife Mary Joyce absent.






Ellis then went on to describe Clare’s state of mind leading up to his escape, with Tony reading extracts from the notebook Clare was using at the time.






There followed readings by Bridget from her poems and musings, and a talk from Ellis about Clare’s strategy for finding his way home and how it failed him on Gamlingay Heath. Tony rounded off the first half of the evening by reciting one of the songs Clare wrote on arriving home.







During the break the audience and speakers had a chance to mingle…







…and get copies of Love’s Cold Returning signed.






The second half was an open mic event, which Norman Goodman kicked off with a magnicificent reading from Clare.






Other audience members recited their own poems about Clare.






A common theme was Clare and the Enclosures.






This prompted a lively discussion that lasted the rest of the evening.

Photos by Laurence Bond