‘ Swifts and Swallows’ The Elegancies of Mr Thomas Anson

Specifically commissioned by the composer Andrew Baker, I will reading extracts from Swifts and Swallows, my poem sequence  based on the life and work of Thomas Anson, (1695-1773).

Thomas Anson’s life was a shadowy one. A man who, despite leaving a remarkable architectural and botanical legacy, has managed to remain hidden.

Swifts and Swallows is a hybrid poem: that is to say it is part realistic, part allegorical and part historical. Set in Thomas’ own life time, the writing takes us away from the shifting crowds of 18th century city life to the rural landscapes of Shugborough, Staffordshire.

My poem suggests the possibility that Anson’s secretiveness was the result of a man caught up in a constant struggle with his own inventiveness: artistically restless, he may have an 18th century ‘inbetweener’.

The ‘strange medley ‘ of voices that inhabit Swifts and Swallows are friendly ones who acknowledge the wit, inventiveness and generosity of Thomas Anson and, by exploring the mutability and disorder of the human condition show him as constantly drawn into  the cultural and artistic cross – currents of his time.

Extracts from Swifts and Swallows will be read to accompany the premier of Andrew Baker’s  The Garden of Persephone . 

The Garden of Persephone, inaugural performance, Sunday, September 4th Shugborough Hall, at 2 pm.

The performance is free.


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