Sunday, 21 September 2014

The IsamBards: Poetry Walks on Clifton Suspension Bridge

It's 150 years since the Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened and to help mark the anniversary, the Isambards - Pameli Benham, Stewart Carswell, David Johnson and I - were approached to participate in some guided walks, thus turning them into poetry walks.  


Being Bristolian, I'd never seen the need to go on an official tour of the bridge, but our guide, Laura Hilton, was informative and interesting, I learnt stuff and it was good to give our bridge-related poems, some of which had been written especially for the occasion, an airing in the spot which inspired them.  

Here's a link to one I read, a poem about Sarah Ann Henley, who was jilted by her lover and who jumped from the Clifton Suspension Bridge on 8th May 1885, only for her dress and petticoats to fill with air, parachuting her onto the muddy river bank. She died 63 years later, a reluctant celebrity.
Another woman associated with the bridge is Ann Wood-Kelly, an American aviator who flew with the British Air Transport Auxiliary in the second world war.  There's some dispute as to whether - as her Guardian obituary has it -  she twice flew under the Suspension bridge, but let's pretend for the sake of this fabulous picture (and the poem that accompanies it) by IsamBard artist, Dru Marland, that she did.
An updated pamphlet of IsamBard poetry, including all the new poems, is available to buy for £5 in the Visitor Centre of the Suspension Bridge. 


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