Mandy Pannett is the first guest poet in 2022 Chichester series

Mandy Pannett is the first guest poet in the 2022 series of Open Mic Poetry at the New Park Centre, Chichester, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, January 26.

Mandy Pannett
Mandy Pannett

Mandy has released six collections. Her latest book is titled The Daedalus Files (Sentinel Press). She’ll also be reading new poems and drawing from her extensive back catalogue.

Spokesman Barry Smith said: “Mandy is always a popular guest at our sessions and audiences can be guaranteed to have an enjoyable evening. She has been teaching children with special needs for many years but now works freelance as a creative writing tutor for adults.”

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Mandy explained: “I’m very lucky, for a number of reasons, to live in Sussex, by the South Downs and near the sea as well.

“Either as a cause or a consequence I find the setting of a poem or a story is important to me. I have a strong sense of place and enjoy trying to create that in my writing. It’s good to have the opportunity to read some of the Daedalus poems.

“I didn’t know I could write 22 poems around one theme until I tried. Neither did I realise how deeper meanings and contemporary relevancies in a myth would reveal themselves as I gradually explored the ideas through many drafts and edits.

“This is a sequence I’ve been writing on and off for a few years with growing fascination.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Daedalus, inventor, craftsman and designer of the labyrinth which held the minotaur and where teenagers from Athens were brought as sacrifices until the monster was slain by Theseus with the guidance of the king’s daughter, Ariadne.

“After this, Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned in a tower by the king but Daedalus designed wings made from feathers so they could escape. Both managed to fly for a considerable distance but Icarus went too close to the sun, his wings melted and he fell, drowning in the sea.

“I first became interested – later obsessed – by Daedalus a few years ago when we were staying with friends on the beautiful Greek island of Tilos.

“Somehow we started talking about Icarus and the Icarian Sea named after him and maybe it was because we were so close to the blue, shimmering water that the sad tale began to feel real.

“While we were there a boatload of refugees from Syria tried to land on the rocks but was intercepted and scores of men, women and children were later brought down to the harbour to wait for a ship that would take them to a holding centre in Athens.

“It was tragic to see and to think about. Daedalus and Icarus were trying to escape, these refugees had wanted to escape. The two things connected in my imagination and that same day I began the sequence.”

Barry added: “We’ve a great line-up of visiting poets for the New Year. Chichester has become an attractive gig for poets who enjoy performing to our welcoming and supportive audiences.”