Press release issued: 17 February 2004
An unusual collaboration between Gareth Calway, the 'poet laureate' of Bristol City F. C. and Dr Evan Jones, a Bristol University lecturer, has led to the writing of 'The merchant of Bristol'.
An unusual collaboration between Gareth Calway, the 'poet laureate' of Bristol City F. C. and Dr Evan Jones, a Bristol University lecturer, has led to the writing of The Merchant of Bristol. The story is a poetic recreation of the life of one of Tudor Bristol's most colourful characters - the merchant, mayor and major-league smuggler, John Smyth.
Under Dr Jones' guidance, Gareth Calway has produced a series of 24 sonnet form poems that explore the life of John Smyth as he rose from humble beginnings to become Bristol's richest and most powerful man.
This poetic history is to be performed, for the first time, at the Lord Mayor's Chapel, College Green this Friday, February 20. The performance, by the author, will be accompanied by an introductory historical talk by Dr Jones and music from the period.
Dr Jones, commenting about the collaboration, said: 'When Gareth first contacted me to say he wanted to write a series of poems about John Smyth, I must admit, I thought he was crazy. But as we talked about it, I saw the potential of the idea. Although John Smyth is a fascinating figure, he is not well known in Bristol. This is despite the fact that he was a great man of his day and the founder of one of Bristol's most powerful families: the Smyths of Ashton Court.
'What I liked about Gareth's approach is, though he wanted to bring Smyth to life as a dramatic character, he also wanted to make his account as true to the historical facts as possible. As an expert on Smyth and on Bristol of this period, I tried to help Gareth do this. It was fun to do.'
The performance will take place at the Lord Mayor's Chapel, College Green, Bristol on Friday 20 February at 7.30 pm. Admission is £5, payable at the door.