The Road from Herat: a life of continuing education
This week saw the launch of The Road from Herat, a book of poems and photographs by former ICE student Clare Holtham (1948-2010). Clare was a remarkable woman who made a lasting contribution to the cultural life of Cambridge, and that of Madingley Hall.
Homeless on the streets of London at the age of 14, she developed a fierce independence and travelled extensively through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan as a young woman, even entering into a temporary marriage with an Uzbek chieftain. She pursued an equally independent path as a student at Newnham College, Cambridge, working part-time at the Arts Cinema, despite University regulations, and finding a life partner in Eddie Block, the cinema manager. Together they founded the Cambridge Film and Animation Festivals before moving to Brighton to turn the Duke of York Cinema from fleapit to ‘art house’ cinema.
When Eddie retired, Clare retrained as a computer systems analyst and travelled the world again as an IT trouble-shooter, working in the Far East and in Eastern Europe as it began to re-open to the West.
She came back to Cambridge after Eddie’s death, training as a Blue Badge City Guide and becoming a valued member of the Poetry Masterclass here at ICE, under the tutelage of lyric poet Roger Garfitt. She developed rapidly as a poet, winning second prize in Scintilla’s Long Poem Competition in 2009; we lost a real talent when Clare died of cancer in February 2010.
The Road from Herat was launched on Saturday 12 November at Newnham College, where Clare’s poems were introduced by Roger Garfitt and the poet, Clare Crossman.
Read more about Clare and her extraordinary life, and hear her poetry – on the main University of Cambridge website
Order your copy of The Road from Herat and read Roger Garfitt’s introduction – on the Five Seasons Press website