Absolutely delighted to have a new poem and an accompanying interview published by Poetry Wales today. 'Mother and Child' is inspired by two of Josef Herman's paintings at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea – a place my mother took me to regularly when I was growing up.
Earlier this week I visited the gallery and one of the paintings mentioned in the poem – 'Miners' (1951) – is actually on temporary display at the moment as part of Glynn Viv's 'Art and Industry: Stories from Wales' exhibition. As I say in the poem, it still steals a breath.
'Miners' (1951) by Josef Herman, on display at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
Diolch yn fawr to Zoë Brigley and Poetry Wales for publishing the poem and asking me a few questions about my writing process for their #HowIWriteAPoem series. You can read the poem and the interview on their website:
The A470 is a 186-mile road that stretches across Wales from shore to shore, and I’ve got a poem in this new bilingual anthology celebrating it from Arachne Press. Diolch to editors Ness Owen and Siân Northey for choosing it, and also to Siân for translating it into Welsh!
The poem, ‘A Mountain We Climb’, is inspired by the regular journeys my mother and I made to visit my auntie in Llandudno when I was very young, often accompanied by my grandparents. You can read a little more about the inspiration behind it here: www.arachnepress.com/books/poetry/a470/melin-y-coed
A470: Poems for the Road / Cerddi'r Ffordd is the Books Council of Wales ‘Book of the Month’ for February so look out for it on displays in bookshops across Wales, or alternatively order a copy directly from Arachne’s website: www.arachnepress.com/books/poetry/a470
Really pleased to have a haiku in the latest issue of Frogpond Journal, which has just arrived at my door all the way from Seattle, USA. A lovely surprise too, in a magazine of 158 pages, to find myself sharing one with Paul Chambers, the only other Welsh writer in the issue.
There's a free sampler of some of the poems, essays and reviews from the issue on the Haiku Society of America's website, where you can also order a copy of the full issue.
Free sampler: www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/2021-issue44-2/index.html
Order a copy of the latest issue: www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/previousissues.html
I absolutely loved my time studying at Swansea University, so I was chuffed to be asked to write the following poem—celebrating both the university and the city—for their upcoming clearing campaign.
What the team has done with a couple of pages of words is incredible, it's amazing to see it come to life.
Recently I finished reading Kaveh Akbar's Calling a Wolf a Wolf, a debut collection that follows a path through addiction to recovery. Akbar is one of the USA's most celebrated contemporary poets, writing not just about addiction but also race, religion, spirituality and the American dream.
Often while reading a poetry collection, I'll seek out recordings of the poet so I can listen to them while reading. Sometimes it's to help crack a particularly difficult poem's riddle (hello Frederick Seidel and most of Ooga-Booga), other times it's just to hear the poet's voice while I'm reading. For Kaveh Akbar it was a bit of both – at first I just wanted to locate the key to one of his punctuation-free poems, but then I found such a huge amount of recordings of him online that I ended up listening along to most of the collection. He's a great performer of his work, and his recordings are easy enough to find, but if you don't have time to listen to them all then I'd recommend 'Palmyra' and 'Unburnable the Cold is Flooding Our Lives'.
A poet's thoughts aren't too often far from their own poetry, and the sheer volume of Kaveh Akbar's recordings made me wonder how much of my own collection was available online in this way. I was surprised to learn quite a bit, and so I've compiled a list below – a cobbled-together audio book version of That Lone Ship, should you for some reason want to listen along while reading it.
The print version ofThat Lone Ship is available to buy from Parthian Books.
Note: Timestamps (e.g. 22:17) are included next to poems from longer recordings to indicate when that poem begins.
THat Lone Ship
En Dash [35:54]
A New Year [47:19]
The Pint that Follows [22:17]
Bonaparte Before the Sphinx [37:22]
The First Time
Victoria Park, 5 a.m.
The Man at the Bus Stop [3:05]
The Road Must Eventually Lead to the Whole World
We Weren’t Interested in Girls
Bookshop Evacuation at the Edinburgh Festival
The Walk to Work [10:32]
They Sang Gwahoddiad
A Minute’s Silence
New Shirt [59:19]
Vetch Field Elegy
The Search Party [2:14]
Third Boy (Dicky)
Marking Out the Ground with String