Article on ‘Vertebrae’ launch in North Wales Pioneer by Duncan Rieder

28 06 2019

Screenshot 2019-06-28 at 20.24.36.pngYsgol John Bright teacher Glyn Edwards to launch Vertebrae at Providero in Llandudno

By Duncan Rieder

AN YSGOL John Bright English teacher will take his seat at the table of the literary world with the release of his first poetry collection.

Llandudno poet Glyn Edwards will launch Vertebrae at a Providero Coffee House in Llandudno on Thursday, July 4 at 6pm.

With a poem for each of the 33 vertebrae of the spine, the collection offers insight into the backbone of the poet’s past five year’s work, touching on universal themes such as fatherhood, falling in love, death and more.

The 33 poem collection will launch on Thursday, July 4.

Mr Edwards, originally of Wallasey on the Wirral said: “I used to fear that was a finite amount of seats at the table and a rush to fill them. I have taken my time to choose a chair that feels right.”

“For me, the collection is a balance of poems that genuinely break new ground, and those that simply seek to examine the ground broken by all of us.

“Every person who has read the collection has elected an entirely different poem as their favourite, usually because it has sharpened a memory of a toddler with a winter cold, or it makes reference to a poet they studied in school.

“The poem about a voicemail I found from my grandmother a few days after she’d died seems to be particularly evocative.

“I had felt it was too personally poignant to be of any appeal to others, yet because grief is a universal truth, it has found relevance with many.”

This latest release adds to a successful year for Mr Edwards, whose poem A Single Atom in an Ion Trap was featured in an anthology published by Verve Press, Eighty Four, as well as a stint editing poetry magazine The Lonely Crowd in February.

With his poetry frequently published in a variety of publications, his work has also been included in the inaugural Poetry Jukebox outside the EPIC Museum Dublin – one of only seven in the world. He was also invited to take up a week long residency at the Dylan Thomas boathouse in Laugharne in 2016, with the poem Birthday Walk from that period appearing in the collection.

Mr Edwards added: “For a writer, the need to share work is crucial to the sense of satisfaction – sharing a poem in a well-read magazine is exciting, but sharing years of content with an anonymous audience is both tantalising and terrorising.”

His success has also rubbed off on his pupils, with his Year 13 Laura Satterthwaite’s poem Ecstasy being included in Cheval, an anthology of Welsh Writing, and was the youngest entrant into the nationwide Terry Hetherington Prize.

Mr Edwards work has already earned high praise from Poetry Ireland editor Martina Evans and former Wales Book of the Year winner John Freeman, as well as a blurb from fellow Welsh poet Jonathan Edwards.

The launch is free to enter, with readings featuring some musical accompaniment, and copies of Vertebrae for sale.

 

 

 

Full article: North Wales Pioneer

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Call for entries: The Terry Hetherington Prize 2019 / Cheval 12

21 10 2018

 

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A writer charges to their teens with a pen in hand, trying to score something permanent about the implausible self on the impossible earth. In diaries, journals, blogs, sketchbooks, this writer excavates channels of self-discovery me my I me my I. Gradually, painfully, they become so fluent in digging that they seek instead to build. Though, there being so little time to build and so, so many structures to ape, that a writer briefly forgets they are a writer, and fills their hands with books and bricks and baby’s bottles. Soon, they forget why they wrote. Next, then they forget that they wrote. Then they forget.

The Terry Hetherington Prize was created to encourage writers to the realisation that, should they dig further and dig longer, should they take their time in prudent planning and blissful building, that there would be cityscape for such structures to survive in. Over a decade later, the trustees of the Prize under the careful dedication of Aida Birch have ensured that hundreds of writers, at an age when the noise of the world around could have muffled their prose or starched their verse can neither forget their craft, nor their potential for craft.

Cheval 11 is this year’s architecture – the statue in its town centre, standing taller than his legacy, pen in hand, is the poet Terry Hetherington.

This year’s judging panel would urge you to visit ‘The Silver Darlings’ by Katya Johnson and Thomas Tyrell’s ‘Sometimes in Summer’ and ‘Young Tommy’ by Michael Muia. In your second sitting, please enjoy the commended entries ‘The Barren Land’ by Thomas Baker and ‘Tylluan’ by Nathan Munday.

We hope you enjoy your stay and return often.

Glyn Edwards and Rose Widlake

Editors

 

Details of how you can apply for the 2019 Terry Hetherington Prize and submit your work for Cheval 12, can be found here.

Copies of Cheval 11 can be purchased at the following Parthian Books link:

 

 





The final days: residency at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse

25 10 2016

The Boathouse crowds eddied in the bright light all week.  As the weather calmed and the sun visited more generously, tourists to Laugharne sat by the wide bay for longer and longer.  On one welcoming day, a pair of dog-walkers and their muddy corgi,  arrived when the River Taf was heavy in the estuary and left when it was barely visible; we’d spent much of the afternoon in the Thomas’ yard together.

Commonly, visitors would arrive like the garden’s resident robin, flying down in fleeting sortees and disappearing just as anonymously.  Some came in passing flocks, such as the affable murmuration from University of Wales Trinity St Davids, staying to pick at Welsh teas, to share scones, to warm their wings.  They spoke in a vibrant rabble of Mandarin, French, Canadian and the yard seemed hushed and dusky when they’d flown away.  And others were regular migrants, visiting the Writing Shed and the Boathouse on an annual, or more frequent pilgrimage.  

The writer and poet John Bilsborough came to collect some books from his residency the week before.  He showed me the stunning collection of writers’ names and messages he’d gathered in his career journal: R.S. Thomas; Victoria Wood; John Betjemen.  Another artist to visit was the seascape painter Gareth Hugh Davies, who brought his family of illustrators for lunch.  All indulged the drawing challenge with their unique styles, Gareth’s daughter indulged me with her sketchbook which was flawlessly assembled and carefully beautiful.  

While other guests were noteworthy for their energy and vigour, such as a rare pair of articulate children from Penrith who produced the most-savage of sea imagery.

And memorable for their charisma, as a poetess and her husband who drew and drew and drew and shared their literature passions as though we were long friends. 

 

After work one day, I visited Newport and read at The Lonely Crowd launch evening.  Heavy roadworks choked the journey there, and the M4 on the drive home felt as long as a continent.  Though the few hours spent in the Murenger were more stimulating and satisfying that I could have gleefully anticipated.  Hosted by John Lavin, readings from Tony Curtis, Carla Manfredino, Alix Nathan, John Freeman, Craig Austin, Rebecca Lawn formed a collage illustrating just how intriguing the literature scene is in South Wales currently.  Chris Cornwell read his ‘Last Night Down Whetstone Road’ in a voice glossy with Dylan’s aesthetic verve for phonetics, Gary Raymond read a story about immigration and fear and stereotype, and veiled pertinent satire around wonderful, characters such as the tale’s ubiquitous Ellis.       

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Ordinarily, on a Friday afternoon, I’d be stood in Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn’s assembly hall, watching certificates be awarded to inspired learners.  On this occasion, they were watching the boathouse and writing shed through my eyes.  Or, more precisely, through a FaceTime connection.  The Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Raynor, was in attendance at the school, together with a local MP, and they observed the whole school attempt a modern twist on a Dylan Thomas poem:  ‘Have you Ever Seen Half Term

On the weekend, my wife arrived with my son and we took the work from the week along Dylan’s route about Sir John’s Hill.  While retreading ‘The Birthday Walk’, she helped me film a video compilation of illustrations, my son made atmospheric leaf rustling effects and lingered precariously on steep images.

On one afternoon, when Dylan’s door was leaned shut, two ladies from the boathouse improvised a reading from my poem ‘Caitlin’, in response to Dylan’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ and I filmed it to store for when my debut collection, ‘Conversations’, is published next year.  Or for when Judith or Elen achieve fame in their respective fields of ceramics and translation.  Back at ‘The Pelican’, housing and feeding me until I began to bloat and sprout tight curls of hair, I was given lessons on sculpture and whisky by the artist David Gunther.

And yesterday, I drove my family home.  Home.  Up the serpentine Aberystywth Road.  My son was poorly as we passed Dolgellau, poorly as we approached Machynlleth, as though he was already enduring withdrawal symptoms from his brief time in Laugharne.  Reflecting back today, I too feel a stab homesick for a place that had become so welcoming to me.  

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Shijiazhuang Education Seminar – 2015

15 10 2015

IMG_1575 Having taught English in China in 2004, when the opportunity to return to Shijiazhuang to deliver a speech at a seminar centred on reading and scientific literacy was presented to me, I was eager to accept.  Then, however, came the practicality of preparing for the speech, preparing for the convoluted route via Hing Kong and preparing to deliver to a room of five hundred teachers.  Shijiazhuang had me immediately nostalgic; the population had grown as much as the skyline but the streets were still quick to smile familiar structures at me and to wink temperate skies.

I stuck to the scriptnotes I had contrived for the translators to follow, referred to Keira Knightly more than anyone has done in literacy lecture and generally bluffed my way through thirty minutes of a twenty minute session by parrying applause-less moments with terrible Chinese.

A success, sort of.  I thought. A former pupil of mine at the school sat beside me, balancing on the arm rest of the chair.

‘It was hard to believe your Chinese could get any worse.  It was also very, very long; luckily, I think you were stood on the microphone wire for most of the second half.’

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