Books of the Year Recommendations

15 12 2018

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From The Lonely Crowd’s trio of articles on their contributor’s books of the year, here’s my recommended reading material from 2018:

The full article can be read at:

The Lonely Crowd: Books of the Year (part 2)

Unless it really can’t be helped, I prefer to concentrate on one book at a time.  Yet, at one point this summer, I had five books open simultaneously on my bedside table.  I was fortunate to be able to interview Jonathan Edwards, Andrew McMIllan and Christopher Meredith for Lonely Crowd projects and their writing, together with poetry collections by Ocean Vuong and Bernard O’Donoghue, formed my first non-linear reading experiment. In one burst, I’d read compelling story from Meredith’s Seren collection Brief Lives and the dense, lyrical prose would make me question the seeds of bravery in an acts of cowardice; then, I’d gather up Jonathan Edwards’ second collection, Gen, and absorb myself utterly in the sustained warmth of his portraiture: Harry Houdini and Edwards’ granddad in the same scene on Newport Bridge performing different magic tricks.  There was a poem in Bernard O’Donoghue’s The Seasons of Cullen Church‘You Know the Way’ that I read habitually for a fortnight.  The narrative sprang from title into a set of directions centred on familiar global places – New York, London, Dublin – but it was the clever demotic tone – imperative, declarative and interrogative all at once – at that reassured me I could re-visit it and walk those routes ceaselessly.
Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds is the singular, most-impressive collection of verse I have read.  I could eulogise it and investigate it endlessly and would urge all poetry readers to do likewise; however, as it was published in 2016 and the internet is already rich with reviews of Vuong, I’ll state that McMillan’s Playtime is my selection as Book of 2018. Because McMillan’s verse appears so differently on the page – at times it appeared a vacuum of punctuation – the collection demanded to be approached differently from other poetry; I began to read poems aloud rather than whisper them, or internalise their sounds. Because the topics were so intimate, the themes so urgent, poems exploring homosexuality transformed in poems simply exploring sexuality; then they became like the very best poems, exploring something new. Because McMillan’s ‘I’ was vulnerable, aggressive, elusive, flawed and heroic, his first-person narrative voice could transposed into the multifarious mouths of many speakers.  And, because of all this, Playtime became not just the ideal parallel to be read alongside other books, but a method of seeing each of them anew. I think Night Sky with Exit Wounds will the book that resides on my bedside table through 2019 also, yet without Playtime, I may never have shaped the precise need for it.
Glyn Edward’s debut poetry collection will be published by The Lonely Press in early 2019.
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A poem included in ‘Eighty Four: poems on male suicide’ by Verve Press

14 12 2018

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The chance to write a poem on the barely speakable was powerful; the opportunity to be included Helen Calcutt’s Verve Press anthology is humbling.

Eighty Four is a new anthology of poetry on the subject of male suicide in aid of CALM. Poems have been donated to the collection by Andrew McMillan, Salena Godden, Anthony Anaxogorou, Katrina Naomi, Ian Patterson, Caroline Smith, Carrie Etter, Peter Raynard, Joelle Taylor, while a submissions window yielded many excellent poems on the subject from hitherto unknown poets we are thrilled to have been made aware of.

Curated by poet Helen Calcutt, the anthology features a host of male and female voices sharing their experiences of suicide, mental health, or grief – from those who have been on the brink of suicide, to those who have lost a loved one, or been moved more generally by the campaign. It is both an uncensored exposure of truths, as well as a celebration of the strength and courage of those willing to write and talk about their experiences, using the power of language to openly address and tackle an issue that directly affects a million people every year.

We hope this book will shed light on an issue that is cast in shadow, and which is often shrouded in secrecy and denial. If we don’t talk, we don’t heal and we don’t change. In Eighty Four we are all talking. Are you listening?

Full list of poets included (A-Z):

Full list of poets included (A-Z): Anthony Anaxagorou, Romalyn Ante, Casey Bailey, Abie Budgen, Lewis Buxton, David Calcutt, Helen Calcutt, Louisa Campbell, Diana Cant, Garry Carr, Stewart Carswell, Gram Joel Davies, Michelle Diaz, Glyn Edwards, Carrie Etter, RM Francis, Alan Girling, Salena Godden, Emily Harrison, John Hawkhead, Martin Hayes, Alastair Hesp, Shaun Hill, Paul Howarth, Rosie Jackson, Janet Jenkins, Helen Kay, Asim Khan, Charles Lauder Jr, Hannah Linden, Jane Lovell, Nick Makoha, Liam McCormick, Andrew McMillan, Abegail Morley, Katrina Naomi, Antony Owen, Isabel Palmer, Ian Patterson, Mario Petrucci, Zoe Piponedes, clare e.potter, Peter Raynard, Brenda Read-Brown, Victoria Richards, Belinda Rimmer, Bethany Rivers, Stephen Seabridge, Richard Skinner, Caroline Smith, Janet Smith, Joelle Taylor, MT Taylor, Christina Thatcher.

          Eighty Four: Poems on male suicide,vulnerability, grief and hope

  • Helen Calcutt Ed.




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 Lonely Crowd: Guest Ed – call for subs

30 07 2018

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Not conscious

that you have been seeking

suddenly

you come upon it

RS Thomas’ ultimate place poem, Arrival, could be equally describing the discovery of any ideal: a lover, a view, a gift. It is also a fine analogy for the seeking and finding of a poem.

As Guest-Poetry Editor of Issue 11, I am eager to receive poems that seize something ordinary and make it transcend for a unique moment, or explore the habitual so it is changed forevermore. Having no preference of theme, register or content, my sole agenda is to appreciate with fresh eyes and to respond. I greatly look forward to reading up to three of four poems, or one longer poem, in each entry, and to giving your poems the opportunity of wide and engaged readership.

The Lonely Crowd is a literature magazine where academic essay and photographic narrative are on consecutive pages, and where one story may have been written by one of Wales’ foremost authors, while another could have been penned by someone utterly uncertain of their pedigree. Having had my poetry published in the magazine in the past, I can assure all contributors that the prize for being printed in such a collection is affirmation. And, for writers, as for everyone, affirmation is transformative.

Glyn Edwards

There is everything to look forward to.

The same submission rules for poetry in regular editions of The Lonely Crowd apply: work must be previously unpublished; simultaneous submissions will be considered; contributors to the issue will receive a complimentary copy of the final issue.

Please attach your poems in a Word document, include a short biography, and send your email to glynfedwards@hotmail.com; I hope to respond to all submissions within six weeks.





Festival Readings: Summer 2018

24 07 2018

Remember the snows before Easter? The storms personified with cousins’ names? In a spring that seems an age ago now, I accepted a series of invitations to read at literary festivals.  They seemed so far into the future, that despite advising everyone on Twitter and Facebook to ‘tattoo the dates’ on their forearms, I didn’t plot the events on the kitchen calendar myself.  So it was that July became the month my wife now refers to as ‘three readings and a house move’ and that kitchen calendar is somewhere in a box-fort in the shed.

The RS Thomas festival in Aberdaron, I discovered too late, had clashed with the Terry Hetherington Awards Prize at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea and the launch of Cheval 11, which I had co-edited with Rose Widlake.  Fortunately, getting to Swansea on a Friday night from North Wales, is as notoriously difficult as getting a fixed moving-in date from a buyer’s solicitors, so I was excused the odyssey to South Wales by the founder Aida Birch, and encouraged to drive West Walesward to deliver a talk on the many guises of ‘Iago Prytherch’.  Or, more to the point, the many interpretations of Iago Prytherch according to the many guises of RS Thomas.

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Susan Forgerty had organised a weekend of activities celebrating the life and work of Thomas and his wife, the artist, Mildred Eldridge.  My own reading, for which the gallery space in the National Trust Centre at Porth-y-Swnt was uncomfortably warm and uncomfortably full, was a rewarding and fulfilling hour.  As well as sharing my own poems and revealing how they were inspired by the RS Thomas I’d been force-fed at school, spoon-fed at university and has been cluster-feeding on thereafter.  I was fortunate to hear work read by poets in the audience and, most special of all, had the opportunity to listen to Jack Rendell read his poems from Cheval 11.  Having had anecdotes about hedgehogs and moles exchanged on the night, it was a perplexing Saturday morning to encounter both animals on our journey home.  The hedgehog, curled in my son’s unbelieving hands like a dragon’s egg; the mole with his paddling paws and sleepshut eyes.

At Lit Caerleon, seven days later, our solicitor was on holiday and the house move was still to be finalised.  So, my wife and I travelled to Newport, abandoning the empty boxes in the hallway, where we were greeted into the event marquee by the most welcoming of hugs from Rajvi Glasbrook, who, along with her husband Jon and a committee of benevolent literature-aholics organise Wales’ most intimate of festivals.  After my own reading, I spent a few wonderful hours in the company of writers and poets and readers and met a cast of names that Twitter had made me feel were as friends: Tony Curtis, Mab Jones, Murray Lachlan Young, Natalie Holborrow, Joao Morais, Dan Tyte.  I met another talented poet from the Terry Hetherington Award, Niall Ivin, and revelled in the conversation between Gary Raymond, Craig Austin and Patrick Mcguinness.  Their pertinent debate about being unable to witness history as it happens about you, yet being compelled to reflect on in art reminded me of two A-Level years of dismayed notetaking about the Corn Laws, and to question whether Brexit will be more astonishing for students in two hundred years than it is presently.  Everybody was having too much fun to tell me that the roads would be closed until midday the next day for a cycle race I’d never heard of.

And then we moved house.

Subsequently, I travelled alone last weekend to Holyhead to read at the Gwyl Cybi Festival in the Ucheldre Centre while my wife waved a wallpaper steamer in goodbye at me as I challenged the summerholidaycaravantailbacks of the A55.  Having judged the poetry competition for the events, together with Manon Ros, I was eager to translate the anonymous entries into real faces and accents.  Vanessa Owen and Karen Ankers had assembled a line-up of local singers and poets and had encouraged applicants from across Wales and Northern England to attend to read their verse.   Martin Daws read an memorable, impassioned ode to Bethesda, James Lloyd read two poems from Cheval 11, and a breathless Matthew Smith arrived from his Swansea-origin in time to announce: his first time in North Wales; first time camping; first time entering a poetry a poetry competition, and, as I was about to discover, hearing the poem I’d selected as the winner being read aloud in a hopeful but unknowing voice; first time winning a competition.

When I got home, my wife had pulled the wallpaper from the living room and exposed the names of the former incumbents on the walls.  The following day, a tourist stopped outside and, brittle as old paper, wound his way up the short, steep drive.  He revealed how he’d lived here when the house was first built and how the signature on one of the walls was his.

Having enjoyed a month of hearing others’ poetry, I felt a new poem had just announced itself at my new front door.

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Poems Spring 2018

23 04 2018

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Four outstanding magazines, six poems.

‘Three Poems’ The Lonely Crowd

‘Tombolo’ Strix

‘Little Gods’ The Cardiff Review

‘Antipodes’ EyeFlash





Poems: Wales Arts Review and DNA

4 03 2018

Two Valentine’s Day poems of mine were hosted by the Wales Arts Review in February, together with a wonderfully framed poem in the DNA magazine. Please follow the links to read all three poems, and find a wealth of other wonderful literature on the websites.

http://www.walesartsreview.org/a-frontal-lobe-love-poem-by-glyn-edwards/

http://www.dnamag.co.uk/issues/locations/