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





A Feast of Words: Gwledd Conwy

29 10 2017

Just as the final workshop of the weekend grew the longest of shadows, a family crept inside the Conwy Youth Centre, at the corner of Bodlondeb Park and the Agriculture Site of this year’s Feast territory, and asked whether it was too late to write a poem.

While their parents wrapped themselves in the steam of their tall coffees, a brother and sister from Chester began searching the event programme for lines of text that could reside in a sensory poem, and rephrasing them so they were ten syllables each.

We discussed rhyme schemes and rearranged an order, argued over a title and an ending and settled on a completed poem.  The process of finding and writing and discussing and publishing took fifteen minutes.   The family helped me wash the cups I’d used over the previous days, to take down the washing line of free verse poems about pumpkins, crab fishing, small houses and sprawling castles, to return the furniture to its familiar grooves in the carpet and to switch of the lights.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Feast of Words site was hosted by the storyteller and host of Venue Cymru’s Young Storyteller of Wales 2017, Bethan Mascheranas, and by Bangor University, whose affable, academic lecturers spoke on themes of ‘identity’ and the ‘home’, and of the unique teacher, Mr Kite, who inspired a set of ubiquitous lyrics from The Beatles.

I found a window for a break and walked amongst wide crowds down the Main Street, a tide of visitors at the harbour and back through the stalls and stands in the park.

Unlike Saturday, when I kneeled on the floor like an anchorite assembling webs of poems all afternoon and stood only to swoon and clamour about the visits of the linguist David Crystal and poet Patience Agbabi.  A fine day.

Tomorrow, while all the detritus is being cleared from the quay, the marquees are being eased into hibernation and the offices of the Feast begin planning the 2018 event on a page of exciting, nervous blank paper, I may cross the bridge to Conwy and write up a poem I began while sitting at the dock with my wife on Saturday evening.  I hope very much to, it was a kind moment in a charmed weekend.





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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JackdawQuarterly writers’ group: Summer meeting

30 04 2016

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Feel welcome to read a poem or an extract of prose, or to simply listen along to others on the theme ‘panic’.