Audio-recordings of two new poems

9 10 2016

An introduction to two poems and recordings of both.  There is also some context to each poem and their origins.

These poems, together with one other, were published in the Lonely Crowd last week.





Poetry Cafe @ Chester Literature Festival

9 10 2016

In Ellesmere Port yesterday morning, a poetry cafe was run giving poems and cake to everyone who shared their stories. 

It was a generous and quiet morning so I was able to speak with people about home-schooling, animals, grief, cancer, sport, control.  I also had the pleasure of meeting a pair of modest poets and learn more about Chester’s effervescing literary scene. 





Residency @ Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse 

17 08 2016

 During the ‘Poem in October’ activities in Dylan Thomas house in Laugharne, I’ll be doing workshops on imagery and syntax, plus writing a themed poem for my collection: an imagined response from Vernon Watkins to Thomas’ seasonal verse. 





THE EMERGING VOICES OF WELSH POETRY

22 05 2016
Last week I was immensely proud to feature in this Wales Arts Review article about the rising voices of contemporary poetry in Wales.
The Emerging Voices of Welsh Poetry

WALES HAS ALWAYS BOASTED A WEALTH OF POETIC TALENT AND VISION. AND SO, TO MARK INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS DAY THIS YEAR, WALES ARTS REVIEW HAS DECIDED TO TAKE A LOOK, AND PERHAPS SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT, ON A FEW ENGLISH-LANGUAGE WELSH POETS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN DEAD FOR SIXTY YEARS. HERE IS (BY NO MEANS COMPREHENSIVE, AND IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) A LIST OF SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING YOUNG VOICES IN WELSH POETRY.

The Emerging Voices of Welsh Poetry





Moortown

22 05 2016





JackdawQuarterly writers’ group: Summer meeting

30 04 2016

IMG_2244

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

 





Memories of Shakespeare – an article for Wales Arts Review

23 04 2016

shakespeare-illustration-426x279

Crouched in the gloom at the side of the curtainless stage, the three bodies were silver-skinned and rag-wrapped; one woman was shaven-headed, one woman was, in fact, an elderly man, one woman was revealing more flesh than anyone in my pre-GCSE class (in their pre-internet schooling) had ever witnessed.  The three witches were immediately intimidating; to a group of boys who had never been to theatre before, they were formidable.

No pupil wanted to be shepherded by the stewards to the front of the theatre and none wanted to bookend the draughty first row. My first experience of Shakespeare was to sit directly under the glare of the three witches before Macbeth began at Mold’s Theatre Clwyd and, as the school bus had arrived thirty minutes early, my ordeal of eye-contact avoidance began early.

The witches lurked stage left throughout the play, haunting Macbeth from his periphery. They possessed during the interval and even remained to jinx the audience as we left; I am fairly sure that, while the rest of my class echoed bad Taggart impressions and sluggedNo-Frills Cola, one of the witches was stood in the aisle next to me on the coach, then followed me home in the rain.

My son repeats ‘shakes peer’ rhythmically in the café, like we have rehearsed it for the Americans who are noisily debating whether to stay and order. He colours the playwright’s face on a brochure, shading the pupils, rainbowing the lank hair. We tell him that Shakespeare spelled his name six different ways and try to show him, but he will not forsake the crayons and begins instead to write his own: the hooped ‘A’, a hangman’s ‘r’, a wide, flamboyant ‘t’, then, realising he is choked of space, doubles back, adds a ‘h’, ‘u’ turns and slots the ‘r’ between earlier letters.  ‘Shay kspere’, he says, ‘shhhhake speer’.

He sounds the name as we thread the narrow corridors of Shakespeare’s Birthplace.  The tiled floor of the living room is as cracked as the back of an old glove, the button-sized windows look out onto the courtyard where a seam of Chinese tourists are being led by an actor playing a lute. Over the empty beds, the empty fireplaces, the empty cribs, he says, ‘Shakesp ear’ and seems to inhabit the place.

In the garden, he is finally stilled. It is beginning to get cold and there is drizzle hiding in the late afternoon; the blossom cloaking the cherry trees is a reminder that it is still Easter. A lady in a cloaking, green dress covets his attention and earns it with her playful accents, ‘Double double, toil and trouble,’ she begins, casting her arms, stretching her fingers.

‘Double double,’ he mimics.

The actress plays all three parts and bewitches him. He is silent for so long on the winding walk back to the hotel that we know he is trying to make sense of it all, that he is trying to give voice to the changes happening to his thoughts, that he is rapt withal.

Memories of Shakespeare