Friday Poem – ‘Kinetic Melodies’, Nerys Williams

Kinetic Melodies Nerys Williams Friday Poem

This week our Friday Poem is Nerys Williams’ ‘Kinetic Melodies’, from her award-winning debut collection, Sound Archive.

Nerys Williams Sound ArchiveWinner of the DLR Strong Award and shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Michael Murphey Prize, Nerys Williams’ Sound Archive is a strikingly original and critically acclaimed first collection of poems. Using formal strategies similar to modernist painting: abstraction, dislocation, surrealist juxtaposition, Williams conjures a complex music, intriguing narratives, and poems full of atmosphere that query identity, gender, and the dream of art as a vehicle for emotion and meaning.
Look out for Nerys Williams’ new collection, Cabaret, out soon from New Dublin Press.

 

 

Kinetic Melodies

It is easy to speak of language as ownership,
your purring phonemes are not my right
nor any dialogic imagination.

It is like the time I mixed metaphors
and found myself nude, addressing a crowd
with no immediate

parallel or paradox to flail at.
An empty lectern, a thousand eyes.

Small inconsistencies alert us:
a time to find a colour of saying,
how dialect forms the melody of tall tales.

After storm fields have disappeared
sulphur fills the air where the tree stands.

Here it says I am branch
root and hollow, rub my charcal into clean hands,
serenade me with your speech,
curse the carrion crow below.

 

Sound Archive is available from the Seren website: £8.99

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Happy Father’s Day

To all Dads, Grandads and those soon-to-be: we wish you a very happy Father’s Day. In celebration, we are happy to announce that all orders placed on our website in the next week will come with a complimentary ‘Dad joke’ to add to your collection.

Happy Father's Day
Mums, children, friends – we are so sorry. Because surely Dad won’t be able to resist treating himself to Mike Rees’ fascinating Men Who Played the Game, which pays tribute to sportsmen who fought in the Great War. He certainly won’t be able to stop himself from getting a copy of Lloyd Jones’ magnificent, newly back-in-print novel, Mr Vogel. And you can try, but we highly doubt you’ll be able to stop Dad from indulging in a little musical nostalgia with Peter Finch’s personal history of rock and pop: The Roots of Rock, from Cardiff to Mississippi and Back.

 

 

So go on Dads, treat yourself.

 

Friday Poem – ‘Blackbird’, Pascale Petit

Friday Poem Pascale Petit Blackbird

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Blackbird’ by Pascale Petit, from her collection Fauverie.

Pascale Petit, FauverieWeaving together hardship and beauty, ‘Blackbird’ invokes the image of a bird’s feathers as an abstract comfort in the face of confinement: ‘each number / became a blackbird’s feather.’
This volume has childhood trauma and a dying father at its heart, and the poems skillfully transform painful experiences into expressions of grief. Fauverie redeems the darker forces of human nature while celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species: at its heart is the title’s name-sake: the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo. Paris, too, takes centre stage – a city savage as the Amazon, haunted by Aramis the black jaguar and a menagerie of wild animals.

 

 

Blackbird

When they locked me
in the cellar

and told me to count
slowly to a hundred,

each number
became a blackbird’s feather

and all the darkness
sang

through the keyhole
of my yellow beak.

 

 

Fauverie is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Legend of the Month: Iolo Williams

Legend of the Month Iolo Williams

Each month we are celebrating one fantastic Seren author in honour of Wales’ Year of Legends. This month the spotlight falls on Iolo Williams.

Wild Places – Iolo Williams gIolo Williams has just returned to our TV screens with Trefi Gwyllt Iolo on S4C and BBC’s Springwatch, where in Episode 8 he goes head to head with Martin Hughes-Games, pitting two iconic birds (the barn owl and the kestrel) against each other in a challenge to see which is the ultimate hunter. So what better time to have this nature expert as our Legend of the Month?

Previously Iolo has worked as the presenter of seventeen TV shows, in two languages; he is also an author, and a public lecturer. With a degree in Ecology, he has worked in farming, timber and for the RSPB in the field, and as a regional co-ordinator. Williams is the author of five books in Welsh and two in English: Llyfr Adar, Llyfr Natur, Blwyddyn Fan Hyn a Fan Draw, Cynefin Glan Y Môr, Blwyddyn Iolo, Wild about the Wild, and most recently, Wild Places: Wales’ Top 40 Nature Sites (Seren, 2016).

Wild Places is an ode to the beauty and significance of Wales’ nature places and features forty of Iolo’s favourites, scattered all around the country. From mountains to meadows, coastal sites to towering cliffs, his list takes in all the best of what Wales has to offer, and reveals how to get the most out of each site – where to spot dolphins and salmon, where hares box and otters swim, where to see Wales’ great variety of hawks and other birds of prey.
Wild Places is available from our website: £19.99 (20% off when you join our Book Club).

Meet Iolo at our Secrets of Skomer Island event at the Teifi Marshes Centre, where he will join former Skomer warden and author, Rosanne Alexander, to talk about the island’s important landscape and wildlife.  Tickets are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment:
£5 from The Wildlife Trust website
(all ticket proceeds go to the Trust)

Rosanne Alexander Iolo Williams Skomer event

 

Find a great selection of books by our other legendary writers on the Year of Legends page.

 

 

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Book Giveaway: win a copy of Newspaper Taxis

Book giveaway win Newspaper Taxis

This month, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we are giving away a copy of Newspaper Taxis: Poetry After The Beatles.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st July:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Book giveaway win Newspaper Taxis


About Newspaper Taxis:
In January 1963 the single ‘Please, Please Me’ shot to number one, heralding the start of both Beatlemania and the swinging sixties. In the next few years The Beatles wrote the template for pop music. Their songs defined popular culture at a time when it was inspiring social change in Europe and North America, and this book collects poems that both respond to the music and to their influence on the way we lived then and the way we live now.
With contributions by a myriad of poets, young and old, including Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Adrian Henri, Philip Larkin, Lachlan Mackinnon, Roger McGough, Sheenagh Pugh, Jeremy Reed and Carol Rumens, this book is a response to The Beatles’ creativity and capacity to influence successive generations.

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st July. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Relic’, Katherine Stansfield

Friday Poem Relic Katherine Stansfield

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1st 1967, our Friday Poem this week is taken from Newspaper Taxis: Poems After The Beatles.

Newspaper Taxis collects together poems that showcase the vast and varied influence The Beatles had on the way we lived then and the way we live now. With contributions by myriad of poets, young and old, including Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Adrian Henri, Philip Larkin, Lachlan Mackinnon, Roger McGough, Sheenagh Pugh, Jeremy Reed, Carol Rumens and Katherine Stansfield (featured here), this book is a response to the Beatles’ creativity and capacity to influence successive generations.
‘Relic’ by Katherine Stansfield imagines what the buyer of one of John Lennon’s teeth, auctioned in November 2011, might do with it. The poem blends together the whimsical and the macabre – ‘After fifty years it looks / like forgotten popcorn’. With humour, and wistfulness, the poet brings back the ‘long dead croon’ to play again in all our ears.

 

Friday Poem Katherine Stansfield Relic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newspaper Taxis is available from our website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Song for the Unburied’, Carol Rumens

Carol Rumens Song for the Unburied Friday Poem

Our thoughts are with Manchester, and we don’t have words to express our sorrow. In tribute we feature Carol Rumens’ ‘Song for the Unburied’ as this week’s Friday Poem.

Blind Spots Carol Rumens‘Song for the Unburied’ is taken from Carol Rumens’ 2008 collection Blind Spots, a masterclass of inventive, intelligent, original, and relevant modern poetry. A major voice in contemporary verse, Rumens is admired as much for her technical brilliance as for the range, breadth and subtlety of her subject matter. You might find a sonnet, a sestina, a villanelle but you’ll also chance across a pantoum or a ghazal, or a fluid free verse poem where birdsong flickers off the edges of the page. Most uncommonly, these poems are informed by a consciousness that is as fiercely personal and tender as it is public-minded and political.

 

 

Carol Rumens Song for the Unburied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Poem – ‘Branwen’s starling’, Meirion Jordan

Meirion Jordan Branwen's starling Friday Poem

Lady Charlotte Guest, the first to publish a full collection of the Mabinogion legends in translation, was born on this day in 1812. In celebration, our Friday Poem is ‘Branwen’s starling’ from Meiron Jordan’s Mabinogion-inspired collection, Regeneration.

regeneration meirion jordan friday poemRegeneration is Welsh poet Meirion Jordan’s take on the medieval manuscripts known today as Llyfr Coch Hergest and Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (the Red Book of Hergest and the White Book of Rhydderch). This collection is a re-imagining, inspired by source material that includes the stories of the Mabinogion, and Malory’s version of King Arthur’s tales.
In ‘Red Book’ we meet characters drawn from the eleven stories of the Mabinogi, like ‘Arawn, lord of Annwn’; ‘Rhiannon’s gossips’ and ‘Blodauwedd (the woman made of flowers)’. These poems evoke what Meirion Jordan calls in his insightful preface ‘half-recalled heroic landscapes’; they capture the elusive essence of these characters, their mysterious passions and their sometimes violent and often strange adventures in Jordan’s distinctive poetic style. His pared-down pure lyricism and tightly enjambed free-verse lines bring brevity and clarity to these tales without subtracting their unsettling power to move us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Mabinogion story of Branwen, Daughter of Llŷr, the princess is married to Matholwch, King of Ireland. Enraged that he has not been consulted about the match, Branwen’s half-brother Efnysien mutilates the groom-to-be’s horses and Matholwch leaves with his bride, still bitter, but pacified by the gift of a magic couldron which can bring the dead back to life. Branwen endures much abuse after she arrives in Ireland and so tames a starling to fly to her brother Brân, King of Wales, so she may be saved. After a period of war and great devastation, Branwen is returned to Wales, and dies grieving over the destruction caused on her account.


Regeneration
by Merion Jordan is available on our website: £8.99
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Book giveaway: win a copy of Mr Vogel by Lloyd Jones

Book giveaway Mr Vogel Lloyd Jones

This month we are giving away a copy of Lloyd Jones’ stunning novel, Mr Vogel, which is newly back in print.

To enter, simply sign up to the Seren newsletter before 1st June:
https://www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

Book giveaway Mr Vogel Lloyd Jones


About Mr Vogel:
Lloyd Jones Mr Vogel
Following a bout of alcoholism which almost killed him, Lloyd Jones decided to recuperate by walking around Wales. It was this epic walk which inspired Jones to write Mr Vogel – one of the most original and engaging novels to appear from – and about – Wales in recent years.
The novel begins with the discovery, in the attic of a second-hand bookshop, of an account of a lame man’s mysterious quest – the so-called ’Vogel Papers’. Our guide, a Welshman, becomes obsessed with the Vogel Papers: his investigations take him across three continents and around his homeland – from Anglesey to Pembrokeshire, from Bangor to the Black Mountains – in search of a strange man known only as Mr Vogel.

 

We will pick a winner at random from all our email subscribers on 1st June. Make sure you have signed up to Seren News before then to be in with a chance of winning!

Why not give your friends a chance to win too, by recommending that they sign up to our newsletter before the end of the month using this link?
www.serenbooks.com/newsletter/signup

 

 

 

Legend of the Month: Robert Graves

Robert Graves Legend of the Month

Each month we are celebrating one fantastic Seren author in honour of Wales’ Year of Legends. This month the spotlight falls on Robert Graves.

Robert Graves began publishing poetry after the outbreak of the First World War, for which he enlisted in 1914 as a junior officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Robert Graves War Poems Charles MundyeHe was one of the first to write realistic poems about the experience of fighting on the frontline. His first volume, Over the Brazier, was published in 1916, and by 1917 he had produced two further collections of war poetry whilst still on active service. Over the Brazier and Fairies and Fusiliers earned for Graves the reputation of an accomplished war poet.
You can find all Graves’ war poetry in recently published Robert Graves: War Poems (Seren, 2016).

During his lifetime Graves published more than 140 books, including fifty-five collections of poetry (he reworked his Collected Poems repeatedly during his career), fifteen novels, ten translations, and forty works of non-fiction, autobiography, and literary essays. His best known works are his memoir of World War One, Goodbye to All That, The White Goddess, and the novels I, Claudius and Claudius the Great.

Here is Graves’ poem, ‘Hate Not, Fear Not’, from his previously unpublished collection The Patchwork Flag (1918) which, almost a century after composition, has now been brought into print as part of Robert Graves: War Poems.

 

Robert Graves Hate Not, Fear Not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Graves: War Poems is available from our website: £19.99

Find a great selection of books by our other legendary writers on the Year of Legends page.

And don’t forget to sign up to our free, no-purchase-necessary Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.

 

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