Friday Poem: ‘Curating a space for anachronistic design’ by Nerys Williams

In anticipation of Mother’s Day and because today is St Patrick’s Day, this week’s Friday Poem is ‘Curating a space for anachronistic design’ by Welsh/Irish poet Nerys Williams from her new collection Republic.

This cover shows a colourful print of a woman dressed in a black hoodie with large bunny ears on the hood. She has dripping dark blue rings around her eyes and stands out against an acid yellow background. The text reads: Republic. Nerys Williams.

In her explosive new poetry collection Republic Nerys Williams opens a window on life in rural west Wales during the 1980s and 90s. English and Welsh-language post-punk bands, politics, feminism and family life are thrown together on the page as she questions what makes a republic?

32. Curating a space for anachronistic design
We are mindful of that space where objects retain their usefulness, not yet dated. But no longer telling the current story of our consumption. Until one summer they might be discovered again. Bakelite transmissions PARIS/ BREMEN/ LUXEMBOURG/ DLF/ WDR, the mono cassette player offering better noise that your laptop. A found boxed card, in lurid psychedelic colours celebrating your birth, a letter slips out. In translation:
“Congratulations on your precious gift of a daughter. I am so delighted that you are getting better and healing, I hope that you return home soon. We will come and see you soon, we ask after you frequently. Your mother tells me she is very happy the birth went well. We miss seeing you at the chapel on Sunday and our incidental chats. We had the rehearsal for the Gymanfa Ganu here yesterday and the numbers were low considering three chapels were meeting, however there was considerable amount of eating in the vestry. The weather is still rather mixed, we’ve just started our cut of hay, but it remains to be collected. You are very lucky to have the summer as your season of motherhood, you’ll be able to show your girl the world. I will sign off now and hope that we will have a good chat soon. P.S. and kisses to the baby” (your name misspelt).
Cards that are kept, establish an archive, alerting us to something larger than ourselves. One birth impacts a community, a language. Why cry over the viscose, threads of writing which represent an overflow of feeling? Puffy-eyed you think of those words “a most precious daughter” given by one having none.

Republic is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Join us at Goldstone Books in Carmarthen tonight (17th March) to hear Nerys Williams in conversation with Menna Elfyn at the launch of Republic. All welcome. Find the full details and register via Eventbrite.

Book Launch. Republic. Nerys Williams. Friday 17th March from 6pm. Goldstone Books, 10 Hall Street, Carmarthen, SA31 1PH. Join us at Goldstone Books for the launch of Republic by Nerys Williams where she'll be chatting to Menna Elfyn.

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