Friday Poem – ‘Shapes in Ice’, Ruth Bidgood

Friday Poem Ruth Bidgood Shapes in Ice

Our Friday Poem this week is the delightfully wintery ‘Shapes in Ice’ by Ruth Bidgood, from her New & Selected Poems.

New & Selected Ruth Bidgood Friday Poem Bluetit FeedingRuth Bidgood’s New & Selected Poems features work from her five early collections, starting with The Given Time (1972) through Kindred (1986) along with selections from The Fluent Moment (1996) and Singing to Wolves (2000). The final section is devoted to over fifty pages of new poems.
This generous selection of work highlights the steady accumulation of a significant oeuvre. Bidgood’s ostensible subjects are the storied landscape and history of her region of mid-Wales, the hills and valleys of Powys and Breconshire, but her themes frequently have a wider reach, a spiritual depth that is often darkly suggestive and mysterious.



Ruth Bidgood Shapes In Ice




















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Friday Poem – ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’, Yvonne Reddick

Yvonne Reddick Friday Poem Alaska

This week our Friday Poem is ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’ by Yvonne Reddick, from her debut pamphlet Translating Mountains.

Yvonne Reddick Translating MountainsChosen recently as one of Leaf Arnuthnot’s favourite twenty poetry pamphlets in The TLS, Translating Mountains is an emotionally rich and memorable selection of poems that recount the disappearance and death of a beloved father, and the grief felt for a close friend, who both died in mountaineering accidents. These poems are also hymns to stunning scenery, with mountains and place names often in a craggy, atmospheric Gaelic. Full of tension, emotion and action, the poems grip our attention. The author searches for ways to grieve and come to terms with the trauma of her father’s death, whilst echoing his love for adventure, and imprinting his memory upon newly discovered or imagined landscapes, as in ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’.



Yvonne Reddick Alaska















Translating Mountains is available from the Seren website: £5.00

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Friday Poem – ‘Followed’, Kim Moore

Friday Poem by Kim Moore - Followed

We are still taking in the news that Kim Moore has won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for The Art of Falling – so we couldn’t help but feature one of Kim’s poems on the blog today. ‘Followed’ is one of the deeply personal central poems which explore an experience of domestic violence.

The Art of Falling Kim MooreKim Moore, in the opening poems of her lively debut poetry collection, sets herself firmly in the North amongst ‘My People’: ‘who swear without knowing they are swearing… scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers’. The poet’s voice is direct, rhythmic, compelling. The lives of others also feature throughout, and revolve around a quietly devastating central sequence, ‘How I abandoned My Body To His Keeping’: the story of a woman embroiled in a relationship marked by coercion and violence. ‘Followed’ is taken from this darkly personal sequence, and shows a snapshot, a glimpse, of a figure – ‘everything black/ about him’ – who weighs heavy on the speaker, drawing her into shadowy places.
The judges for the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, poets Gillian Clarke and Katharine Towers, and the New Statesman’s Tom Gatti, said that Moore’s poems “accrue force and vigour as they speak to each other across the pages, delivering a thrilling encounter with language at its most irresistible and essential”.



Kim Moore 'Followed' The Art of Falling


















The Art of Falling is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Afternoon tea at your house is the otherness I’ve been chasing’, Rosie Shepperd

Friday Poem Afternoon tea Rosie Shepperd

Our Friday Poem today is an injection of calm into an otherwise mad Black Friday, from Rosie Shepperd’s captivating collection, The Man at the Corner Table.

the man at the corner table rosie shepperd‘Afternoon tea at your house is the otherness I’ve been chasing’ – a poem that settles you down and sits you in strangely rich and sweet surroundings: we notice the ‘butterscotch floor’ and the ‘careful coal pieces like strong oily truffles’ whilst all around the scent of sugar and brewing tea slowly builds. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?

The Man at the Corner Table is full of similarly delectable poems, where sensual evocations of food and drink take centre stage.


Rosie Shepperd Afternoon Tea Friday Poem





















If you’re suddenly feeling in the mood for a nice warm cuppa, we wouldn’t be surprised.
Keep an eye on the Seren website tomorrow, as we will be giving away free Morgan’s Brew tea and free chocolate with every order to help you recover from the Black Friday mayhem. And, as an added treat, enjoy free postage, too! The offer commences at midnight tonight, and runs through ’til Monday.



The Man at the Corner Table is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Lear Father’, Paul Deaton

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Lear Father’ from Paul Deaton’s recently published debut, A Watchful Astronomy.

Paul Deaton A Watchful AstronomyWelsh-raised and Bristol-based, Paul Deaton has produced a debut collection full of poems that are quietly precise, yet full of powerful emotion.
Deaton’s poems are finely attuned and alert to the tensions in relationships, partly attributable to a difficult father figure, ‘like a wounded bear’, who haunts much of this book – including our featured poem today, ‘Lear Father’. Nature is also a guiding presence in this collection, and is often embodied by a wintery landscape.
A Watchful Astronomy is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Winter 2017.


Friday Poem Lear Father Paul Deaton










A Watchful Astronomy is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘The Romantic’, Katrina Naomi

Friday Poem The Romantic by Katrina Naomi

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Romantic’, from The Way the Crocodile Taught Me by Katrina Naomi, who has just been shortlisted for B O D Y’s ‘Best of the Net’.

The Way the Crocodile Taught Me is a heartfelt and tragi-comic portrayal of a fraught childhood and adolescence. Central to the book are two sequences: one about a quick-tempered stepfather – a 17-stone brute, “mostly in a temper”, and the other about a kindly but also comically old-fashioned grandmother.
‘The Romantic’ recalls the poet’s lost father, and the deep emotional fissures he left behind.



Katrina Naomi poem The Romantic













The Way the Crocodile Taught Me is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Sax Burglar Blues’, Robert Walton

Friday Poem Sax Burglar Blues Robert Walton

This week our Friday Poem is the title number from Robert Walton’s brand new collection, Sax Burglar Blues.

Not so much a discovery as a re-discovery, Robert Walton’s new book of poems, Sax Burglar Blues, is his first full collection since winning a Welsh Arts Council Prize in the ’70s. After a working life as a teacher, Walton has resurrected his artistic gifts, and years of experience give his poetry both a spiky mien and an artful complexity. Subjects include: woodlice, jazz, teachers, grandparents, a canary who runs for President, Sisley’s lovely painting of the Gower, the iconoclastic poet John Tripp, a night bus named after Dusty Springfield, a Dad who loves Cardiff City, the annoying closure of bookshops and much more.
A guest at last night’s First Thursday event at the Chapter Arts Centre, Robert treated the audience to a live performance of ‘Sax Burglar Blues’, complete with saxophone solos. Scroll down to see for yourself.



Robert Walton Sax Burglar Blues
















Sax Burglar Blues is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Intruder’, Mike Jenkins

Friday Poem Intruder Mike Jenkins

Our Friday Poem this week, in time for Halloween, is sure to give you a bit of a chill: ‘Intruder’, from Mike Jenkins’ 1995 collection, This House, My Ghetto.

Mike Jenkins This House My GhettoIn This House, My Ghetto we see a post-modern, post-industrial landscape – far different from the Wales of postcards – subject to the whims of petty bureaucrats. Jenkins makes room for eccentric petrol pump attendants, beleaguered immigrants, odd lodgers, famous footballers and ghosts. He doesn’t flinch from the bleak streets of ‘Gurnos Shops’ where a local ‘takes his beer gut for a walk’, and even a mountain has its say about pesky tourists, yet his ascerbic humour and energy frame the outrage, and there are plenty of poems that, in contrast, praise and celebrate.
In ‘Intruder’, a quiet street is assaulted by the oppressive winter cold, and by a mysterious figure who interrupts the peaceful suburban landscape – ‘a territory he’d like to claim’.



Intruder Mike Jenkins















This House, My Ghetto is available from the Seren website: £5.95

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Friday Poem – ‘Wintering’, Rhiannon Hooson

Friday Poem Rhiannon Hooson Wintering

Rhiannon Hooson’s incredible debut collection, The Other City, has just appeared on the Wales Book of the Year shortlist – and this week our Friday Poem is one from its pages: the seasonally-appropriate ‘Wintering’.

The Other City Rhiannon HoosonThe Other City offers us elegant, artful verse of precision and insight. Sharply focused, beautifully resonant, deeply felt, these poems tend to travel in distinct streams: characters like Zeus, Narcissus, Ariadne, and Ganymede sit alongside reworkings of Welsh history, both ancient and modern. Other poems explore the idea of otherness and the uncanny, where actions are done and undone, and the familiar made unfamiliar.
This is a poet who can re-imagine scenes from Greek myth, from Welsh history, and make them as urgent and compelling as her poems about personal relationships.


Rhiannon Hooson Wintering










The Other City is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Drumlins have no personality’, Siobhán Campbell

Friday Poem Drumlins Siobhán Campbell

Our Friday Poem this week is Siobhán Campbell’s ‘Drumlins have no personality’, from her latest collection, Heat Signature.

Heat Signature Siobhan CampbellSiobhán Campbell’s poetry is of a strange breed: simultaneously comic and brutal, intelligent and whimsical. In Neil Leadbeater’s newly published review, he points to the ‘profoundly challenging and entertaining’ nature of Campbell’s new poems. Heat Signature is Siobhán’s sixth collection, and its complex style is entirely characteristic of the poet’s spikey voice: infused with an intelligence that resists easy answers to the conundrums that have faced her Irish homeland, but also suffused with a grudging admiration for the citizens who have survived their tumultuous history.

A note on the poem: drumlins are small hills shaped like half-buried eggs, formed by underlying glacial ice. The name comes from the Irish word droimnín (“littlest ridge”).


Siobhán Campbell Drumlins














Heat Signature is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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