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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Friday Poem – ‘The Children’s Asylum’, Pascale Petit

This week our Friday Poem is ‘The Children’s Asylum’ by Pascale Petit, which was originally published in The Huntress, and later featured in Tokens for the Foundlings, an anthology inspired by the Foundling Hospital.

Established in 1741, The Foundling Hospital was essentially Britain’s first orphanage, and admissions were catalogued by tokens – coins, scraps of ribbon, needlework – symbols of maternal hope left by the children’s parents. Tokens for the Foundlings is an anthology of poems about orphans, childhood and family inspired by and supporting the work of the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury. It brings together many of the finest poets from Britain, Ireland and the USA, among them Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, and our featured poet today, Pascale Petit.
The Huntress is Pascale’s T.S. Eliot shortlisted third collection, and re-imagines a painful childhood through a series of remarkable and passionate transformations.

Petit says, “I wrote ‘The Children’s Asylum’ after my mother died, and left a trunk of journals and letters in which I found her description of being committed to a “loony bin” when she was nine years old. Later in life her mental illness became worse, and it’s this that I wrote about in my seventh collection Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), where the “madwood” of ‘The Children’s Asylum’ has turned into the whole Amazon rainforest, and her psychiatric ward is a place haunted by giant talking water lilies, jaguars, caimans and hummingbirds.”

 

 

The Children's Asylum Pascale Petit Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Huntress is available on the Seren website: £7.99

Tokens for the Foundlings is available on the Seren website: £12.99
(all royalties from sales are donated to the Foundling Museum, in support of its work)

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Friday Poem – ‘Blood Testing Piglets’, Ilse Pedler

Friday Poem Blood Testing Piglets Ilse Pedler

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Blood Testing Piglets’ from Ilse Pedler’s debut poetry pamphlet, The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels.

The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels Ilse Pedler Friday PoemWinner of the 2015 Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition, poet Ilse Pedler often writes from her perspective as a working Veterinary Surgeon. From her earliest days as a student of Applied Zoology at Bangor University, where she worked with hill sheep and had to visit an abattoir in Caernarfon, she has been involved at close-quarters with animals. Her deep knowledge and genuine love of them informs this art. A secondary theme is secrets: those we keep from others, those we keep from ourselves, those nature keeps from us.
Sometimes poignant, often comic, the poems in The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels display a keen intelligence and dynamism.

 

Isle Pedler Blood Testing Piglets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels is available from the Seren website: £5.00

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Friday Poem – ‘Miner, Abercynon, 1985’, Duncan Bush

Friday Poem Duncan Bush Miner Abercynon

Late last month we were shocked and saddened to learn of Duncan Bush’s passing. This week our Friday Poem is one of our favourites from The Hook.

The Hook Duncan BushThe Hook combines powerful early poems from two of Duncan Bush’s prize-winning collections: Aquarium (1983) and Salt (1985), together with several poems published in pamphlet form at the time of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike, including our featured poem ‘Miner, Abercynon, 1985’.
The poems in this book focus on a number of themes that Duncan Bush continually refined over the years. His central concerns are the nature of work, the impact of industry on its environs, and the fate of modern man at the centre of a complicated web of social, political and personal forces.

 

Friday Poem The Hook Duncan Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hook is available from the Seren website: £7.95

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Friday Poem – ‘Archaeology’, Robert Minhinnick

Archaeology Friday Poem Robert Minhinnick

September has arrived, but our Friday Poem looks back to August’s Legend of the Month: Robert Minhinnick. ‘Archaology’ is from his sixth collection, Hey Fatman.

Hey Fatman is full of the rich, sometimes strange, always telling, detail that is to be expected from one of Britain’s most compelling poets. The book opens with poems set in and around Minhinnick’s native South Wales, and includes a sequence based on the history of an ancestral house, Dunraven. We then move on to work inspired by the poet’s travels in South America and the U.S.A. The whole volume presents us with a series of vivid portraits, and our featured poem, with its subject who ‘ran shouting/ From his house with his hair on fire’, is no exception.

 

Robert Minhinnick Archaeology Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Fatman is available from the Seren website: £5.95

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Friday Poem – ‘The Battle of Gwen Strad’, Taliesin, translated by Tony Conran

Tony Conran’s unrivalled anthology of Welsh poetry through the ages, Welsh Verse, has just returned to print. This week our Friday Poem is Conran’s translation of ‘The Battle of Gwen Strad’, by sixth century poet, Taliesin.

Welsh Verse Tony ConranWelsh Verse is a milestone of translation, containing poetry from the sixth century to the late twentieth century. Virtually every significant poet (or poem: there are several Anonymous entries over the centuries) is present, and every poetic form: the epics of Taliesin and Aneurin, the poets of the medieval princes, Tudor poets, Non-conformist poets, hymn-writers, Romantics, Social Realists and political Nationalists. Welsh Verse also includes an Introduction full of insight into the history of poetry in the Welsh language, and into the challenges of translating it, particularly over so many centuries and styles.
Taliesin is often referred to, in legend and in medieval Welsh poetry, as ‘Taliesin Ben Beirdd’ (‘Taliesin, Chief of Bards’). ‘The Battle of Gwen Strad’, along with several of his other poems, sings the praises of King Urien.

Taliesin poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Presumably before the Anglo-Saxons took Catraeth (Catterick) – see under Aneirin. Urien was Taliesin’s patron, king of Rheged in Cumbria and S.W. Scotland. The Eden is a river in Cumbria.

 

Welsh Verse is available from the Seren website: £12.99.

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Friday Poem – ‘For a Foot’, Kathryn Gray

Friday Poem For a Foot Kathryn Gray

This week our Friday poem is ‘For a Foot’ by Kathryn Gray, taken from her 2004 debut collection, The Never-Never

Kathryn Gray The Never-NeverPropelling us from the rain-lashed back-streets and housing estates of Wales, to London, California and beyond, the poems of The Never-Never offer us unique tales of friendship, love and loss, of exile and the distant promise of home. Gray’s accessible style in which she combines playful and serious, allusive and direct with an intellectual wit, makes for an extremely readable collection.
In ‘For a Foot’, the speaker reminisces about a one-legged figure, fierce and ferocious, and the prosthesis that hid their lost limb, obscuring ‘What happens at the bare knuckle/ of life’.

 

For a Foot Kathryn Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Never-Never is available from the Seren website: £7.99.

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Friday Poem — ‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’, Pascale Petit

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ by Pascale Petit, taken from her 2010 poetry collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo.

What the Water Gave Me Frida Kahlo Pascale PetitThe poems of What the Water Gave Me are narrated through the voice of the twentieth-century Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. The collection features a diverse range of biographical verse poems: some are interpretations of Kahlo’s work; others are inspired by the painter but also draw on aspects of Petit’s own experience as a visual artist, where she can be seen to create art with words. Through her vivid style, which evokes a closeness to nature and an understanding of pain and redemption, Petit offers us a valuable insight into Kahlo’s life.
‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ is inspired by Kahlo’s 1938 oil painting of the same name: the iconic Mexican artist sits with a monkey draped around her shoulder and ribbons in her hair, framed by a background of leaves.

 

Frida Kahlo poem Pascale Petit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo is available from the Seren website: £8.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Crisscross’, Lynne Hjelmgaard

Friday Poem Crisscross Lynne Hjelmgaard

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Crisscross’ by Lynne Hjelmgaard, taken from her most recent poetry collection, A Boat Called Annalise.

A Boat Called AnnaliseThe poems of A Boat Called Annalise recall a journey this much-travelled author took on a sailboat to the Caribbean and back to Europe with her husband. First we experience the tentative first months at sea, the author finding her ‘sea-legs’. As the book moves on, we find the author navigating not only the turbulent seascape, but also grief, healing, and nostalgia for the halcyon days of her marriage.
In ‘Crisscross’ we are post-voyage, and the mood is one of reflection. The author and her husband seem in stark contrast: one having gratefully retreated from the sea, and the other at a loss without its strangely comforting wildness.

 

Crisscross Lynne Hjelmgaard A Boat Called Annalise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Boat Called Annalise is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘The Lovely Disciplines’, Martyn Crucefix

Friday Poem The Lovely Disciplines Martyn Crucefix

This week our Friday Poem is the title poem from Martyn Crucefix’s brand new collection, The Lovely Disciplines, which came out just yesterday.

Martyn Crucefix The Lovely DisciplinesDisplaying his characteristic flair, craft and intelligence, Crucefix’s new poems often begin with the visible, the tangible, the ordinary, yet through each act of attentiveness and the delicate fluidity of the language they re-discover the extraordinary in the everyday.
The book is split into three sections, and ‘The Lovely Disciplines’ appears in section two, which is not just the centre but the emotional heart of this new collection. It features a number of tender poems that recollect moments with ageing parents: a father, losing his memory, gets lost driving a familiar route, with such loss prefiguring wider and deeper losses to come; a childhood home is suddenly shorn of its reassuring familiarity. Here, aged figures in a hospital ward lean away from the lives they once knew, whilst loved ones ‘rest useless hands’ and wait, for a release.

 

The Lovely Disciplines Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lovely Disciplines is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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