Friday Poem – ‘Why islanders don’t kiss hello’, Siobhán Campbell

Friday Poem Why islanders don't kiss hello Siobhan Campbell

Tomorrow many of you will be celebrating Ireland’s foremost patron saint, and so today we feature Irish poet Siobhán Campbell’s witty rumination on cultural customs, ‘Why islanders don’t kiss hello’.

Heat Signature Siobhan CampbellTaken from Campbell’s most recent collection, Heat Signature, ‘Why islanders don’t hiss hello’ is not simply a humorous piece about the awkward and personal nature of the continental cheek-kiss, but also – as with much of Campbell’s poetry – a wry commentary on the political: ‘Perhaps we are not fully of the Europe…’
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.


Siobhan Campbell Why islanders don't kiss hello














Heat Signature is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘March Morning, Pearson Park’, Carol Rumens

Friday Poem March Morning Pearson Park Carol Rumens

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘March Morning, Pearson Park’ by Carol Rumens, from her latest collection, Animal People.

Animal People Carol RumensThe setting for this poem is Hull’s Pearson Park, which was established on land that was given to the people by Zachariah Pearson in 1862 – hence the park’s original name of ‘People’s Park’. At this time, the lack of public spaces for working classes to enjoy and exercise in was a public cause, and approximately 30,000 visitors came to watch the park’s grand unveiling.
The poems of Animal People are frequently inspired by places, either wild landscapes as in ‘Fire, Stone, Snowdonia’ or the urban scenes of our featured poem. Often, a setting will be a pretext for a theme that has a political, sociological, aesthetic, philosophical or even metaphysical focus.


Carol Rumens March Morning Pearson Park















The dedication is to the Hull poet Maurice Rutherford, born in the same year as Philip Larkin, and still writing. Find out more on his website:


Animal People is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.

Read Women: International Women’s Day 2018

Read Women International Women's Day

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day – a day of recognition for women’s achievements, and also a time to acknowledge and challenge the gender inequality still present in society.

We are also just days away from Mother’s Day, and whilst fluffy books about romance and cooking usually dominate consumers’ gift choices, we say: why not give mum, and yourself, something important instead?

Until Monday, these two significant anthologies are 50% off – and we will also upgrade postage to First Class at no extra charge (why wait longer to enjoy these books than you absolutely have to?)

Read Women International Women's Day

Writing Motherhooded. Carolyn Jess-Cooke
RRP £12.99 £6.49
The perfect literary gift, Writing Motherhood explores the relationship between creativity and motherhood, and queries the persistent societal obsession over whether women ‘can do both’. With contributions from writers such as Carol Ann Duffy, Sharon Olds and Hollie McNish.

‘This is a truly inspiring collection, all the more so for its wit and its grit, its poetry and its honesty; here we have women producing ‘good art’ despite – and often  because of – ‘the pram in the hall.’ – Shelley Day

Women’s Work, ed. Amy Wack & Eva Salzman
RRP £14.99 £7.49
Some may ask: is the literary establishment still as dominated by men as it once was? Who gets to decide the canon? Eva Salzman opens Women’s Work with a lively polemic, making the case for the women-only anthology with characteristic wit and flair. With over 250 contributors, this generous selection of poetry by women features poets from the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, and New Zealand.


Celebrating Seren’s women writers

The list of women writers Seren has published is a long one – and we would like to take a moment to send out our love and thanks to every talented one who has graced our list – and those we look forward to publishing in future.

International Women's Day 2018

Friday Poem – ‘White Horse in a Snowfield’, Robert Walton

Friday Poem Robert Walton Horse in a Snowfield

Our Friday Poem this week is a coldly beautiful vision of winter, ‘White Horse in a Snowfield’, from Robert Walton’s Sax Burglar Blues.

The poems in Robert Walton’s Sax Burglar Blues range from vivid memories of childhood, to keen socio-political satire, and precise and elegant nature poems. 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, the beauty of an Ash tree in spring,a Dad who loves Cardiff City, the austere beauty of a Bristol church, the annoying closure of bookshops and more.
Packed with memory, incident, observation, opinion, humour, outrage and elegy, there is much to devour and discuss here.


White Horse in a Snowfield Robert Walton












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

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.



Friday Poem – ‘Different Shoulders’, Dai George

Dai George Friday Poem Different Shoulders

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Different Shoulders’ by Dai George, from his debut collection The Claims Office.

The Claims Office Dai GeorgeSome of you may have been lucky enough to hear Dai George at our poetry festival on 17 February, where he was in conversation with Gwyneth Lewis, sharing poems and discussing poetic themes and styles through the generations.
We always relish hearing the very talented Dai perform his work, and hope – whether you attended or otherwise – that you enjoy reading ‘Different Shoulders’, which beautifully explores the big questions that keep us awake at night (‘this dread that I’ve inherited/ the wrong God) whilst taking visceral joy in ‘the kiln of your/ breath’ and the ‘simmering mysteries’ of another’s body.



Friday Poem Different Shoulders Dai George



















The Claims Office is available from the Seren website: £8.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.



Seren/Cornerstone Festival recap – the best bits of our poetry weekend

Seren poetry festival recap

This weekend we co-hosted Cardiff’s first weekend-long poetry festival in the beautiful Cornerstone building, and were thrilled to see so many people enjoying the programme of events.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our sponsors: Tidal Lagoon Power, the Rhys Davies Trust, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff. Thanks are also due for all at Cornerstone, who hosted us in their beautiful venue, to our official festival photographer David Hurn, and to the talented line-up of artists and authors who took part: Jonathan Edwards, Paul Henry, Brian Briggs, Philip Gross, Cyril Jones, Damian Walford Davies, Rhian Edwards, Gillian Clarke, Gwyneth Lewis, Richard Gwyn, Clare E. Potter, Susie Wild, Emily Blewitt, Katherine Stansfield, Stephen Payne, David Foster-Morgan, The Spoke, Little Rêd, Robert Minhinnick.

The mix of events combined spectacular poetry readings, beautiful music and thought-provoking film. Take a look at the slideshow below, where we have brought together photographs taken by the wonderful David Hurn, by Cornerstone photographer Chas Breton and by Seren’s Marketing Officer Rosie Johns.


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What about next year, we hear you ask? Will the festival return? Well, we’re pleased to say that we are already thinking about it…




Friday Poem – ‘Sundays too my Dad got up early’, Ben Wilkinson

Friday Poem Sundays Ben Wilkinson

This week’s Friday Poem, ‘Sundays too my Dad got up early’, is a sneak peek into poetry critic Ben Wilkinson’s startling debut, Way More Than Luck (publishing 28 February).

Way More Than Luck Ben WilkinsonFrom the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut, Way More Than Luck, confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an unflinching interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to the legends of Liverpool Football Club. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas.


Sundays too my Dad got up early Ben Wilkinson
















Way More Than Luck is available to pre-order from the Seren website: £9.99

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Opening Night at the Seren/Cornerstone Poetry Festival

Seren/Cornerstone poetry festival Cardiff

Good morning poetry lovers! Today’s the day we launch our inaugural poetry festival in the beautiful Cornerstone building on Charles Street, Cardiff.

So what can you look forward to, and how can you get tickets? All the important information is below…

Cornerstone Seren poetry festival
Festival venue: The Cornerstone building, Charles Street, Cardiff, CF10 2GA

Jonathan Edwards poet7:00pm: Jonathan Edwards, Welcome Buffet
Jonathan Edwards will open the festival with the Welcome Buffet event – listen to readings from Edwards’ Costa Prize-winning collection My Family and Other Superheroes plus new material while you enjoy a selection of food from the on-site Pantry Café.
£7 – For tickets contact Lucy King: 07445 816617
(booking recommended)


The Glass Aisle Paul Henry Brian Briggs8:30pm: ‘The Glass Aisle’: Paul Henry & Brian Briggs
Poet Paul Henry and singer/songwriter Brian Briggs perform their remarkable poetry & music collaboration at 8:30pm, with songs inspired by a stretch of the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal. This event also launches Henry’s book of the same name.
£10 – For tickets contact Lucy King: 07445 816617
(booking recommended)


The full festival brochure, with details of all the weekend’s events, is available to view & download on the festival website:

Online ticketing has now ended but tickets can still be pre-booked over the phone. Contact Lucy King: 07445 816617

Tickets will also be available to buy on the door, but to guarantee your place pre-booking is advised (in particular for the food events)


Friday Poem – ‘Two men’, David Foster-Morgan

Friday Poem Two men David Foster-Morgan

This week our Friday Poem is David Foster-Morgan’s ‘Two men’, from his debut collection, Masculine Happiness.

Masculine happinessDavid is one of five fabulous poets taking part in the New Poets Showcase event, Saturday 17 February, 11:00am. Listen to him read alongside Emily Blewitt, Susie Wild, Katherine Stansfield and Stephen Payne – tickets available here (£5.00). The event is part of our inaugural Seren/Cornerstone Poetry Festival.

Masculine Happiness is a provocative yet subtle collection which explores the author’s ambivalence towards models of masculinity handed out to us by the media and modern society. There is also a considerable amount of humour here, along with astute satire and insightful character poems. Foster-Morgan’s work repays the careful attention of thoughtful readers.


David Foster-Morgan Two men
















Masculine Happiness is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.


Friday Poem – ‘Reeling in the River’, Philip Gross

Our Friday Poem this week is Philip Gross’ ‘Reeling in the River’ from A Fold in the River, his collaborative work with artist Valerie Coffin Price.

Philip Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff at Quakers Yard and his journals are the source for the powerful poems in this book. Price walked along the river there to create the beautiful prints and drawings that accompany the poems.

Don’t miss Philip & Valerie’s joint event at the Seren/Cornerstone Poetry Festival, Saturday 17 February, 12:00pm.

Want to win a copy of this book? A Fold in the River is our giveaway prize for February – sign up to Seren News before 01 March to be in the running to win.

Philip Gross Reeling in the River















A Fold in the River is available from the Seren website: £12.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.