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




















New & Selected Poems is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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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

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



A glittering new festive pamphlet: Twelve Poems for Christmas

Twelve Poems for Christmas festive pamphlet

‘It’s not Christmas, it’s only November!’ we hear you cry. Well, we can’t help but feel a little festive as the new Twelve Poems for Christmas pamphlet is now available to pre-order.

Last year’s Christmas Poetry Competition was a huge success. Judge Amy Wack, Seren’s Poetry Editor, states:

The challenge of a successful Christmas poem is the same as a challenge of a ‘regular’ poem: both to embrace tradition and subvert it, to resist cliché.  I was looking for variation of tone, manner and address, for brevity, and for a certain sparkling something, suitable for the season.

The submissions certainly didn’t disappoint. From the entries Amy compiled a shortlist of twelve outstanding festive poems, and we have combined these to create the Twelve Poems for Christmas poetry pamphlet:

Pippa Little
‘St. Leonore and the Robin’

Helen Overell

Cathy Bryant
‘Noticing Cards While Eating Stuffing’

Alexandra Davis

Will Johnson
‘What Wish’

Sarah Rowland Jones
‘Gabriel’s Greeting’

Gina Wilson
‘A Child for Our World’

Nancy Charley
‘On Losing my Voice at Christmas’

Nicola Healey
‘Two Pheasants’

Philip Rush
‘Daylight is in Short Supply’

Sarah Westcott

Wendy Klein
‘The Usual Suspects’


The Twelve Poems for Christmas pamphlet is publishing on 01 December, but you can pre-order your copy now. Why not post it to someone you love instead of a card? That is, if you can bear to part with it…

Don’t forget: you can claim 20% off when you become a registered user on our website.



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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Free poetry alert – enjoy samples from all our 2017 collections

Free poetry Seren sampler 2017

Who doesn’t love a freebie? We’ve put together something a little special for  all you poetry lovers – the Seren Poetry Sampler 2017. This free PDF is now available to download, and contains a free poem from each of our 2017 collections.

It also contains an exclusive 30% discount code – so when you inevitably fall in love with all ten books, you won’t break the bank.

Free poetry pamphlet







There are a number of poems from striking debut collections: ‘Lake Fever’ from Polly Atkin’s Basic Nest Architecture, ‘The Coffin Hut’ from Paul Deaton’s PBS-Recommended debut A Watchful Astronomy, and ‘The Walking Wed’, Emily Blewitt’s Walking Dead-inspired poem from This Is Not A Rescue.

Experienced poets Siobhán Campbell, Martyn Crucefix, and Graham Mort feature too, with poems from fresh new collections: ‘Why Islanders Don’t Kiss Hello’ (Heat Signature), ‘R-O-M-J-X’ (The Lovely Disciplines), ‘Froglet’ (Black Shiver Moss), alongside ‘Closing Down’ from Robert Walton’s long-awaited second collection, Sax Burglar Blues.

There are also poems from two new pamphlets: ‘The Birds’ from Brood by Wales Book of the Year winner Rhian Edwards, and ‘Howlet’ by promising young poet Yvonne Reddick, from Translating Mountains, winner of the 2016 Mslexia Poetry Prize.

A final treat is ‘Hare’, a poem by Carolyn Jess-Cooke from the Writing Motherhood anthology, which brings together poetry, essays and interviews on the subjects of motherhood and creativity.


Download the Seren Poetry Sampler 2017 for free from our website.



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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