This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The Leech House’ by Rhiannon Hooson from her forthcoming collection Goliat.
Goliat is the second collection by Rhiannon Hooson, a follow-up to her Wales Book of the Year nominated debut, The Other City. An intelligent and beautiful book, Goliat offers absorbing stories of a precarious world on the brink of climate emergency. Employing startling imagery and a deep sense of history, these poems explore the irreplaceable beauty of a wild world, and the terrible damage that humans might do to each other and the earth.
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Join us at 7:30pm at Chapter in Cardiff on National Poetry Day Thursday 6th October to see Rhiannon launch Goliat at Seren First Thursday alongside Hilary Llewellyn-Williams. If you can’t join us in person, we’re also streaming via Facebook live. Find the details on our website.
This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Fish. Oh. Fish’ by Judy Brown from her forthcoming collection Lairs.
Lairs brings together something primal and secret – the lair as haven for a wild or feral animal – with the poem framed as a mathematical equation. In these terms, the ‘lair’ is a kind of nest, a beautiful accumulation of dense detail. The poems are introspective, by turns mocking, fearful and analytical. Judy Brown’s use of language is innovative, while maintaining moments of vulnerability and moving self-awareness. In these exquisite poems, the lair is both the community at large and a dark and intricate interior space where something wild still survives.
This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The meaning of employable’ by Bryony Littlefair from her forthcoming debut collection Escape Room which will be published on National Poetry Day.
Escape Room is the long-awaited debut collection by Bryony Littlefair. This is a collection exploring the possibilities of freedom, goodness, meaning and connection under late capitalism. Can we escape the imperatives of money, gender and human fallibility to freely construct our own identities – should we even try This complexity is balanced with a resolute joy, humour and irony. If you’ve ever grappled with ‘a desire you could not understand / like wanting to touch dark, wet paint’, had an identity crisis at a corporate away day, or just not known what to do with your Sunday morning, the Escape Room is open for you.
Lightning Beneath the Seais the first collection of poems in English by Grahame Davies, featuring the work that he has honed over the years as he has read them at literary festivals, conferences and events world-wide. Well-known for his prize-winning Welsh-language poetry and fiction, and for his scholarly non-fiction, he brings a native warmth, an intimate, conversational tone, and a raised civic awareness to these poems.
This week’s Friday Poem is ‘[ search ]’ by Sammy Weaver from her pamphlet Angola, America which won this year’s Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize.
Angola, America, winner of the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2021, takes its name from a prison in Louisiana in the southern United Sates. In these strikingly original, thoroughly contemporary, and deeply moving poems, we are immersed in the world the inmates must endure. From the first poem, when we witness a home-made tattoo and understand that this scarring and incision is a “map in the connective tissue of pain and loss”, we are drawn into this world in a way that is carefully observed and beautifully empathetic.
This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Navigation Points’ by Emily Blewitt from her collection This Is Not A Rescue.
In This Is Not A Rescue we are introduced to a poet whose voice is fresh and striking, who writes both forcefully and tenderly about refusing to be rescued, rescuing oneself, and rescuing others. This book is about finding love and keeping it, negotiating difficult family and personal struggles, and looking at the world with a lively, intelligent and sardonic eye.
The Little Hours: New and Selected Poems is a landmark volume which collects key poems from the career of Hilary Llewellyn-Williams, one of the outstanding poets of her generation in Wales. In addition to the classic sequences ‘The Tree Calendar’ and ‘Book of Shadows’, the book also includes new work, including ‘The Little Hours’, a new sequence arranged according to the traditional monastic hours. Llewellyn-Williams is one of the earliest environmental poets; her response to nature always profound, passionate and keenly observed. The Little Hours will remind readers of her many strengths and beauties and shows new readers the breadth and talent of a writer whose eye for vivid imagery and startling detail has always astounded.
This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The Park in the Afternoon’ by Dai George from his collection Karaoke King.
Dai George’s confident second collection Karaoke King, addresses the contentious nature of the times. Always deeply thoughtful but also alternately ebullient, angry, curious, ashamed, the poet moves through urban and digital spaces feeling both uneasy and exhilarated. There is a feeling of history shifting, as a younger generation confronts its ethical obligations, its sense of complicity and disappointment. Ecological crisis hovers in the background. Karaoke King also contains numerous reflections on popular culture, culminating in ‘A History of Jamaican Music’, a sequence at the heart of the volume speaking to urgent contemporary questions of ownership and privilege, pain and celebration.
This week’s Friday Poem is taken from Witch by Damian Walford Davies. This continuous narrative poem conjures a thrilling portrait of a Suffolk village in the throes of the witchcraft hunts of the mid-seventeenth century.
With the narrative pull of a novel and the vibrancy of a play for voices, the poems in this collection are dark spells, compact and moving: seven sections, each of seven poems, each of seven couplets, are delivered by those most closely involved in the ‘making’ of a witch. The speakers authentically conjure a war-torn society in which religious paranoia amplifies local grievances to fever pitch. Damian Walford Davies’s Witch is a damning parable that chimes with the terror and anxieties of our own haunted age.
This week’s Friday Poem is the title poem ‘Still’ from Christopher Meredith’s collection of the same name. Christopher was recently interviewed by Nawr magazine about his poetry and fiction. You can read the issue online via their website.
Christopher Meredith’s new poetry collection Still, uses the title word as a fulcrum to balance various paradoxical concerns: stillness and motion, memory and forgetting, sanity and madness, survival and extinction. Lively and thought-provoking, this is a beautifully crafted, humane and intelligent collection.
“Lyrical, always surprising… His perfect ear tunes in so precisely” – Paul Henry