Friday Poems – ‘Harp/Telyn’ by Philip Gross and ‘Telyn’ by Cyril Jones

This week’s Friday Poems are ‘Harp/Telyn’ by Philip Gross and ‘Telyn’ by Cyril Jones from their new bilingual collection Troeon : Turnings. The book also features letterpress designs by the artist Valerie Coffin Price.

To turn, to dig, to plough, to upset, to translate… Bend, lap, journey, time… The Welsh word troeon unfolds meaning after meaning. In Troeon : Turnings, two poets confident in their own traditions meet in the hinterland between translation and collaboration – Cyril Jones from the disciplines of Welsh cynghanedd, Philip Gross from the restless variety of English verse.

Troeon : Turnings is available on the Seren website: £12.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Friday Poems – ‘Penny’ and ‘Glasffrwd’ from TROEON : TURNINGS

This week we have two Friday Poems from TROEON : TURNINGS, the new bilingual collaboration between poets Philip Gross and Cyril Jones and artist Valerie Coffin Price. ‘Penny’ by Philip Gross and ‘Glasffrwd’ by Cyril Jones.

To turn, to dig, to plough, to upset, to translate… Bend, lap, journey, time… The Welsh word troeon unfolds meaning after meaning. In TROEON : TURNINGS, two poets confident in their own traditions meet in the hinterland between translation and collaboration – Cyril Jones from the disciplines of Welsh cynghanedd, Philip Gross from the restless variety of English verse.

TROEON : TURNINGS is available on the Seren website £12.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Friday Poem – Fold The River by Philip Gross

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Fold The River’ by Philip Gross from A Fold in the River.

A Fold in the River is the fruit of collaboration between T.S. Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross and the visual artist Valerie Coffin Price. Philip Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff in Wales and his journals are the source for the powerful poems. Valerie Coffin Price revisited the walking route along the river and evolved the beautiful prints and drawings that accompany the poems.

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

Struggling to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for family member? Browse our Christmas Gift Guide for inspiration. Don’t forget there’s 20% off on the Seren website when you sign up to our bookclub.

Five Poems for Earth Day 2020

Today, Earth Day is marking its 50th anniversary. To celebrate, we’re sharing five poems from Seren authors who are writing about the natural world. Find out more about Earth Day and it’s aims here.

‘Prairie’ by Carrie Etter from The Weather in Normal

 

‘Beech’ by Ross Cogan from Bragr

 

‘Rabbit in morning’ by Polly Atkin from Basic Nest Architecture

 

‘Translating Tree’ by Philip Gross

 

‘Biophilia’ by Jane Lovell from This Tilting Earth

Find these and many more great books Seren website. Get 20% off when you sign up to be a member of our book club.

Other titles for Earth Day 2020:

Wild Places UK by Iolo Williams, £19.99

Television naturalist Iolo Williams picks his favourite 40 wildlife sites from the many nature reserves around the country.. From Hermaness on Shetland to the London Wetland Centre, from Dungeness in Kent to Loch Neagh, Williams criss-crosses the country. Lavishly illustrated, author and book aim to introduce a new audience to the delights of the UK.

Blood Rain by André Mangeot, £9.99

Resonant, complex, rich in heft and texture, these are mature poems that grapple with serious themes. Beautifully crafted, and partly inspired by his love of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, they address the natural world, its endangerment and other pressing global issues from multiple perspectives, and with great lyrical power.

‘A thought-provoking book for turbulent times.’
– Matthew Caley

Once by Andrew McNeillie, £9.99

Once is the journey from boyhood to the threshold of manhood of poet Andrew McNeillie. From an aeroplane crossing north Wales the writer looks down on the countryside of his childhood and recalls an almost fabulous world now lost to him. Ordinary daily life and education in Llandudno shortly after the war are set against an extraordinary life lived close to nature. Continually crossing the border between town and country McNeillie relives his life in nature during a period of increasing urbanisation.

The Shaking City by Cath Drake, £9.99

The shaking city of Australian poet Cath Drake’s debut poetry collection is a metaphor for the swiftly changing precarity of modern life within the looming climate and ecological emergency, and the unease of the narrator who is far from home. Tall tales combine with a conversational style, playful humour and a lyrical assurance.​ The poet works a wide set of diverse spells upon the reader through her adept use of tone, technique, plot and form. She is a welcome new voice for contemporary poetry.

Happy National Poetry Day! – Philip Gross Shares his Poetry Advice

Today is National Poetry Day, which means there are events happening up and down the country celebrating poetry. Not only that, but this year it is National Poetry Day’s 25th Anniversary. We’re joining in the fun by sharing some thoughts and advice from our poets, starting with  Philip Gross. Keep your eyes on the blog over the next few weeks for more interviews like this one. Why limit the sharing to just one day?

What first drew you to poetry?

Words that snagged in my head and kept on echoing, even though I didn’t understand them, in the normal sense.

Where do you look to for inspiration?

The page, the pen, the act of doing it.

What poets or writers inspire you?

Inspire? Not sure that is a useful word for me. But lots of writers – WS Graham, Louise Gluck, Paul Celan, to name a few quite different ones – remind me of the size and scope, the sheer possibility, of the space of poetry.

What does poetry mean to you?

Words in a conversation with, sometimes dancing with, silence.

How do you balance writing poetry with working? If you write full time, what made you decide to do so?

If I’d been a novelist (as opposed to a poet who has sometimes written novels) I might have needed to write full time. As a poet, I seem to need the back and forth, the constant friction, with the world and people. True, a lot of my work has been to do with writing. But it has been the human content I most needed. That and a living wage, of course.

Do you have a writing routine? What is it?

Always have a notebook with me. Be on standby. Grab the moments when they jump up, and I can. That doesn’t sound much like ‘routine’, does it? But it is a kind of discipline.

How do you prepare yourself before sitting down to write?

Far from ‘preparing myself’, catching myself off guard is a good way to start.

What advice would you give to poets looking to get their work published?

Send work to places that publish things you really want to read. And don’t see publication as an end in itself. It’s a means to an end – discovering a space or spaces where your work will be heard, where some people will ‘get’ you. That isn’t the same as praise (though, let’s be honest, praise feels nice. In moderation.)

Is it important to build a reputation by submitting to competitions, magazines and journals?

Yes, unless you’re a performer mainly, in person or through the media. (Including social media…? I know I shouldn’t judge them on their tendency to creepy clannishness and opinioneering, the ruthless celebrity, and the breeding of trolls. I want to see an online poetry world, with publication and performance spaces, new multi-artform opportunities and interactivity with readers, that will prove my misgivings wrong.)

Do you have any tips for submitting poems to publishers or magazines?

Know the magazine or publisher and its culture, so you don’t come at it like a cold call. Do your homework. Many editors have strong aesthetic preferences and opinions, and have ways to make them known. Don’t be obsequious or chummy in your approach. And remember that the way to book publishing tends to be through building a track record of some kind.

What methods do you use to overcome feeling disheartened or to keep positive?

When flattered by success, as much as when dejected by rejection, keep asking: If I was on a desert island, with no way to write except on sand the tide will sweep clean… what would I still write, then?

Do you have any other advice for fellow poets?

We are different. We are meant to be different. Celebrate that. Don’t critique in ways that really mean ‘Well, if I were you, I would…’

There are so many of us, relative to the number of readers, let alone buyers, of poetry. See it as your job to bring new readers in to reading poetry of all kinds… not only your own or your friends’.

 

Philip’s collection A Fold in the River is available on the Seren website: £12.99

A Fold in the River is the fruit of collaboration between T.S. Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross and the visual artist Valerie Coffin Price. Philip Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff in Wales and his journals are the source for the powerful poems. Valerie Coffin Price revisited the walking route along the river and evolved the beautiful prints and drawings that accompany them.

 

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.

 

 

Seren at Crickhowell Literary Festival

Wales will see the return of the Crickhowell Literary Festival this month, and this year several of our authors are taking part!

Francesca Rhydderch, author of the 2014 Wales Book of the Year The Rice Paper Diaries and co-editor of New Welsh Short Stories, will be in conversation with Oliver Balch, reading from her work and answering any questions from the audience. She will also be leading a Fiction Writing Masterclass!

Poet and novelist Christopher Meredith will be at the festival for an evening of reading and discussion, and several of our other poets will also be reading from their work. Paul Henry and Philip Gross will be reading poems from Boy Running and A Fold in the River inspired by the rivers Usk and Taff, and Anne-Marie Fyfe will be reading from her latest collection, House of Small Absences, while Costa Award-winner Jonathan Edwards will be reading from his own work.

Whether it’s poetry or prose that mosts interests you, there’s something for everyone at Crickhowell this year. Find out more about all of our upcoming events on our website!

Seren at The Hay Festival

hayfestlogo

Today marks the beginning of The Hay Festival 2015, and this year there are plenty of events involving some of our very own authors.

my_family_and_other_superheroes_covercosta_quicksand coverPaul Henry and Jonathan Edwards will be reading from their latest collections, Boy Running and the Costa Poetry Prize-winning My Family and Other Superheroes respectively. If you’re a fan of poetry, T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Philip Gross and visual artist Valerie Coffin Price will also be discussing their collaborative collection, A Fold in the River, and Damian Walford Davies will be discussing and reading from his latest collection, Judas.

We’re alAlun Lewis 72so going to be celebrating the centenary of Alun Lewis at Hay this year, with two events dedicated to the WW2 writer. Juliet Aykroyd, Owen Sheers and John Pikoulis will be discussing Lewis’s time in India, in particular how he met and fell in love with Juliet’s mother, Freda Aykroyd, while Owen Sheers reads some of his poems.

Another event will see Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, do a close reading and discussion of Lewis’s poems.

Losing_Israelcmyk300Our prose is also getting some attention at Hay this year. Jasmine Donahaye will be talking to Francesca Rhydderch, author of the 2014 Wales Book of the Year The Rice Paper Diaries and co-editor of New Welsh Short Stories, about her upcoming memoir, Losing Israel, a moving and honest account of nature writing, travel writing and family history exploring the displacement of Palestinians in 1948.

For those of you who are fiction lovers, Tiffany Murray will be doing a late-night reading from her acclaimed ghost story, Sugar Hall, where she will be joined by David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and the upcoming Slade House.

With so much to see this year at Hay, you’d be a fool to miss out! Buy your tickets online at www.hayfestival.com, or check out our Events Page for more information.

Recommended Reads this Easter!

There’s no denying that Christmas is a fantastically fun time of year, but a lot of stress, tears and an inordinate amount of planning goes into it – just 1 day out of 365 – meaning we barely get a chance to acknowledge it until the day’s over and done with, and we have to spend January living off what seems like an endless supply of turkey sandwiches.

Easter is a much more mellow holiday; a chance to enjoy a long weekend with a pile of chocolate and celebrate that spring has arrived at last! What better way to spend a weekend like that than with a good book?

judas cover rgbDamian Walford Davies’ latest collection, Judas, is a perfect read for this time of year. No matter your opinion of Judas, we guarantee this collection will both fascinate and horrify you, and by the end of it you may find your perception of the most famous traitor has changed. Check out our interview with Damian here!

If you’d prefer to take a step back from the religious elements of the holiday, perhaps Philip Gross aA Fold in the River_Layout 1nd Valerie Coffin Price’s A Fold in the River would be more to your taste. The arrival of spring brings out the green fingers in everyone, and with their marriage of poetry and paintings dedicated to the landscape around the River Taff this collection is an evocative tribute to our natural world.

Perhaps youseren_-_the_advantages_of_an_older_man‘d prefer to read prose, and if you’re in the mood for something fun and quick to enjoy over the weekend then why not read Gwyneth Lewis’s Advantages of the Older Man? In this light-hearted novella a young Swansea woman finds herself possessed by the restless spirit of Dylan Thomas, who is in the middle of a mid-afterlife crisis himself.

Sugar Hall by Tiffany Murray. £8.99Sugar Hall is the ideal read for you if you’re in the mood for something a little spookier this Easter. Set during the Easter of 1955 on the edge of the English/Welsh border as Britain prepares for its last hanging, Tiffany Murray’s chilling ghost story is inspired by the tales of the slave boy that surround Littledean Hall in Gloucestershire.

You can find all of these books, and many more, on our website. From all of us at Seren, we hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Friday Poem – Fireweed

Today’s poem – and painting! – is from A Fold in the River by Philip Gross and Valerie Coffin Price, due to be released at the end of the month.

A Fold in the River is the fruit of collaboration between T.S. Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross and the visual artist Valerie Coffin Price. Philip Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff in Wales and his journals are the source for the powerful poems. Valerie Price revisited the walking route along the river and evolved the beautiful prints and drawings that accompany the poems.

p66-7 Tipsy Pinkrgb

Fireweed

a tipsy pink, a night out
on the palette – mixing

Bloody Marys, lipstick,
a hint of the flare-up to come

*

as kids we played on bombsites,
the badlands of railway lines,

untimely places – back then
there was no such thing as waste

*

always first on the scene,
a bit too soon, after disasters

see us in the background
of the newsreel, inappropriately
dressed

*

one day, all this will be wisps
of white, of seed like grown smoke

forgetting ourselves into the future
wildly, willy-nilly, with a will

Pre-order A Fold in the River from our website.