Friday Poem – ‘Song a Year after My Mother’s Death’, Carrie Etter

Friday Poem Carrie Etter Song a Year after My Mother's Death

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Song a Year after My Mother’s Death’, from Carrie Etter’s recently published collection, The Weather in Normal.

Carrie Etter The Weather in NormalEtter’s fourth poetry collection, The Weather in Normal is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Its focus is Etter’s hometown of Normal, Illinois, lamenting its loss through the death of her parents, the sale of the family home, and the effects of climate change on Illinois’ landscape and lives.

‘Song a Year after My Mother’s Death’ first appeared in Poetry Review.

 

 

Carrie Etter Song Mother's Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weather in Normal is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Countrywoman’, Katrina Naomi

Our Friday Poem this week is Katrina Naomi’s ‘Countrywoman’, which was released yesterday, having been specially commissioned for National Poetry Day.

Katrina Naomi poetKatrina Naomi is the author of three poetry pamphlets and two full collections. Her latest is The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Seren, 2016). Her next collection will be published by Seren in 2020, and is supported by a 2018 Authors’ Foundation grant from the Society of Authors.

The poem ‘Countrywoman’ was commissioned by BBC local radio, working in partnership with National Poetry Day. It is written in response to a BBC Radio Cornwall listener’s story. A video of Katrina reading the poem was broadcast on BBC Spotlight, and the film is available to view on Katrina’s website.

 

Friday Poem Countrywoman Katrina Naomi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more about Katrina Naomi on the Seren website.

 

 

 

National Poetry Day 2018: poem videos & events

National Poetry Day poems

We’re in the habit of celebrating poetry all throughout the year but to our delight, it’s National Poetry Day today – and that means there are loads of excellent events taking place, and creativity bursting out of every corner.

The good people behind the National Poetry Day campaign have recommended 36 amazing books for people of all ages to enjoy – and we’re thrilled to say that Seren poets Claire Williamson and Paul Deaton both feature on the list. As a treat today, we’ve filmed Claire and Paul reading a poem from their collections.

Claire Williamson, ‘My brother and mother as horses’

Visiting the Minotaur Claire Williamson

‘My Brother and Mother as Horses’ is taken from Visiting the Minotaur, published earlier this year.

In Visiting the Minotaur, the poet must enter a labyrinth of her own complicated family history, a history beset with secrets and lies, in order to come to terms with her own identity.  She borrows from myths, histories, careful observations of nature, of city life, fashioning her artful meditations on experience and mortality.

Paul Deaton, ‘That Bang’

Paul Deaton A Watchful Astronomy‘That Bang’ was Highly Commended by the Forward Prize judges and features in the Forward Book of Poetry 2019. The poem is taken from Paul’s debut, A Watchful Astronomy.

A Watchful Astronomy is full of poems that are artfully formal, quietly precise, yet full of powerful emotion. A father ‘like a wounded bear’ haunts much of this book, yet nature is a guiding presence and the poet’s gaze turns often to the skies: to wildlife, the weathers and the stars, in powerful reflective pieces.

 

National Poetry Day events: what’s on?
There are over 100 events happening all over the UK today, so why not have a browse of the National Poetry Day events map and see what’s happening near you?

National Poetry Day events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local to Cardiff? Come along to October’s First Thursday event tonight which (as luck would have it) coincides with the National Poetry Day celebrations. Poet Marianne Burton and novelist David Llewellyn will read from their new books, guest poets Chad Norman and Emily Blewitt will treat us to a couple of poems, and then everyone will be invited to share a poem or piece of prose in the open mic.

Another Seren poet will also be hosting a National Poetry Day celebration – join Carrie Etter in the Chichester library for an evening event with wine, live music and open mic poetry.

 

Wherever you find yourself today, and whatever you decide to do with your time, we hope you feel inspired and enriched by poetry, new and old. Happy National Poetry Day.

dead poets society poetry GIF

 

Friday Poem – ‘The longing of the bees’, Siobhán Campbell

Friday Poem The Longing of the bees

Our Friday Poem this week is Siobhán Campbell’s ‘The longing of the bees’ from her most recent collection, Heat Signature.

Heat Signature Siobhan Campbell‘The longing of the bees’ is a boisterous and artful study of these small and essential insects, without which, the poet warns, ‘nothing is fertile’.
In Heat Signature we often find that the natural world is full of portents and warnings – here, the incipient violence of the swarm is detected, a force that seems unamenable to censure or even warning. Throughout the collection there is a blend of dark comedy, tragedy and politics – and this is entirely typical of Campbell’s complex, thoughtful and profoundly entertaining poetry.

 

 

Siobhan Campbell Friday Poem The longing of the bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat signature is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Summer’, Catherine Fisher

The weather has suddenly taken a cold turn in our corner of the world, so to remember this year’s hot months our Friday Poem this week is ‘Summer’ by Catherine Fisher, from her collection The Unexplored Ocean

Screenshot 2017-09-05 14.45.38‘She writes imaginatively, bringing dead things to life, boldly placing them in the present world.’
Planet

This beautiful collection mixes vivid poems about the Welsh landscape —such as ‘The Four Seasons’ which this poem is part of— with historical monologues like ‘Incident at Conwy’, and scenes from myth like ‘Merlin on Ynys Enlli’.

 

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The Unexplored Ocean is available from the Seren website: £5.95

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Friday Poem – ‘Extremities’, Claire Williamson

Tonight Claire Williamson will be reading alongside fellow Seren poets Elizabeth Parker and Ross Cogan, and three Parthian poets, for Cardiff Book Festival’s Friday Night Poetry Party. In anticipation, our Friday Poem is ‘Extremities’ from Claire’s recently published collection, Visiting the Minotaur.

Visiting the Minotaur Claire Williamson‘Claire Williamson’s poems are beguiling hybrids – self-assured yet emotionally raw, mysterious yet not precious, meditations of wonder and exorcisms of grief.’
– Michel Faber

In Visiting the Minotaur, Williamson’s inventive and intensely felt collection, the poet must enter a labyrinth of her own complicated family history, a history beset with secrets and lies, in order to come to terms with her own identity.  She borrows from myths, histories, careful observations of nature, of city life, in order to fashion her artful meditations on experience and mortality.

 

Claire Williamson Friday Poem Extremities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting the Minotaur is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Letter to my Mother’, Katrina Naomi

Friday Poem Letter to my Mother Katrina Naomi

We are thrilled that the Society of Authors has just awarded Katrina Naomi an Author’s Foundation grant to help complete work for her second Seren collection, due in 2020. In celebration, our Friday Poem this week is taken from Katrina’s previous book, The Way the Crocodile Taught Me, which we published in 2016.

The Way the Crocodile Taught Me Katrina Naomi‘Letter to my Mother’ is ripe with anger, sorrow and the burden of time. It is not just the weight of years though, but the physical mass of the speaker’s stepfather that dominates, despite his long-ago death: ‘All these years, his 17 stones/ pressing down on you’.
The poems in The Way the Crocodile Taught Me often confront difficult figures and past trauma with a tragi-comic slant, resulting in intense and intimate portraits that are at once heartbreaking and hilarious. We often find, as in ‘Letters to my Mother’, that interspersed with the awful,  there are moments of contemplation, redemption, realisation.

 

 

Friday Poem Letter to my Mother Katrina Naomi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Way the Crocodile Taught Me is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Claim 20% off every book you buy from us when you create a free Seren account.

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Red Road Flats’, Caroline Smith

Friday Poem Red Road Flats Caroline Smith

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Red Road Flats’, from Caroline Smith’s poignant and hard-hitting collection, The Immigration Handbook, in which the poems are carefully crafted tributes to the gut-wrenching stories Smith hears every day in her work as an Immigration Caseworker.

The Immigration Handbook Caroline SmithThis poem is based on a true story of a family who committed suicide following the refusal of their asylum claim. Before being ‘dispersed’ to Glasgow by the Home Office, they lived in Wembley and the father regularly came to our immigration surgery for help. I can see him pacing by the window in a worn, grey suit with a big brief case held against his chest, constantly checking the window for someone following him. He once pointed to a white delivery van outside the building: certain there was a satellite tracking dish inside. He brought with him an envelope of white powder he claimed he’d been sent. We had it tested through the House of Commons security – it was harmless.

After their deaths, I read back through the letters and glimpsed the terror of the world he had created and believed he was trapped in; where he could no longer trust appearance as reality, where the known world is not what it appears to be. A world where truth was constructed to harm him. Welcome to the Home Office.
Caroline Smith

 

Caroline Smith Friday Poem Red Road Flats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Immigration Handbook is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Claim 20% off every book you buy from us when you create a free Seren account.

 

Friday Poem – ‘Roots’, Lynne Hjelmgaard

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Roots’ by Lynne Hjelmgaard, from her collection A Boat Called Annalise.

A Boat Called Annalise Lynne Hjelmgaard‘A Boat Called Annalise is a triumphant collection of poetry, marking a new embarkation for Hjelmgaard as a poet. It’s a collection which can be read time and time again, and will especially be appreciated by readers looking for new beginnings, those experiencing life’s traumas and working through the healing process called grief.’ Wales Arts Review
Lynne Hjelmgaard’s most recent collection, A Boat Called Annalise vividly recalls a sailboat journey, as well as a journey through marriage, and ultimately grief. ‘Roots’ is one of the movingly elegiac poems in the final section, in which the poet reflects on mortality and happiness. Her work is full of sentiment without being sentimental.

 

Roots Friday Poem Lynne Hjelmgaard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Enjoy 20% off every book you buy from us when you create a free Seren account.

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Return to Cardiff’, Dannie Abse

Dannie Abse Return to Cardiff

The National Eisteddfod is coming to Cardiff, and with just a few hours to go, we couldn’t think of a better Friday Poem to feature than Dannie Abse’s ‘Return to Cardiff’.

Wales, and Cardiff in particular, haunted the imagination of the great Dannie Abse. In Welsh Retrospective he writes movingly about the Cardiff of his childhood, home of his beloved Bluebirds football team, and also about the small village of Ogmore-by-Sea, location of early holidays and for many years his home in Wales. Selected from the whole of Dannie Abse’s writing career, the book includes such well known and well-loved poems as ’In the Theatre’ and our featured poem today, ’Return to Cardiff’, alongside many previously uncollected poems. Welsh Retrospective gives fascinating insights into Dannie Abse’s Wales and his versatility as a poet.

 

Friday Poem Return to Cardiff Dannie Abse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to Dannie Abse performing this remarkable poem at Seren’s First Thursday event, December 2009:

 

Welsh Retrospective is available from the Seren website: £8.99

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