Friday Poem – ‘Telling the bees’, Katherine Stansfield

Friday Poem Telling the Bees Katherine Stansfield

This week our Friday Poem is a new work by Katherine Stansfield, ‘Telling the bees’.

‘Telling the bees’ is a touching memorial to Christian Brown OBE, co-founder of the Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival. The poem weaves together memories with the imagery of a garden in which ‘everything has bloomed’: a legacy of colour and life, conjured by Christian even after his passing.

Christian was the driving force behind the first Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival in 2018 and as we approach 2019’s festival we are reminded of his extraordinary energy and vision. Cornerstone’s Poet in Residence, Katherine Stansfield will be opening the festival alongside Kim Moore and Emily Blewitt in the Opening Buffet event: tickets available now. All That Was Wood, a pamphlet of poems written during Katherine’s residency, will be published to coincide with the festival.

 

Katherine Stansfield Telling the bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All That Was Wood will be available in February 2019 from our website, and at the Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival (8-10 February 2019).

 

 

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Friday Poem – ‘December’, Paul Deaton

Friday Poem December Paul Deaton

Our Friday Poem this week, as we enter the final month of 2018, is ‘December’ by Paul Deaton.

Paul Deaton A Watchful Astronomy‘December’ is taken from Paul Deaton’s Poetry Book Society-recommended debut, A Watchful Astronomy. Deaton is a realist and a formalist, preferring simple, accurate language and use of formal meter. This makes for unusually clear and accessible work. A powerful underlying current of emotion also drives these poems and is contained and restrained by the more austere formal qualities.

‘Each poem in this collection is like a little torchlight … I felt like it totally wrapped me up as a reader, and I really couldn’t put it down.’ – Jen Campbell

 

 

Friday Poem December Paul Deaton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Watchful Astronomy is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Clean’, Elizabeth Parker

Friday Poem Elizabeth Parker Clean

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Clean’ by Elizabeth Parker, from her debut collection, In Her Shambles.

Parker’s first full collection of poems, In Her Shambles, showcases her style with poems that are verb-rich, observational and uncanny portraits of things-seen-aslant.
‘Clean’ is no different: this frank portrait of a house post-breakup gives us dead insects ‘like crossed cutlery’ and ‘dark sediment’ on areas now untouched and unfamiliar. Instead of well-worn clichés we measure the speaker’s sorrow through the odd and unexpected mementos that remain – ‘scents’, ‘dust’ and ‘that sticky shape on the radiator’.

You can catch Elizabeth Parker reading alongside fellow ‘Spoke’ poets Claire Williamson, Robert Walton and Paul Deaton at Spike Island Café-bar, Tuesday 4 December.

 

 

Friday Poem Clean Elizabeth Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Her Shambles is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

Friday Poem – ‘Reader’, Robert Walton

Friday Poem Reader Robert Walton

It’s a dark day – some might say black – and so our Friday Poem is one that celebrates the simple joys of reading and speech. We hope you find the time to experience them for yourself today.

‘Reader’ by Robert Walton is taken from his latest collection, Sax Burglar Blues. This jazzed-up book is ripe with complexity and wit, its subjects ranging from the insectoid ‘Man with a Double Bass on His Back’ to a canary with high political ambitions and a dock-dwelling crocodile. The poems demonstrate the artful, expansive range of this newly-revived author.

Sax Burglar Blues is half price until midnight this Sunday, as part of our celebration of books with black covers. We have a great selection of books included – have a browse on our Black Books page.

 

Friday Poem Robert Walton Reader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sax Burglar Blues is available from the Seren website, half price until midnight, Sunday 25 November: £9.99  £4.99

See all the half price books in our Black Books Friday promotion here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘The Post Box in the Wall’, Judy Brown

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Post Box in the Wall’ from Crowd Sensations by Judy Brown.

Elterwater Rain Crowd Sensations Judy BrownCrowd Sensations is Judy’s latest collection, and was shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize. Judy is a poet of dazzling contrasts, of thoughtful paradox, intimate confidences and precise evocations. Her titles and first lines both draw you right into a poem and then quite often surprise you with a narrative that you hadn’t quite expected. This is true of ‘The Post Box in the Wall’, which takes this mundane object and paints it as ‘absolution’, as ‘that mouth’, as a place to deposit snakes and curses.
Hear Judy talk to Julia Copus about changing career from lawyer to poet, writers’ residencies, and how certain places can live on in the mind long after they’ve been left in this interview, newly released on the Royal Literary Fund website.

 

Judy Brown The Post Box in the Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crowd Sensations is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘How Women Are Not The Same’, Rhiannon Hooson

Friday Poem Women Rhiannon Hooson

Our Friday Poem this week is Rhiannon Hooson’s ‘How Women Are Not The Same’, from her debut poetry collection, The Other City.

The Other City Rhiannon Hooson‘Hooson’s style is thoughtful, questioning, reflective, and consistently restrained. Her collection gives the impression of having come together over a long period, with each piece earning its place’ Orbis

The Other City offers us elegant, artful verse of precision and insight. This is a poet that can re-imagine scenes from Greek myth, from Welsh history, and make them as urgent and compelling as her poems about personal relationships. ‘How Women Are Not The Same’ is one such personal poem – in which memories are conjured, and intimacies wound tight around strands of hair.

 

Rhiannon Hooson poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other City is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Marilyn’s Auction House’, Nerys Williams

Friday Poem Marilyn's Auction House Nerys Williams

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Marilyn’s Auction House’ by Nerys Williams, from her collection Sound Archive

Nerys Williams Sound ArchiveSound Archive is Williams’ strikingly original first collection, in which she conjures complex music, intriguing narratives, and poems full of atmosphere that query identity, gender, and the dream of art as a vehicle for emotion and meaning.
In ‘Marilyn’s Auction House’ we join the speaker and her partner as they’re ‘queuing for relics’, thumbing through the brochure for an auction of Marilyn Monroe’s belongings. The poem laces together the mythologised symbols of Marilyn’s image with modern desires and needs.
If you would like to discover more of Nerys Williams’ poetry, you can find several of her new poems in the new issue of Poetry Wales Magazine.

 

 

Nerys Williams Friday Poem Marilyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Archive is available from the Seren website: £8.99

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

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Gen’ by Jonathan Edwards

Friday Poem Gen Jonathan Edwards

Costa Award-winner Jonathan Edwards is gifting us a splendid second collection, Gen, which arrives next week. Our Friday Poem today is the title poem from this new book.

You can catch Jonathan at Poetry in Aldeburgh on Sunday 4 November, 11:30am, where he will be reading some of his new poetry. Tickets available here.

Jonathan Edwards GenGen is a book of lions and rock stars, street parties and servants, postmen and voices. In the opening sequence’s exploration of youth and young manhood, the author sets his own Valleys upbringing against the ’50s youth of his parents and the experience of a range of pop culture icons, including Kurt Cobain and Harry Houdini. These poems give way to a sequence of monologues and character sketches, giving us the lives of crocodiles and food testers, pianists and retail park trees. Other poems place a Valleys village and the characters who live in it alongside explorations of Welsh history and prehistory, and the collection concludes with a selection of sometimes witty, sometimes heartfelt love poems. All in all, Gen is a superb follow-up to Edwards’ debut, My Family and Other Superheroes, which won the Costa Poetry Award in 2014.

 

Gen Jonathan Edwards Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gen is available to pre-order from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

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.

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