Brexit’s Hard Hit Neighbours


Originally published in Welsh in O’r Pedwar Gwynt (Dec 2018)   Arriving at my final destination, I am slightly disoriented. I am travelling from Dublin to a work meeting in Northern Ireland. I have changed my train at Belfast and have caught another train to Coleraine. This is the furthest north I have travelled since living in the Irish Republic. Initially, I am greeted by friendly signs advertising the Bushmills whiskey distillery. There is also a North Coast Guided Tour for Game of Thrones departing from Coleraine’s Railway Place. During this short visit, I am reminded, by the loud conversations of a film unit during my motel breakfast, how important the success… Read More →

UTERUS/ Walking in Her Shoes: The Eighth Amendment Repealed


First Published in Welsh in O’r Pedwar Gwynt 30th May 2018 With thanks to editor Sioned Puw Reynolds  and Angharad Penrhyn-Jones     We are walking behind a giant uterus. The uterus is made out of pink fluffy material. There are two feet visible underneath. Two wooden poles prop the most magnificent fallopian tubes and ovaries I have ever seen. As we speed up, one ovary keeps on bouncing off my daughter’s head. ‘What is that?’ she asks pointing above  ‘Those are called fallopian tubes’  I  answer, giving her a very elementary lesson in biology. People around us smile, they can hear the biological terminology in the midst of our… Read More →

Memoir of a virtual community in the 1980s (or, being a young woman into Welsh language music)


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN WELSH  IN  O’R PEDWAR GWYNT FOR WELSH MUSIC DAY (FEB 9TH 2018) WITH MANY  THANKS TO EDITOR (s)  SIONED PUW ROWLANDS AND ANGHARAD PENRHYN JONES (and all bands concerned).   Writing in the sixties, American poet Frank O’Hara playfully encouraged the ‘Mothers of America’ to send their kids to the movies. He reasoned that doing so meant they would not get stuck in their room ‘hating you prematurely since you won’t have done anything horribly mean yet’ (Ave Maria) . If O’Hara had lived to see the 1980s, and been Welsh speaking, these lines might have been updated to: ‘Mamau Cymru plis gadewch i’ch merched fynd i gigs Cymdeithas… Read More →

At Passa Porta, Brussels with Hedd Wyn and Francis Ledwidge


Originally Published as Blog for Poetry of Loss / Barddoniaeth Colled, Llenyddiaeth Colled (Literature Wales) May 2017 Arriving at Passa Porta, near Place de La Bourse in Brussels, Nathalie, the centre’s coordinator, shows me round the apartment. This is after helping me with luggage up a winding banister. The suitcase contains some of the heavy library that I felt was necessary to the writing project. Here is a desk in the study bedroom. This is yours. The apartment – which includes an adjunct office space and meeting rooms for Passa Porta- offers the wonderful height of the 19th Century building. It is through those huge windows of the meeting room,… Read More →

Review of Sound Archive: Poetry Ireland 108 (Dec. 2012) by Richard Hayes


Review: A STACK OF PICTURES, CHOOSE YOUR SURVIVORS Reviewed Work(s): Notes Towards a Love Song by Aidan Hayes; Sound Archive by Nerys Williams; When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things by Grace Wells; The Cotard Dimension by Macdara Woods; When Love is Not Enough: New and Selected Poems by Maurice Harmon; Legend of the Walled-up Wife by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Ileana Mǎlǎncioiu Review by: Richard Hayes Source: The Poetry Ireland Review, No. 108 (December 2012), pp. 16-24  

Michael Palmer: Recovering a Constellation of Voices


Michael Palmer: Recovering a Constellation of Voices   Originally Published in Poetry Wales (2003) To recover the telling, the human, we must unwind the tale, unbind the tale, the present seems to say. And to recover meaning, we must resist its simulacra, cajolings and screens. We must allow the voice- the work- its plurality, its silences, its infinite, pleated body .-Michael Palmer [1]   Can we consider poetry as an act of recovery and the simultaneous ‘unbinding’ of a tale? For the American poet, Michael Palmer, these two apparently conflicting possibilities become mutually dependent strategies. Palmer’s comment proposes that compositional techniques must always be given an alert if not sceptical… Read More →

GWYNETH LEWIS: Blasphemy, taboo and testing bilingualism

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GWYNETH LEWIS: Blasphemy, taboo and testing bilingualism. Published in Poetry Wales 2003    How does a language die? What is the premonitory that leads to that death and who is culpable? Forget momentarily the well-intentioned optimism of draft legislatures and bilingual mandates. Gwyneth Lewis gives the reader an incisive imagining of the final scene with her epitaph in ‘Welsh Espionage': This how languages die- the tongue forgetting what it knew by heart, the young not understanding what, by rights, they should. And vital intelligence is gone for good.     If only our representatives read more poetry. That phrase ‘vital intelligence’ strikes a nerve. Not intellect, or knowledge but intelligence… Read More →