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

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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

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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 →

Poem: Faiyum Fetishist

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Faiyum Fetishist                                       Published in The Stony Thursday Book (2014)* Manchester Museum   I own this space whispers the Faiyum portrait above his exoskeleton.   Although he fails to blink, his hands tap a tune.   So ungenerous, so ungenerous the melody goes.   Tagged in a glass cabinet with other gods: God of Taxonomy, God of Embalming.   My nasal cavity bears little resemblance to this face, a rattle in a husk.   Held together with bandage and plaster harnessed to a figure of humanity.   Encaustic, faced into feeling bright-eyed serious boy.   Let me marry you this instant.    

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

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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

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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 →