I was delighted to read from my poetry collection at arts space, The Green Room above Sustainable Wales’s colourful, intriguing shop, SUSSED Wales. This is an ethical community co-operative selling fair trade local and international goods in James Street, Porthcawl. Commitment to a just food policy is a major focus. What better time than the start of
As soon as I learned about Poetry as Commemoration I wanted to write something for it.
2022-2023 marks the centenary of one of the most challenging periods in Irish history including the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the establishment of the Free State and the ensuing Civil War. As we embark on this difficult phase of the Decade of Centenaries, Poetry as Commemoration invites communities to turn to poetry as a mode of understanding and expression.
It is an all-island initiative, organised by the Irish Poetry Reading Archive at University College Dublin and the Irish Government’s Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
I’m a big fan of initiatives that connect people and enable sharing so I was very pleased to be interviewed by Carys Bradley-Roberts of Creative Cardiff.
Creative Cardiff is a network which connects people working in any creative organisation, business or job in the Cardiff region. By encouraging people to work together we believe that we can make Cardiff the most creative place it can be.
Creative Firsts puts the spotlight on people’s first ventures into creativity in a particular field. My Creative First has been moving from film and TV into the world of books via Sanctuary: There Must Be Somewhere my poetry collection, and my short story collection A City Burning. I had a lot to learn.
I was delighted to be invited by Alan Roderick to read at The Murenger pub in Newport’s High Street. The name is memorable. The original murenger collected taxes that maintained the city’s defences in the medieval period. This monthly gathering is one of the most popular gigs for writers in south Wales and, of course, to add to its fame there is Jon Gower’s short story collection, The Murenger .
It is wonderful to be among people who really love writing. There’s no mistaking the genuine commitment to the written word. In the Open Mic session we heard from regulars and a newcomer. The audience was attentive and responsive. and Alan Roderick is a generous and arm host. He gave me a copy of his poetry colleciton, ‘After You’d Gone’. At the station on my way home, I was engrossed in it and missed my train! Apart from that, what more could a writer want?
Liam Logan interviewed me for a programme in his 8-part series on Ulster-Scots writing, ‘A MIGHTY MALLET’ made by Belfast cable channel Northern Visions (NVTV).
The series showcases the work of the Rhyming Weavers or Weaver Poets, working-class writers of the late 18th and early 19th century in the north of Ireland, who wrote in their vernacular and were influenced by Robert Burns. The programmes feature the work of James Orr, Samuel Thompson, Hugh Porter and John McKinley, David Herbison and Sarah Leech from Co Donegal, the only known female Irish weaver poet.
Liam Logan has added three contemporary writers in Ulster-Scots: Angeline King, Gary Morgan and myself.
The half-hour documentary on my work can be viewed here:
It was a great pleasure to be awarded an Honorary Life Fellowship by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. The citation reads:
For supporting our shared objective of a strong, confident democracy in Wales by chairing and leading our media policy work to foster robust debate in Welsh society, laying the groundwork for our current citizen-centred media and democracy work.
It was a great pleasure to have my three-poem sequence The Magi Remember published online by The Lonely Crowd. I also had the opportunity to write an introductory article to the poems, Dreams and Realities.
A strand in this is about the work of a Cardiff-based charity, The Birth Partner Project which provides volunteer virth partners to suppot women seeking sanctuary who would otherwise face pregnancy, birth and early motherhood alone.