Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Gelynion: Kate North & Katrin Lloyd

Katrin Selina Lloyd and Kate North perform their Oulipo games collaboration at Gelynion – Enemies Newport in May 2015. The poems are published in the Winter issue of Poetry Wales.

Gelynion: Ifor Ap Glyn & Ghazal Mosadeq

Ghazal Mosadeq and Ifor Ap Glyn perform their Welsh and Azeri (mis)translations at Gelynion – Enemies Bangor. These poems are published in the Winter issue of Poetry Wales.

Gelynion: Joe Dunthorne & Zoë Skoulding

Joe Dunthorne and Zoë Skoulding perform their collaboration at Gelynion – Enemies Aberystwyth in May 2015. Their poem after Louis Auguste Blanqi is published in the Winter issue of Poetry Wales.

Gelynion: Frances Presley & Robert Minhinnick

Robert Minhinnick and Frances Presley perform their collaboration at Gelynion – Enemies Swansea in May 2015. The piece is published in the Winter issue of Poetry Wales.

Poem: The Birds of Rhiannon

By Rhian Edwards


The Birds of Rhiannon

Before I was mortal, I was haloed
in feathers, my trinity of familiars;
whose birdsong was legend, serenading
the dead from their dreams, lullabying
the living to torpor.  For the sake
of this world and him, I swallowed
my guardians, let them nest in my belly
and take turns in my throat. The sparrow
became my repartee, my grappling chatter
that flutters away the dead air. The mockingbird
staked claim as my mimicking tongue, parodying
the world as it heard it, to be droll,
to belong. And the thrush was poetry,
my childsong, my verse-voice, the brittle
thread to my blueprint life.

For the sake of my world and him,
I crowded my belly with children,
each deafened in utero by the never-ending
twittering. My birds heckled my sons
for mirroring the man that caged
them within this ungenerous flesh.
My unborn tried walling their ears,
even taking their leave before
they were finished. My pets pecked
and fought over what remained.
But now that a girl is unfurling,
the facsimile of me, their familiar,
they coo and brood over her, sing her
to flower, while laying eggs of their own
under her unspeakable tongue.

From Poetry Wales Summer 2015

Rhian Edwards’s first collection Clueless Dogs won Wales Book of the Year 2013

Poem: Io by Ellen Cranitch


flat cow skull-bone trying to feel through coarse fur
his knuckles against her brow, the stroke-soft soothe-speak;

flat cow skull-bone gathering all thought, all nerve to accurately feel,
re-feel, focus, the small girl memory of his musk man-smell

when brush of his fingers on her hot forehead would soothe her;
flat cow skull-bone housing gold eyes, gold brimming wet,

black-lashed water, dripping gift-tears onto his hands: this one is sad,
says the father. Dull curved cow horns glance at air, turn wide

empty circles, want to link the once-known of arms with his
which reach up to soothe her; stout cow neck’s throat-choke

when he offers her the sweetest blades of bitter grass knowing
cow tongue’s stoat body squats inside her, cannot be lashed

into supple word-sound. Small word, smallest in the long poem,
carrying on its slight frame the whole yoke of utterance and desire

gifting the soon-to-be exiled poet a longing to shape into words,
into a dazzling white meadow of words to sing how words falter.


From Poetry Wales Summer 2015.

Ellen Cranitch’s poems are published by Carcanet in the Oxford Poets series. Her work has appeared in a range of magazines including Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review and Ambit and won numerous prizes.

Poem: 5 Views Re/Dux

5 Views Re/Dux

by Catherine Fletcher 


Rippled Drum (Bard)
an instrument that makes waves
a drum with a vein of chocolate running through
wavy rolling tobacco
the inner ear drowning in cheap alcohol

Poor Holding (Vicar)
property of the indigent
bad grip
sickly footing
sad, misspelled Caulfield

Coated Macadam (Mender)
a Scot with thick skin
Mrs. Cadam in her outerwear
a muddy dam blocking a narrow creek
one of two Teds at a family reunion

As Spoken (Arrows)

ass poken
ass poke N.
like squares
like arrows?
?the way to Wales is west

Tar Rock (Mine)
a prehistoric reptile
an exclamation in Breton
asphalt on a hot day
a Cardiff street drug


Catherine Fletcher is a poet and an editor for Rattapallax magazine. Her work has appeared in Mizna, The Raconteur, Newtown Literary, and other journals.  ‘5 Views Re/Dux’, is a riff on Peter Finch’s ‘Five Views of Wales.’

This poem originally appeared in Poetry Wales Spring 2015.

Poem: 1.4/grid by Calum Gardner

in solidarity with the Save Roath Library protest, 20.5.15

THIS is gardened-night, a space
when all impractical floating love
is kept by morning, and the
rust-SOIL is unforgot and
ill-maintained, but still any
such people’s epic numbers a wash
of names like on a school-leaver’s
hoodie, makes me feel old, like a rock:

keep that rock on a pine shelf
whose acidic splinter preserves a browser’s
momentary pause; between the tip
of fantasy and the empirical
sky lies the MOON, the willing light
of reading malcontents, or masses, or
just one; collapsing trust leaves
nothing to wish: let it SET

NEVER (though) give up on moony
futures, which, although they drop when
CUT, are, like tall colour-blooms, seared
into the nature-picture of young
memory—just so is dust PROTECTED
in our young lungs like tree-rings
or window-breath in pompeii. cold
abandoned temple, spider-WARDED:

another way i’ll see you is: rain-
ruled but FOREVER bright, despite shadowed
by long knives’ swing—let us trap
those weak footsteps outside this library,
save only those with tiny grim need
to learn—PROTECT brave roath’s
tirelessly studious and elemental care
for all the world that lies in its BOOKS


by Calum Gardner,

who lives on wellfield road, roath

Poem: Dark by Julián Herbert


Translated by Richard Gwyn



I spent the whole night with my arm in a crack.
It was not a hall of saints.
It was an hotel on the outskirts of Querétaro.
Two single beds provisionally pulled together
to hold the three of us (always three) together.
Ascesis: a light sleep: Hannibal Barca, my son, falling
______every 15 minutes into the gap.
It’s trite, but it’s true: I spent the whole night with
______my arm in a crack.
The devil instilled in me a black acoustic fury:
______why do you write poems
if everything that wounds has an empty touch, a tomb’s
Dazzled, very smug and without light (without another light and guide
______without etc., etc.),
I wrote these verses from memory:

“At least touch what you kill.
Feel it slug fuel black snail with which you mark
______– you piss –
plastics: Identity.
Remember, when you go to the cinema to watch films about Nazis,
______that you are not a Jew.
But if you are a Jew, don’t remember anything: at least touch what
______you kill.
Don’t try to act god. Don’t blow up cars. Don’t quote
______the scriptures. Don’t argue with me.
Don’t sell me the stumps of limbs. Don’t bring me heads. Don’t ask me
______to learn respect.
At least touch what you kill.”

They are appalling. I knew it at once.
For a couple of years I haven’t been able to make a poem.
I miss it, but don’t regret it.
We all know that poetry is nothing more (or less) than
______a temporary skill.
A skill which, once lost, becomes you and shines dark.

The same as a father will spend the whole night with his arm in
______a crack
making sure his son’s head never touches the floor.


From ‘One skull next to another skull next to another skull: three poets from Mexico’ introduced and translated by Richard Gwyn with artwork by John Abell in the Winter 2014/2015 Issue of Poetry Wales.

Julián Herbert was born in Acapulco in 1971. His difficult childhood is described, in part, in his award-winning 2011 memoir, Canción de Tumba. He is a leading figure in Mexico’s poetry scene, and lives in Saltillo.

Richard Gwyn is currently preparing an anthology of contemporary Latin American poetry, to be published by Seren in 2016. He is Professor in Creative Writing at Cardiff University.