Archive for June, 2017

Blog: Rebel Sun by Sophie McKeand

Expectation poem by Sophie McKeand

 

 

Expectation (neu addo a bygwyth) is one of the political poems from Rebel Sun. The Russian propoganda-inspired artwork by Andy Garside giving the reader the heads-up that left-wing socialist/Marxist/anarchist politics will inform elements of the content. Over a decade ago, when first starting out writing, everything I created was political but after a while I became disillusioned with the entire process, discovered the work of Childe Roland, Rhys Trimble and Zoë Skoulding, as well as Anne Waldman and Jay Griffiths, and veered off into the relative obscurity of the left field (or forest).

The poems in Rebel Sun knit together all of the various elements of experimentation, politics and community I’ve been immersed in over recent years, with a strong focus on (re)connecting with the natural world. I am as much a part of the north Wales landscape as any oak or wave or starling and Rebel Sun is acknowledgement of that.

Explaining the exact nature of a poem feels too didactic, but this collection is absolutely about taking a stand politically. I see the after-effects of colonialism as a patriarchal dish still being force-fed to the land and her people in Wales. But after a long winter, maybe spring is coming.

The Cymraeg is taken from a weather report:

bydd hi’n ddiwrnod ansefydlog yfory gwasgedd isel

yn dod â gwyntoedd cryfion a glaw}}}

Roughly translated (I am still learning the language) this is:

tomorrow will be a day of unstable low pressure,

bringing strong winds and rain}}}

I am saying there is a storm brewing in Wales and have used Cymraeg to illustrate that, perhaps, this is where the uprising begins.

The sub-heading: neu addo a bygwth or promises and threats, is referencing the many ways the Welsh population have been marginalised by a political system presided over by a Westminster government who actively seem to work against the best interests of the majority of people in Wales. Those in power make lavish gifts of things we neither want, or need (larder rats), and manage our expectations by reinforcing the idea that Wales could not survive alone.

Rebel Sun also references political and academic figures such as Lewis Valentine and Leonard Goldstein who held strong left wing beliefs even when it cost them dearly. I have a deep admiration for anybody willing to do this in order to create a better world for everybody, not just themselves, and wanted to pay homage to the fact that their legacy lives on long after they have folded into earth.

RebelSun_CVR_artwork_1500pxW_large

Rebel Sun is out now with Parthian Books: https://www.parthianbooks.com/collections/pre-order/products/rebel-sun

 

Sophie_McKeand_Feb2016_b

Eric Ngalle Charles on how he writes poetry

‘I write then I revisit until I can relive the memory again exactly as I remember it.’

Eric Ngalle Charles is a Cameroonian born Wales based writer, poet and dramatist. He provides us with a vivid insight into his writing process and how memory inspires and informs his poetry.

‘I have little memory triggers. The other day I saw an insect with very tiny legs, it looked like it was doing press-ups on this huge tree, it took me back in time to when my mother first told me about the antics of the ‘’Molikilikili’’ (preying mantis) and the Ngo’le (millipede) as we sat around the fireside and the August rains pounded the thatch roof of our kitchen.

Two years after my daughter was born I wrote a poem ‘Playing with your white hair’ which was published in my first poetry anthology Between a Mountain and a Sea. As I plaited her hair, the memory carried me all the way to when I was 11 years old growing up in a place called Mundemba in Ndian Division, Cameroon. One of my chores was to search my brother in law’s head for white hair. He was like a father to me, ‘What greater love express from father to son than playing with your white hair’ is a line from the poem. I write then I revisit until I can relive the memory again exactly as I remember it.

I am fascinated by blindness as a metaphor. Ben Okri writes in his book, Famished Road, ‘We are all born blind, some chose to see, some chose to remain blind.’ James Baldwin takes it even further by asking ‘Can blindness be desired? What have those eyes seen to desire to see no more?’ In these post-truth times I guess as a poet we have the duty to ask, ponder this issue of blindness, do we allow the chaotic state of the world to continue? Shall we speak or shall we all retire into a hill in Abertawe. These are the kind of questions my mind asks, these are the things that trigger different memories.

Each poem is as unique as its author. When I was travelling from Swansea to LLandudno, the view, the mountains, the sea inspired Hiraeth, it reminded me so much of home that I wrote the poem ‘Between a Mountain and a Sea’ as a tribute to Wales and at the same time planning my homecoming.

Last but not least, I am fascinated by languages, if I hear people quarrelling, lovers holding hands and speaking, ‘my spirit craves, my mind wonders’ – I want to be under a tree and just drift.’

Eric’s poetry can be found in Poetry Wales volume 52.2 , Winter 2016 issue.

9780954514709-uk

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