On a drizzly evening set amongst a backdrop of wild flowers ‒ viola, carmine and verdant unwinding fronds ‒ we say diolch to Nia Davies after five years as editor of Poetry Wales. She welcomed poets from across Wales to share their experiences and poetic styles to an eager audience.
The evening promoted diversity in Welsh poetry from exciting new poets, to traditional and experimental poets. Spells and Sanctums represented a modern Wales as a diverse nation but also one which is international, with performances from Founder/Editor of Luxembourg Review, Shehzar Doja, and Indian born poet, Mamta Sagar.
Rhys Trimble opened the evening with a spell from his staff before launching into a torrent of Welsh. His playful stage presence battled the Poetry Wales editor for words before ripping them and scattering them across the room.
John Goodby read from his book, No Breath, an expert in experimental poetry, he brought out the strange and delightful in Spells and Sanctums. Eric Ngalle Charles joined us from Cardiff. Cameroonian born poet, he captivated the audience with a bilingual account of his journey from Cameroon to Wales.
Chris Paul brought the audience together in a bilingual chorus and raised the energy in the room. Guinevere Clark read out poems on the themes of birth, domestic abuse and motherhood. Her inflections brought the turbulent nature of a mother experiencing distance between herself and her newborn. Natalie Ann Holborow became the Queen Medea and held the stage, recounting the betrayal of her lover and death of their children. She read out new poems that furthered this mystical edge to the evening
Shehzar Doja joined us from Glasgow. His calming stage presence brought to life a world of uncertainty and loss through beautiful but unapologetic language.
Mamta Sagar was accompanied by Nia Davies where they offered a bilingual performance and new depths into cultural exchange. She read the English version of an Indian poem that played in the background as she hypnotised the audience with a prayer and charm to protect children from ‘the evil ones’, both mythical and human.
Written by Rhea Seren Phillips, event organiser and poet.