Tag Archives: Robert Minhinnick

Unmapped; Welsh poetry: Stephanie Green

13 Mar
Anna King, Rebecca Sharp

Anna King and Rebecca Sharp

For my last blog at StAnza, meditating on poetry inspired by landscape/art or vice versa, I went along to the exhibition, ‘Unmapped’ , also about the marginal.  A beautiful collaboration of paintings by Anna King and poems by Rebecca Sharp, it is also available in book form.  Paintings and poems are a conversation about places rarely noticed, the derelict,  the leaking boundaries between past and present, absence and longing.  ‘I love to explore empty feral places’ says Anna King, ‘where nature is slowly and relentlessly taking the land back.’

I loved how painter and poet echo each other:  brush or maybe palette knife strokes are clearly visible in almost half-finished paintings, where the background shows through, just as in  the poems the past haunts the present.   Rebecca’s vocabulary echoes the painter’s  techniques: ‘gouging’,  ‘scratched’, ‘seeping through’ and ‘Ink from a stairwell/bleeds into a boy’.

This is poetry as psychogeography, strangely evocative when they hint at so much absence: ‘We were always somewhere else,/waiting to appear.’    Anna Crowe calls these ‘restless, shifting poems’  and you can read the full review and see more poems and pictures through the project website

http://unmapped-project.co.uk/, and press Book for pictures, and Work for poems.


Welsh poetry, past and present

It was sound career sense of Dylan (pron. Dullan, so you can show off you know this) Thomas to die a bohemian death in New York, said Robert Minhinnick  at his Past & Present talk.  It would not have had the same myth-making impact if he’d died in Swansea Hospital after a bender in a local pub.  Recent research indicates that Dylan did not die so much of drink, as of a diabetic attack.

It is Dylan’s centenary next year so ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid’ warned Minhinnick. Personally, I can’t wait.

Lynette Roberts is not so well-known, of course. Born in Argentina, but moving to Wales on marriage, she was writing in the 30’s and 40’s and admired by T.S. Eliot as a fellow modernist. Sadly Roberts suffered from schizophrenia and wrote no more after the 50’s – perhaps explaining the diminishing of her reputation.  Like Roberts, Zoë Skoulding‘s own poetry explores language as  ‘soundings’, or  ‘noise’ so her talk revealed her own interests too.


Zoë Skoulding/photo Stephanie Green

Deryn Rees-Jones, short-listed for the T.S. Eliot prize in 2012, gave a reading of her tour de force ‘Dog Woman’ a sequence inspired by Paula Rego’s paintings which were a highlight of the festival

Other highlights were Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s Antarctic poems and Eurig Salisbury, Welsh Children’s Laureate. ‘I like eggs for breakfast, especially omelettes,’ he said.  He tells this to the kids he visits at school  – it’s important they eat well (as well as enjoy poems).

These readings were a great note to end the festival on.  Diolch yn fawr for having me.

Tipyn Bach of Welsh:

Hwyl Fawr (pron Hoo-ill vow-r)  Goodbye.  (Lit . Have great fun.)  There is no Goodbye in Welsh – appropriate because we hope we’ll meet again at StAnza 2014.


StAnza to welcome Welsh poets in March

10 Dec

Clarke, GillianStAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival will play host to seven Welsh poets in 2013, including Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales (left).  In what will be one of the stand-out events during the festival, she will read with Liz Lochhead, the Scots Makar, at StAnza’s hub venue, the Byre Theatre. She will also deliver the StAnza Lecture, taking as her theme the Welsh origins and influences of early poetry.

The Welsh Focus will celebrate the talents of established and younger Welsh poets, three of whom have been shortlisted for this year’s T.S. Eliot Prize. Along with Gillian Clarke, StAnza will be welcoming Ifor Ap Glyn, Robert Minhinnick, Deryn Rees-Jones, Eurig Salisbury, Zoë Skoulding  and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

They will be featuring in a rich variety of readings, collaborations and talks.  Ifor Ap Glyn will be taking part in a showcase of European poets who have been brought together to translate each other’s work. And the legacy of Welsh poets from the past continues to be celebrated in Zoë Skoulding’s talk about the neglected Modernist Lynette Roberts and Robert Minhinnick’s on the legacy of Dylan Thomas.

StAnza’s programme is now online here. Tickets will be on sale from January.

StAnza 2013: programme to be unveiled soon

14 Nov

Plans are well underway for StAnza 2013. The list of headlining poets includes Liz Lochhead, Robin Robertson, John Hegley, USA’s Mark Doty, Erín Moure and Ken Babstock from Canada, and Irish poet Paula Meehan. The festival will also focus on Welsh poetic talent with Robert Minhinnick and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch already signed up to appear.

And we’re getting ready to unveil our full programme online at the end of November. So watch this space.

As part of the build-up to StAnza 2013, we’ll be releasing a series of podcasts of highlights from last March’s festival. The first of these is now up on our podcasts page here  and features excerpts from readings by Kwame Dawes, Hilary Menos, Samuel Tongue and Nuala Watt, and some jazz from The Dave Batchelor Quintet.

%d bloggers like this: