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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Poem of the Week: Anna Lewis





This week's poem taken from a recent collection is from Anna Lewis's pamphlet published in July, The Blue Cell, a sequence of poems exploring the lives of a number of early medieval Welsh saints.  Melangell, who fled from Ireland to Powys to escape an unwanted marriage here shelters a hare from hunters.  Hares are a rarer sight than they were but they are still seen occasionally, and we sometimes see them near to the home of Rack Press in Powys.

The Blue Cell can be ordered here for immediate dispatch, £5 post-free.






Melangell


Its heart was quick against her thigh,
then slowed.  She felt the hitching rhythm
of its ribs subside, kept her own breath 

as she heard the dogs pant close, 
their narrow bodies slit the bracken.  
Birds swung up from the slope

and marked the line of their approach;
the saplings shook, then from the trees 
poured horses, men in red and gold.  

And it was the same as the day 
she first stepped onto the sea,
handed herself to the waves 

and to the will of God: brash sunlight 
thrown back, the green earth 
tipping under her feet.  Not so much 

bravery, not so much faith 
as a small, dull light that scratched 
into life in her chest, then grew

until she could not see around its edge.  
Beyond, there was quiet.  The hare
dropped its head to its paws, and slept.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Rack Poets at Ledbury and an Interview

Damian Walford Davies, AC Bevan and
SamanthaWynne-Rhydderch at a Rack reading in
Presteigne, Powys earlier this year
Thank you to the Poetry School for publishing an interview with Rack Press where we tell it like it is, we hope!

And don't forget 4th July at the Ledbury Poetry Festival where poets Nicky Arscott and Anna Lewis were due to launch their new collections, respectively Soft Mutation and The Blue Cell.  Unfortunately Anna can't be there for family reasons so AC Bevan will be reading with Nicky at lunchtime on that Saturday.  Do come along and hear two original and lively poets and the two new titles can now be ordered here online.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Talking about Edward Thomas 17 June

I will be talking to Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of a new biography of Edward Thomas, at an event at the London Review Bookshop on 17th June.

I leave you with a quotation from his fragment of autobiography The Childhood of Edward Thomas (1938) where he describes himself as “a citizen’s son of London in the ‘eighties of the nineteenth century".  Reading that book and the biography one realises how much this great celebrant of the English and Welsh countryside was a child of the south London suburbs (and explicitly saw himself as such).

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

New Pamphlet from David Harsent and Fiona Sampson

Launched today at the Wandsworth Heritage Festival in London at 7pm in Southfields Library, a new pamphlet by David Harsent and Fiona Sampson, Address Book is the outcome of a creative encounter between two leading British poets and the rich archival resources of Wandsworth Heritage Service.

Here are residents Florence Turtle, a book-buyer for the leading West End stores; the poet Edward Thomas; a teenager, Shirley Hitchings, and her poltergeist; and the poets Algernon Swinburne and Theodore Watts-Dunton.  Their addresses are the starting point for a series of fascinating and original poems.

Address Book is a collaboration between the London Borough of Wandsworth Heritage Service and the Roehampton Poetry Centre and is sponsored by the University of Roehampton and the Heritage Service of the Borough in which the university stands. The pamphlet has been produced for the Wandsworth Heritage Festival just opened and its authors are the Chair and the Director, respectively, of the University of Roehampton Poetry Centre.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Rack Poets in Powys

Four Rack poets will be reading next Monday 13th April at the sign of the Red Parrot, the reading series in Presteigne, Powys, home of Rack Press.

A.C.Bevan, Damian Walford Davies, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch and Nicholas Murray will be reading at 7.30 at the No 46 Wine Bar in Presteigne High Street.

If you can't make the reading you can buy the pamphlets here using the Paypal button.

We look forward to seeing you on a lovely spring evening in the Welsh Marches on Monday.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Poem of the Week: Damian Walford Davies

Today's Poem of the Week taken from one of the pamphlet collections launched this year by Rack Press is Commission by Damian Walford Davies from his collection Alabaster Girls which you can order here using Paypal.


Commission
Damian Walford Davies reading at last month's
launch in London

Suffolk, 1650

I was in the graveyard, islanded
by creeks, parsing deep botched

cuts that pass for epitaphs. 
Horses drummed their piss 

on clumps of woundwort – 
so loud, the troopers laying

statues on the fire turned to look.
Stare long enough, the tower’s

flintwork will bewilder you. Gilt
paint burns especially. He called me

from the porch, framed by gargoyles
and the Lamb, bitter ramsons

mixed with sweetish smoke.
My sergeant rose among the reeds,

a tan bird mewing in his gloves.
The church was cool; their eyes

were hammering at three angels
on the roof. I wrapped the balls

inside a paper patch and shot,
walked out decked in golden dust.