WISPA to Wales 3

WISPA tour of Wales March 2014, part3

The rest of the 26th in Lampeter gave me the chance to truly hear and encounter the poetry of others.
In the afternoon I was at a poetry workshop given by the poet Sujata Bhatt.
A renowned poet herself she introduced us to the writings of Brigit Pegeen Kelly, an American poet whose poetry was a delight to savour for the first, but not last, time.
The theme of the workshop was around the idea of poetry and place. Given that we were in the company of a Gujarati speaking poet, who lives in Germany and we were a multi-lingual group, temporarily brought together in the heart of Wales, it was apt indeed. This workshop was part of the MA program in Creative Writing in the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David.


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It was a privilege to be allowed partake in this in an active way.

The evening was in the University again, this time for a reading by Sujata. This was powerful and in a beautiful setting with a most appreciative audience. A fellow WISPA founder, Sue Moules was also there. Sue is rightly proud of the fact that the writers group in Lampeter is probably the longest running of the many writers groups in Wales, they began their great work in 1984.

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Introducing Sujata and acting as MC for the evening was Gillian Clarke who holds a most distinguished position in Welsh life, being National Poet of Wales since 2008.
As the evening progressed Gillian made a lovely comment that it was great to be in a room where everyone present was bi-lingual at least and a lively discussion on the benefits of awareness of other languages followed.
Which reminded me that the previous night with the Red Heron group I had actually, for the first time ever, tried translating one of my own Irish language poems to English, live on stage! The effort went down very well and many said that the stumbles were proof indeed that the translation was being done “on the hoof!” The poem in question is “Layla” and was a winner in the 2013 Frances Browne Multi-Lingual Poetry Competition. I had also read this for the Irish-language TV station, TG4, on stage in the Wexford Arts Centre as part of a programme on the famous Cáca Milis Cabaret. The following link will take you to that interview/reading.
What is also relevant is that in the same interview I spoke about how much I love reading poetry aloud for an audience. when I do that, my understanding of my own work changes when renewed through the prism of a live audience. I am grateful to WISPA for giving me the chance to do so much of that in Wales.

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More to follow, a visit to Laugharne with fellow poets and an evening of poetry in Narberth

A suggested playlist for lovers of the obscure

A suggested playlist for lovers of the obscure

Filled with the ever effervescent

ephemerally new.

Filled with the basic bubbling

beating beat for you.

Filled with today’s latest

sent by radio’s crew,

the airwaves deliver

and music arrives.

You know, don’t you?

You know as I do,

just as every dog

will have his day,

every old song,

every obscure tune,

every long lost lyric,

all deserve,

at the very least,

one more turn,

one more play,

one more spin,

one more time


the airwaves.

Let’s play the music library game,

not chosen by us

but randomly thrown up

we have …


Lost himself when young

then lost when young himself,

Gram Parsons walks “The Streets of Baltimore”

looking for the lover

who prefers bright lights.

Hoping always

she will choose him again,

just one more night.


By Derek and the Dominoes

a beautiful young lady is celebrated

in song.

“Layla” soars in solos

of glorious guitar.

Once before

I paid homage to her,

now I need say no more.


From Dublin of The Dubliners

In song comes “Finnegan’s Wake,”

a re-telling of an old tale.

With vim and vigour,

like piss and vinegar,

they sing of the man who comes to life.

Amid the music and the strife,

He drinks a toast to his own demise.


Perry Como knows that “Papa loves Mambo.”

I love the braying brass,

the infectious beat,

a sinuously sensuous swing

across a light sparkled

dance floor.

Driven by an infectious beat,

triumphant trumpets soar.


Young Laura Marlowe

sings “Your’ Only Doll Dora,”

opening with birds singing

over pitch perfect picked

guitar, guiding the voice

of a real woman.

Unaided by trickery or technology,

the music and the musician reign supreme.

There you have it,

Five songs,

Five singers,

brought to life again,

while I write,

while you read.

With that

I have no more to say,


my friend,

we choose the music,

now go play.

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