Monday, 16 May 2022

'The Gloucester Fragments', a Poetry Collection by Neil Leadbeater


I was delighted when Neil Leadbeater asked if he could use my Redwing photograph for the cover of his latest poetry collection, The Gloucester Fragments, recently published by Mervyn Linford of Littoral Press

I first met Neil at Swansea's First International Poetry Festival, organised by Peter Thabit Jones (The Seventh Quarry Press, Wales) and Stanley H. Barkan (Cross-Cultural Communications, New York). 

Polly Stretton in her back-cover blurb decribes The Gloucester Fragments as 'a real treat' and helpfully informs the reader that the new collection includes poems on the themes of 'nature', 'language' and 'myth'. And indeed, I am greatly enjoying poems 'inhabited' by the Shoveler ('Frampton Pools'), poems that 'play' with the building blocks of language to singular effect ('Errata for an English Pangram'), and a clever shape-shifting poem that re-casts the Homeric tale of Odysseus and Circe. 

There is so much more: take, for instance, Neil's clever allusion to nursery rhymes or the way in which he moves deftly from serious subject matter, such as detritus in the Severn, to the magical botanical names of wildflowers like 'periwinkle', 'fumitory' and 'hemp agrimony', which we find sprinkled, or scattered, throughout this vivid and compelling collection. 

Gloucester, and perhaps particularly Gloucestershire, will doubtless evoke different images among Neil's readers. I think especially of Edward Thomas, and am immediately taken in my mind to Adlestrop, which I visited some years ago on a frosty morning when there were certainly no 'haycocks dry' in evidence. Neil's delightful and inventive response to this well-loved poem by Thomas took me by surprise and put a wide smile on my face.

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The Gloucester Fragments costs £8.50. 

Neil's previous collection, Reading Between the Lines (2020), with my puffin photo on the cover, is also available from Littoral Press. I mentioned it here shortly after its publication. 

The publisher, Mervyn Linford, suggests that those wishing to purchase a Littoral Press collection should email him in the first instance.

   

Previous post: #DylanDay 2022 ... here

Saturday, 14 May 2022

14 May 2022 ... #dylanday

 

 

Greetings to all on #dylanday 14 May 2022.

I thought I would post a rather different 'first' picture for Dylan Day this time. It was taken fifteen years ago, and shows me trying to photograph the Writing Shed that perches somewhat precariously on the cliff above the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne. 

This is what the Writing Shed looked like from the outside in 2001:

 


... and in 2007:



Dylan Thomas aficionado, Lidia Chiarelli, a Charter Member of the international movement Immagine e Poesia, has prepared a Dylan Day presentation for 2022, featuring art and poetry from many different corners of the globe. You can find my Picture-Poem contribution, Tide Notes, in the section entitled  ...

Haiku - Haiga - Picture-Poems for Dylan Thomas 

... which you can find by (clicking the link immediately above and) scrolling down until you reach what I believe is the seventh tribute. 

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Love The Words 

eBook Anthology

I have just heard that my poem, 'Blubber, Fin and Tails', has been selected for inclusion in the 2022 #dylanday international eBook prepared by Infinity Books, after a judging process by Hannah Ellis and Mab Jones. There were about 400 entries from which about 50 have been chosen.  

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My 2021 first full collection, Driftwood by Starlight (The Seventh Quarry Press, £6.99/$10 - see here), contains poems set in various places around the UK and beyond. I lived in Swansea, home town of Dylan Thomas for almost twenty years, a fact reflected in my poem, 'Rhossili: Writing The Worm' (p.38).