Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    The monstrosity of the long poem
    (Poetry Wales, 2009-09-01)
    Writing ‘long’ poems in an age that has a capacious appetite for the image, a diminished attention span and a desire for the quick sound bite might seem counterintuitive, if not spectacularly naive. Turn to the guidelines of any poetry competition and you will find (more often than not) the restrictor ‘judges will accept entries of poems of up to 40 lines’. Short poems valiantly secure a space for poetry in public spaces; Poems on the Underground, Metro, BART and DART offer a welcome imaginative respite to any traveller. But the poetry world is not full of master haiku writers, Zen brevity can quickly become anticipated Zen epiphany as the commuter minds the gap. Thankfully an alternate vein of poetry displays a need to challenge the perceived aesthetics of what is marketable or desirable. This is not to argue that this poetry operates somehow outside of culture. But the way poetry can respond to, incorporate or assimilate the world often aims to challenge market expectations and revive expectations. Writing ‘long’ poems in an age that has a capacious appetite for the image, a diminished attention span and a desire for the quick sound bite might seem counterintuitive, if not spectacularly naive. Turn to the guidelines of any poetry competition and you will find (more often than not) the restrictor ‘judges will accept entries of poems of up to 40 lines’. Short poems valiantly secure a space for poetry in public spaces; Poems on the Underground, Metro, BART and DART offer a welcome imaginative respite to any traveller. But the poetry world is not full of master haiku writers, Zen brevity can quickly become anticipated Zen epiphany as the commuter minds the gap. Thankfully an alternate vein of poetry displays a need to challenge the perceived aesthetics of what is marketable or desirable. This is not to argue that this poetry operates somehow outside of culture. But the way poetry can respond to, incorporate or assimilate the world often aims to challenge market expectations and revive expectations.
      150
  • Publication
    ‘After Before’: Finding Welsh War Poetry
    (Peter Lang AG, 2017-10-30) ;
    This essay considers works by Robert Minhinnick and Owen Sheers. Concentrating on Minhinnick’s 2008 volume King Driftwood, I examine his response to the Iraq War and how this connects with his earlier experience of visiting Baghdad following the Gulf War. Minhinnick’s travelogues attempt to suture the geographic distance between Iraq and south Wales. Owen Sheers’s verse drama Pink Mist was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and was published by Faber in 2013. This work offers perspectives upon the impact of the Afghanistan War on veterans and their families. Sheers has also worked with the testimonies and memories of British veterans. For both poets, I consider how the role of the poem as a social document is navigated in their poetics, and whether the poem functions as a transformative site for trauma. I also propose that both poets, in different ways, reflect upon the cultural complexities of Welsh militarism, post-devolution.
      602
  • Publication
    Poetics
    (Oxford University Press, 2011-08)
    This chapter presents an overview of current critical enterprises regarding the conceptualisation of poetics primarily in twentieth and twenty-first century poetries. Covering criticism published during 2010, this review assesses debates concerning the tensions between a poetics of self expression and the public sphere, the political efficacy of contemporary poetry, the impact of Asia and Asian philosophy on American poetics, the identity of Jewish-American modernist and contemporary poetics, as well as the relationship between poetry, community and social relations. The chapter also introduces a critical reconvening or re-reading of the New American Poetry in tandem with reflections on configurations of masculinity, subjectivity and phenomenology. Comparative readings of the modern ruin are offered through readings of European poets and poets of the Americas. Moreover the discussion incorporates recent studies on the following: poetry that perform encounters with the nonhuman world, the regeneration of the lyric impulse by contemporary poets, how poetry reflects upon issues of displacement and exile as well as a reflection on the negative effect of poststructuralist discourse on the critical reception of certain poetries in the past.
      282
  • Publication
    Audibility in the Archive: Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath’s Poetry for Radio
    (Poetry Society, 2020-10-01)
    Back in the mid-nineties, my line manager, an archivist at the Film and Sound Library at BBC Wales told me an anecdote. Some years before, the entire archive had to be reorganised, material was to be culled, space on the Cardiff campus had become a premium. These were the days of quarter inch audiotape and editing by razorblade. Recorded sound was still a physical object, preserved in cardboard boxes, catalogued by year, week and programme number. The refurbishment contract necessitated a quick turnaround, which meant that radio producers were under pressure to authorise what materials they wanted kept. A skip had been brought to the back of the archive, and was filling fast. Alarmed by the mini mountain of white boxes that were massing, one evening my boss took a stepladder and climbed into the skip to sift through the reels. Programmes in both Welsh and English were rescued. Some were archived as compilation tapes under the acronym WAL (Wales Audio Library).
      77
  • Publication
    Dylan Thomas's ‘Return Journey to Swansea’: A Collaborative Radio Poetic
    (Edinburgh University Press, 2019-01-01)
    This article explores how Dylan Thomas's engagement with radio created an innovative collaborative radio poetic. Thomas contributed many broadcast essays and features to the Third Programme, the Home Service, the Welsh Home Service and the Eastern Service. Scholars have also long been aware of Thomas's important creative relationship with BBC producers such as Douglas Cleverdon (who produced Under Milk Wood). Yet there remains little analysis of his features for radio. Drawing on archival memos from the BBC's Literary Output Committee (held at the BBC's Written Archives in Caversham), this article initially considers the institutional relationship between poets and the BBC during the 1940s. Against this institutional backdrop, it then focuses on a specific 1947 BBC feature that Thomas wrote about post-blitz Swansea: ‘Return Journey to Swansea’. Examining the history and practicalities of the collaboration involved between Thomas and the producer P. H. Burton, the discussion links the feature's social commentary to the audio radio poetic collaboratively created between poet, broadcast institution, producer, and medium.
      404
  • Publication
    My tend sees errant, Vulnerable Chanceways: Maggie O'Sullivan's 'House of Reptiles' and recent American Poetics
    (Salt, 2011-04-15)
    Though my reference to this practice of colouring the text has its currency in recent Welsh culture, we can trace this fascination with the performance of poetry through an extensive bardic literary tradition with its emphasis on the lyric as oral transmission. Within current Welsh language poetic performance there is a resolute insistence that the poem must not only be rehearsed extensively beforehand but also learnt by rote. Here mnemonics comes into a creative play with the modalities of voice; highlighting specific resonances that may have remained concealed in the original text. But the audience of this performance is faced with a certain paradox and one that I hope may allow us a way into investigating Maggie O’Sullivan’s poetry. The ‘colouring’ of the text in a Welsh language performance emphasises the immediacy of expression. Yet as an audience we are also made aware that the ‘spontaneity’ of the performance is also heavily mediated, rehearsed, if not instructed.
      78
  • Publication
    Bilingualism: Slippage of a Phoeneme or Two
    (Poetry Wales, 2012-04)
    One in a series of poetics essays/ manifesto essays on Bilingualism. Draws on poetic practice.
      132
  • Publication
    Gwyneth Lewis: Blasphemy, taboo and testing bilingualism
    (Poetry Wales, 2003)
    How does a language die? What is the premonitory that leads to that death and who is culpable? Forget momentarily the well-intentioned optimism of draft legislatures and bilingual mandates. Gwyneth Lewis gives the reader an incisive imagining of the final scene with her epitaph in 'Welsh Espionage'.
      376
  • Publication
    'What I wanted was nothing to do with monuments' Erring and Lyn Hejinian's The Guard
    (Brill/Rodopi, 2004)
    In considering Hejinian’s poetry, I will attempt to examine how this transformative approach to theory and practice is orchestrated within the structure of the poetry book. Furthermore, this essay will consider how the figure of the book presents what Hejinian terms a certain “lyric dilemma” or “aporia” between a formal construction and a provisional enquiry. This tension between structure and spontaneity is one which Hejinian’s poetics both embraces and celebrates. Eventually, I will suggest that we can further understand the tensions between formal “containment”, a spontaneous lyricism, and a transformative impulse, through a reading of “erring” in Hejinian’s The Guard (1984). Drawing from Hejinian’s early poetics, an “erring” reading of the momentum and dynamics generated within the scope of her poetry book will allow us to reflect upon the discreet negotiation between intentionality and provisionality which her poetry enacts.
      269