Collective 2017 – Poetry on Ice

Rhian EdwardsLast week’s freezing temperatures could not prevent a host of poetry enthusiasts from congregating together in Little Man Coffee Company for the second annual Collective event, organised by Christina Thatcher. The poetry was entertaining and captivating in equal measure, beginning with four poets whose collections were published this year…   

Bob Walton

Bob Walton playing the saxophone

I was already familiar with the work of Sophie McKeand (whose book Rebel Sun was published by Parthian in May) and Rhian Edwards (whose pamphlet Brood was published by Seren in March), but there is something quite magical about hearing the words spoken aloud in the way they were intended, by the very person who selected and refined them. And it’s always a privilege to be given some insight into the creative process. We moved from the mysteries of trees to the mystery of motherhood, with many a laugh along the way.

Bob Walton’s poetry is bright and intense, and we were treated to a combination of saxophone and poems – something you don’t get to hear every day! His book, Sax Burgler Blues is published by Seren.

Paul Deaton’s work is more delicate, with a subtle, contemplative tone to it, focusing on themes of childhood, family and nature. His collection, A Watchful Astronomy, is published by Seren.

Paul Deaton

Paul Deaton (with the bright lights of Cardiff’s city centre construction in the background)

After the break we heard from Christina herself, as she read from her book More than you were, and treated us to a few poems from her forthcoming collection – love poems which have a strong emotional thread but a steady sense of humour too.

Christina Thatcher

Christina Thatcher

Mari Ellis Dunning read to us from her forthcoming collection, which is currently entitled Salacia and due to be published by Parthian in the Spring. Her work is full of striking imagery, reminiscent of Sylvia Plath.

We finished the evening with a reading from Kate North, whose poetry is quite different again, but equally inspiring, and her book will also be published by Parthian in the Spring.

So 2018 will be just as poetic as 2017, perhaps even more so, and I look forward to reading some of these new collections in the coming months.