Autumn came to Cardiff this week with brisk winds and beautiful colors. The season is changing: scarves are coming out, kettles are boiling longer and more often. It is time to say goodbye to summer.
I know I speak for Emma when I say that our summer was quite a meaningful one. We ran our first workshop series together which introduced us to some wonderful people and exciting words. Just before our last session I experienced a death in my family which – living thousands of miles from where I grew up – left me feeling down and detached. I realized quickly that the Ciliau was a place where I could feel nourished and at ease, where I could write myself and enjoy the landscape I now call my home. So, despite the new challenges in my life, Emma and I decided to stay the course and run our last workshop together on time. I’m so happy we did.
This last session, On the Drover’s Road, focused on publication and performance. To me there are a couple of really key elements to publication: finding your true voice, translating your message successfully to an audience, and editing. So, in the morning I discussed these things with those who came along. Together we read work from clare e. potter and Richard Gwyn and wrote about observations and emotional experiences. It was lovely.
In the afternoon, Emma introduced us to some reading techniques and set up a performance promenade by the river. It was glorious! We practiced reading in different voices and with different rhythms. We found a place where the poems we were given could stand out. We discovered new poets. The poem I performed was called ‘I came back from Iceland’ by Sheena Pugh. I loved it and am excited to read more of her work.
As always though the best part of any workshop is listening to those who come along. The pieces produced in this session were particularly special. Three of the participants have been kind enough to share some of the poems they wrote throughout the day. Please enjoy these below:
I am the beach
suggests a certain shelf life.
We live in the dart and shimmer
of a shoal,
As tiny and tight-knit as type
on a page,
Making patterns repeated
in shadow on the river floor,
Then breaking away,
Words in a poem that falls
apart as soon as it is made.
We hug the shallows,
Far from the real business
of the river’s roaring core,
Chasing each other through
these quiet warm spaces,
Our pale infant bodies
a scattering of ideas
across a bright page.
Fry, melt, spawn,
No name properly describes
our alert presence on the
Our assiduous patrol
of its shallows.
We are a subtext, a tiny detail,
The flicker of a thought lost among
It was Valentine’s Day
not that it meant much
not to him –
we had ACDC and heavy metal
I’d pursued him after the concert –
blond, hunky, denim and leather clad –
and I got him!
I’d watched interminable hours of
American Superbowl with him,
which I’d slept through mostly, the
I thought he was gorgeous, sexy
my ideal man
and he wanted me!
I visited him in sick bay –
a broken ankle? Or was it his wrist?
To give him my Valentine’s card.
There he finished with me.
Both Emma and I feel so privileged to have spent our summer with such kind, supportive, passionate, and interesting people. Thank you to all who shared your thoughts and words with us.
We are currently finalizing plans for our winter series which will be advertised shortly. There will be strong tea, homemade cakes, roaring fires, and of course, plenty of writing. In the meantime, please enjoy a selection of photos below from our last summer workshop – On the Drover’s Road.
If you would like more information or are interested in coming along to any of our future workshops please email email@example.com. See you in the winter!