To San Jose with Thanks & Poetry

I am sitting in bright sunshine under a blue clock tower in Prague but all I can think about is San Jose: the thick humidity cloaking its streets, the shelves and shelves of poetry written in a language I cannot yet reach, and the school I visited on the outskirts of the city—the Institute of…

Warmth & Writing at the University of Jyväskylä

During Cardiff University’s reading week in February, I could be found on the University of Jyväskylä’s snowy campus in Finland. Both institutions are members of the European Association of Creative Writing Programmes (EACWP) and formed a link in 2015 with the first teaching exchange between Dr. Shelagh Weeks and Terhi Forssén. I was delighted that my visit…

Semi-Detached

My last post was in May and a lot has happened since then. Summer is my busiest season and as work for my day job, PhD and freelance projects increased my blog posts and personal writing took a reluctant back seat. Luckily, things are cooling down, both literally and figuratively, and I can now take…

Places to Inspire Writing in Cardiff

Originally posted on Welsh Writers’ Trust:
All writers have experienced that dearth of inspiration; the time when we scrabble through articles in newspapers, sift through old diaries and scour every object that surrounds us to find something, anything, that might spark some much craved creativity. In those trying times when nothing seems to mean anything…

Solstice Festival

After freelancing seven days a week from September to May, I look forward to taking back my weekends each summer. For me these days mean lots of tea, new poetry collections, and as much writing as I can manage. Often, I also squeeze in a few walks, documentaries and drinks with friends. They allow me…

Mobile Home

Lately I’ve been thinking about home, where it is, what it means. Although I live in the UK, I was born in America and there are people there I miss – friends, family, former professors, the lovely strangers on the train to Philadelphia. But, I don’t feel at home there. When I am away from…

Writers Welcome

One of my favorite things about being a freelance writer is meeting other writers. And, not just writers, but artists, musicians, woodworkers, choreographers, singers, actors and anyone else with a unique and exciting passion. There is a reason why people engaged in these pursuits are considered to be part of a ‘creative community’. Because we…

Writing Our Lives

Both Anne Lamott and Sharon Olds taught me to write what I know. Before I read their work I did this by composing journal entries and secret stories which I hid in a blue tub under my bed. After I read their work I continued to write what I knew, just more often and publicly,…

People and Place

Today the street I live on in Canton is preparing to host a Big Lunch event. The pavement is being swept, the bunting is going up, and the bouncy castle is on its way! If you don’t know, the Big Lunch is a UK-wide initiative which aims to get millions of people to have lunch…

Arcades and Alleys

When I first arrived in Cardiff I had my own ideas about what its arcades and alleys would be like. I assumed the arcades were places kids went to play pinball and the alleys were something I had to steer clear from at night. I could not have been more wrong. In the four years…