National Poetry Writing Month – Poetry Prompts

It is April 1st which means we have now entered National Poetry Writing Month! Back in 2012, I founded a Cardiff-based writers’ group called Roath Writers. For the past three years, I’ve been keeping track of the prompts I’ve given to this group. I thought I’d share some of them here in case anyone would…

Striking the Match – Introducing the How to Carry Fire Blog Tour

Back in 2012, I was asked to design and run a blog-writing course for a community organisation in South Wales. Although I was no expert, I said yes! and started reading blogs every day to prepare. I loved the versatility of this form and feeling connected to people through their posts. It wasn’t long before…

My Poetry Bookshelf — February

I was introduced to the work of Jorge Luis Borges back in 2009 when I started my Creative Writing MA at Cardiff University. Richard Gwyn, who later became my PhD supervisor, used Borges’ writing in one of our early seminars. I cannot remember which piece he brought but I remember the sense of cracking open….

Proofs, Previews, Pre-Orders

I submitted my PhD on February 4th and since then I have been spending my time catching up on sleep and ‘decompressing’. This deserves a whole blog post of its own which I hope to write after my Viva in May. For now, I am enjoying having space in my brain again and time to…

My Poetry Bookshelf — January

Last year, I read Mary Ruefle’s book of collected lectures, Madness, Rack and Honey, and have thought often since about this passage on rereading: ‘And there was a curiosity too, the curiosity of revisiting and remeeting. Some gigantic memory might strike me as being rather small in the flesh, or the altogether unremembered might strike me…

How Poetry Burns

This blog post could be called so many things: how time burns, how love burns, how loss burns. I have stepped away from this blog for 18 months to attend to various fires in my own life – some destructive and some restorative. I will be returning, slowly, to say more about these experiences over…

The Joys of the Pre-Order

Last year, I pre-ordered two debut poetry collections: The Sobbing School by fellow Marshall Scholar Joshua Bennett and The Knowledge Weapon by the winner of Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition, Annette C. Boehm. I was desperate to read these collections so I ordered them the first chance I got. Then I waited, full of the…

Finnish Poetry

I am writing this post from a warm and colourful studio in Central Finland, sipping tea and eating pumpkin seed bread. This week, on behalf of Cardiff University, I am visiting the University of Jyväskylä to observe seminars, give presentations, teach workshops and learn more about creative writing in Finland. It has been extraordinary so far…

Vetoed Wedding Poems

I got married last week. After years of saying I would never get married, I did. I suppose I always believed that marriage would stifle me, take away my freedoms, hinder my ability to pursue my passions. However, over the last six years my partner has done the opposite: he builds platforms, creates more opportunities, supports…

Blogs, Brownies, and Goodbyes

Two weeks ago I finished teaching my ten week ‘Blog and Creative Writing’ course at Dowlais Library in Merthyr Tydfil. It was certainly a bittersweet experience. As it happened, our last session fell on my birthday so my core group surprised me with some wonderful presents which included homemade ‘American’ brownies, a chocolate fudge cake,…