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Christina Thatcher – Fire Poems

Cardiff-based poet Christina Thatcher discusses her second collection How to Carry Fire published by Parthian Books.

How to Carry Fire was born from the ashes of family addiction. Beginning with the burning down of her childhood home, Thatcher explores how firecan both destroy and cleanse. Her work recognises embers everywhere: in farmhouses, heroin needles, poisonous salamanders.”

Christina share some poems and talks about the experiences that inspired this powerful collection.

Christina challenges you to write your own poem inspired by fire. This could be a literal fire (like a bonfire, campfire, home fire, wild fire, etc) or a metaphorical fire (like the fuel for passion, love, determination, etc). Whatever sparks your interest! 

Please share you poems via email here or on social media using #poetrynonstop.

Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off campus too as the Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review, a tutor for The Poetry School, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. Her poetry and short stories have featured in over 50 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, And Other Poems, Acumen and The Interpreter’s House and more. Her most recent poetry collection, How to Carry Fire, will launch in April 2020 with Parthian Books. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.  

Christina Thatcher – How To Carry Fire

Cardiff-based poet Christina Thatcher is set to release her second poetry collection How To Carry Fire. Here is the title poem from the book due to be published by Parthian Books on April 2nd. Look out for the next podcast when Christina will be talking about the collection and sharing more poems.

How to Carry Fire

Conjure every fire you have ever read about—
London’s gutting, Brisbane’s breadless

factory, Boston’s burning. Remember
your aching home, the leftovers

of your childhood journals flaking
in the hot shell of your bedroom.

Bring these to a furnace at the front, stoke
with the poker your father pressed into

your mother’s neck. Take what those flames
can give you. Feel heat enter your stomach.

Stay wary now. You must never let the light
go out. Keep it lit until you learn to glow.

Christina Thatcher

This poem was originally published on Anthropocene poetry where you can also read two other poems.

How to Carry Fire was born from the ashes of family addiction. Beginning with the burning down of her childhood home, Thatcher explores how fire can both destroy and cleanse. Her work recognises embers everywhere: in farmhouses, heroin needles, poisonous salamanders.

Thatcher reveals how fire is internalised and disclosed through anxiety, addiction, passion and love. Underneath and among the flames runs the American and Welsh landscapes – locations which, like fire itself, offer up experiences which mesmerise, burn and purify. This poignant second collection reminds us of how the most dangerous and volatile fires can forge us – even long after the flames have died down.

Shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition in 2015 and a winner in the Terry Hetherington Award for Young Writers in 2016, Christina Thatcher’s poetry and short stories have featured in over 50 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, And Other Poems, Acumen and The Interpreter’s House. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017.

How to Carry Fire can be ordered here

Listen to Christina talking about her first collection More Than You Were in this interview from 2016

Episode 17: Andy Bennett – 28 (or more) sonnets later

Performance poet and master of sonnets Andy Bennett discusses what sonnets are and why he loves them so much. He recites some of his own written for his annual writing challenge 28 Sonnets Later in which he and three other poets take turns writing a sonnet for each day of February. He also offers tips on writing sonnets and why the sonnet isn’t stuffy old-fashioned poetry but a diverse form which can unlock your creativity – just don’t be scared of iambic pentameter!

You can hear a sonnet Patrick wrote following this interview and hopefully you will be inspired to write one yourself. As always do share your work via email here or online using #poetrynonstop.

You can read all the sonnets for 28 Sonnets Later here and Ozymandias, the sonnet Andy opened with here.

Andy Bennett – Farewell! Farewell! But This I Tell

Norwich performance poet and master of the sonnet Andy Bennett is the guest on the next podcast. He will be sharing some of his own sonnets, explaining the form and all its beautiful variations and telling us why we shouldn’t be afraid of sonnets but read them, love them and even try to write them. Here is one of his contributions to 28 Sonnets Later – an annual writing challenge he founded which runs each February. He and three other poets write a sonnet for each day of the month. You can read them all here.

Farewell! farewell! but this I tell

“Have you been stopping wedding guests again?
Ah, Dave, ya knobber! Sorry mate, he’s pissed –
he does this sometimes. Every now and then
he gets all strange and- well, you got the gist.
What was it this time? Grizzled Sailor, yeah?
Some supernatural yarn of salty weirdness?
Mate, don’t be fooled – ignore the crazy stare,
and this is fake – he’s actually quite beardless.
The smell, I’m sad to say, is all his own,
the suit, as you can see’s had better days.
The tie, the shoes, the cufflinks, they’re all mine.
I think he misses Julie, truth be known:
it’s weddings kinda make him act this way,
but odd enough, at funerals he’s fine.”

Michał Choiński – The Prototype

This bonus podcast focuses on a single poem by Michał Choiński from his new pamphlet Gifts Without Wrapping. Michał discusses how observing a woman studying a sculpture in a Berlin museum inspired this poem which explores classic concepts of beauty and the body.

You can follow Michał on Twitter here and buy Gifts Without Wrapping from Hedgehog Press here


Michał Choiński teaches English and American literature at the Jagiellonian University (Kraków, Poland) He is the author of two academic books in which he studies the rhetorical aspects of early modern and modern literature: “Rhetoric of the Revival” (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2016) and “Southern Hyperboles” (LSU 2020). In 2020 Choiński was awarded with Senior Fulbright Fellowship at Yale University. Choiński’s first poetic pamphlet “Gifts Without Wrapping” came out with the Hedgehog Press in November 2019. It was a winner of White Label poetry competition. In his free time, Choiński works as a concert promoter in Poland, working mostly with alternative, folk and neofolk music scene.

Episode 16: Piers Harrison-Reid – Poetry on the NHS

Upcoming Norwich poet Piers Harrison-Reid talks about his roles as nurse and poet and how they have come together to produce poems that capture the joy, hope, grief and fragility of human life. He shares some of his poetry and talks about how he is giving a voice to others working for the NHS. He also shares an exercise on writing poems based on your experiences of healthcare.

piersthepoet.co.uk

Piers Harrison-Reid – What is a Norwich?

Forthcoming guest Piers Harrison-Reid pays homage to his hometown in this video. The upcoming poet from Norwich draws on his experiences as a nurse to write poems that capture the joy, hope, grief and fragility of human life. Catch him on the podcast later this week as he shares some poems, talks about what inspires him and how he is giving a voice to others working in the NHS.