Poetry of Angela Platt

This month Newport poet Angela Platt sadly passed away. I knew Angela through the local Poetry Society Stanza group she ran. She welcomed a small group of poets into her home each month where we would enjoy conversation and discuss each other’s latest work in relaxed, homely atmosphere.

Angela always lived life to the full and her wealth of life experience came through in her poems. She remained active right to the end publishing her final collection Crossing the Bloodline with Cinnamon Press this year. She had hoped to record a podcast for Poetry Non-Stop but unfortunately this wasn’t possible.

It is however a pleasure to share this reading from an event I held in Cardiff back in 2016.

www.angelaplattpoet.com

Olly Watson – Jumper

Olly Watson is a firm favourite on the Norwich spoken word scene and has performed all over the country including the National Poetry Slam finals in London and four solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Tune in to the forthcoming podcast to hear more of his poetry and what inspires him. Here’s a taste of his poetry and you can see his Edinburgh show, A Thatcher’s Guide to Dogging in Bungay, below.

Jumper

His jumper was to big for him, but it looked warm.
I sat alone because no-one I knew liked poetry
and I hadn’t asked.
“You want to come to see a poet with me?
So I don’t have to play on my phone, look busy, look wanted.”
he read and all I could think about was his jumper
where it would fall on my thighs,
how it would be great to sleep in.
I used to have a similar jumper, which you used to steal.
It had a hood, but his was yellow and sailorish
so they were probably equal.
I think I left it on a beach in North Norfolk
on that last holiday we had, when the kids were little
and we could barely stand each other,
and we hoped they wouldn’t notice that one of us
was always, “Popping for ice cream,” or,
“Just having a nap.”
One night it rained and we were all trapped in the tent.
One last night to be sure,
then, whatever came next.

Olly Watson

David Hanlon – Taking Flight

Bristol-based confessional poet David Hanlon will be joining me on the podcast to discuss his debut chapbook Spectrum of Flight available from Animal Heart Press. Here’s a poem from the book:

Taking flight

Under night’s clawed grip
I still emerge
nestling into fledgling
into full grown

Small
bird into golden eagle

Overpowering size
I raptor-bully my way free
shimmer like a precious stone
broad wings extend into an equator

The warm-blooded
all of me

Each appendage a blade
a soldier on the front line
plumage-army

I embrace my feather-frilled distance

Feel my talons / scythes
cut
through earth / through stone
arrowhead beak / hooked
predator-sharp

Lion-boys stumble
at my earthquake-felt
beating

Whipping up sandstorms
choke-taste
metallic / smoke / dirt

Cyber yellow scale feet
unclench
hangings of fish hooks
thrown into the air

Tawny-coloured carnivores / nest-
twig-legged / look up
with dull
starved-sick eyes

See a small bird
glint-golden
in the mocking-blue sky
hear its nourishing barrage

David Hanlon

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

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.

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.

Pete Bearder – Don’t Watch the News – Be the News

This week musician and performance poet Pete Bearder joins me on the podcast to discuss his book on spoken word and performance poetry Stage Invasion.

Described by Ian McMillan as “a manifesto, party invitation, learned tome, history of ideas and soundtrack for exciting and scary times” and “the book we’ve all been waiting for”, Stage Invasion draws on academic scholarship, interviews with key figures in UK spoken word, and Bearder’s own decades of experience, to take us on a tour of our long ‘oral tradition’ from Homer to hip hop and the global poetic movements that have shaped history, exploring the artistry and unexpected science at work in the communal dynamics of live literature, and examining the role performance poetry can play in politics and protest.

You can order the book here.

Rob Auton – Gravel Travel

Performance poet and comedian Rob Auton finds poetry in the small, the mundane and the everyday things we take for granted. He will be talking about his writing and performances and the shows he has been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe and nationwide for the last eight years. You can also hear his daily musings on the aptly named Rob Auton Daily Podcast.