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.

Fay Roberts – Blissful Chance

This week I welcome poet, storyteller, musician and registered logophile Fay Roberts to the podcast. Fay is at the heart of the poetry and spoken word scene in Cambridge, endlessly creating opportunities for poets to perform and publish their work. They are also a prolific writer and performer with strong reputation on the national scene having performed at Edinburgh Fringe, Glastonbury Festival and Hammer and Tongue National Finals to name a few.

Enjoy this performance blending words and music before tuning into the podcast to hear Fay talk about their latest projects and read some new poems.