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.
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.
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.
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.
Rob Auton talks about how he finds poetry in unexpected places. Writing about the everyday, finding beauty in the mundane keeps his fascination with the world alive. He talks about the shows he has written on subjects including water, the sky, sleep and yellow. He also offers an exercise on writing poetry inspired by everyday objects.
Rob is currently touring the Time show – his eighth consecutive Edinburgh Fringe show and is also developing this year’s Fringe show about crowds. On top of that he is releasing a daily podcast where you can hear poems, monologues and stories each day in his inimitable style.
Join Rob as he shares a few of his poems and offers the following exercise to help you find poetry somewhere you might not think of looking:
Go to Argos, open a catalogue and point to an item at random them write a poem about it. Try to write something however uninspiring it may seem. Free write, try word association think of memories, places, people and activities that the item makes you think of. Let your mind wonder and see where it takes you. Then share your poem on social media using #poetrynonstop or by email and lets see if between us we can create a complete Argos catalogue of poems. You can hear Patrick’s response in the form of a riddle on the podcast.
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.
Cambridge-based poet Fay Roberts was recently appointed poet in residence at Peterborough Market for the Syntax Poetry Festival. They became intimately acquainted with the people and history of this place they came to see as still being at the heart of the city if sometimes undervalued. The experience has spurred them on to bring poetry to a wider audience and to places it doesn’t usually belong especially in Cambridge where they have been the driving force behind a thriving poetry and spoken word scene for many years.
Fay talks about their experiences of the residency and shares some of the poems they wrote. They also offer a writing exercise to get anyone writing a poem about anything – or lemons in the first instance.
Set a timer for two minutes and write as many words and phrases you associate with the word Lemons. There are no “correct” associations! And if your mind springs off into other associations from those associated words and phrases, write those down as well.
Review your list/ paragraph/ three words/ scrawl. Anything else to add to your toolkit? Take one minute maximum to do that.
Set a timer for ten minutes and start writing, using the words and phrases in your toolkit. Let yourself write freely, just as you did during the toolkit section – this is your poem, and there’s no “correct” way for it to be. Be sure to check your timer occasionally so that you know when it’s time to start rounding off what you’re writing
Review your poem/ microfiction/ anecdote/ epic ode to citrus. Does it need anything to finish it off, or is it done now? Take two minutes maximum to roughly polish, chop, and round it off.
Congratulations! You have written a new piece. It took you fifteen minutes and it’s pretty damned good, if you say so yourself. And you now have a simple technique to get you started when you have something specific that you want/ need to write about.
So, when life gives you lemons write poetry! You can hear how Patrick got on at the end of the podcast and as always please share your own responses by email here or on social media using #poetrynonstop.