10th April Monday 7:30pm
Phil Bowen and Ric Hool
Phil Bowen is a poet, playwright and performer will be reading from ‘This Here Guitar’ -thirty-three and a third poems infused with the spirit of Rock ‘n ‘Roll from the fifties onwards, accompanied by Ric on guitar.
Other recent work includes the script for multi award-winning film ‘ Love Somehow ‘- shown at Bafta – November 2016 and several forthcoming festivals in 2017 and’Orange Blind’ – poems after the Scottish Colourists
Previous work includes’Nowhere’s Far’- Salt Publications – New and Selected poems – 1990 – 2008 and Cuckoo Rock – a musical for children – Sterts Theatre on the Moor – 2013
“Whether laugh-out-loud funny or staring into the abyss, Phil’s highly distinctive poems are written with great originality, rhythm and nerve.”
Ric Hool since living in Wales has become well established, as a reviewer of poetry in magazines and a creative writing tutor for a wide range of literary projects across Wales. For the last 23 years he has organised the much admired and respected poetry reading series based Upstairs at The Hen and Chicks in Abergavenny. Ric has nine collections of poetry published by the Collective Press. Red Squirrel Press and Cinnamon Press. His latest collection, ‘Between so many words’ was published earlier this year.
Ric’s poetic themes are the psychological and geographical impact of place and space on the human experience. Water is a theme, poured from place to place and from experience to experience: an agent of informing. ‘His poems have nerve…he ploughs a lone furrow, but like all poets of true originality, he carries his song fully along that furrow.’
8th May Monday 7:30pm
John Barnie and Giles L. Turnbull
John Barnie, poet and essayist, was born and raised in the market town of Abergavenny. He is the author of over 20 collections of poetry and essays, many of which are concerned with the environment and the natural world. His work has been translated into Italian, Danish and Estonian. Previously he was editor of the influential political and cultural magazine, ’Planet: The Welsh Internationalist’ During 2016 he has been poet in residence at the Museum of Natural History, Oxford University, working with the Visions of Nature Project.
John’s poetry collection ‘Trouble in Heaven’ (Gomer 2007) was the Wales Book of the Year 2008. Cinnamon Press has published three collections of his poems, ‘The Forest Under the Sea’ ‘The Roaring Boys’ and in 2016, ‘Wind playing with a Man’s Hat’
John’s work has appeared in a wide variety of journals and anthologies and he has toured throughout the UK and abroad, reading his poems and playing guitar in a number of blues and poetry bands, including Bad Boys and Hollow Log. His latest book is a memoir, ‘Footfalls in the Silence’ He is now a freelance writer, based in Aberystwyth.
Giles L. Turnbull is a blind poet living in south east Wales. He spent the first half of his life in North Yorkshire, living in Harrogate until becoming an honorary Welshman after moving to Swansea University to study chemistry. He has lived in South Wales ever since apart from a 5 year sojourn Stateside and two years in London.
He has been writing poetry since his late teens. His poems and articles have been published in magazines and by Fair Acre Press, Rockland and Poetry Wales. He was shortlisted in the 2015/16 Cinnamon Press single poem prize, and his debut pamphlet, ‘Dressing Up’ is published by Cinnamon this year.
He is a regular participant in creative writing and poetry groups, including those run by poet and playwright Mair De-Gare Pitt at the Power Station Centre in Cwmbran, south Wales, and online with poet Kevin Higgins in the Over The Edge series in Galway, Republic of Ireland
‘Poems themselves like to have a little time for their words to get to know each other – gossip and squabble, fall out and flirt’.
12th June Monday 7:30pm
Isabel Palmer, Rebecca Bilkau and Rhiannon Hooson
Isabel Palmer was born in Presteigne, Powys but now lives in Wiltshire. She is a freelance writer, a former English teacher and the new co-editor of Flarestack Poets. Her debut pamphlet, Ground Signs (Flarestack Poets, 2014) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice.
She has been interviewed about her poetry on ‘The World at One’ by Martha Kearney and twice on BBC Wiltshire. Her poems have been published in a number of magazines including, ‘the North’, ‘Stand’ and ‘The Frogmore Papers’. She has been Poet in Residence at Marlborough College and at Ibstock Place School, Roehampton, London and has read at poetry events including ‘States of Independence’ and the Swindon Poetry Festival.
Isabel’s first full-length collection, ‘Atmospherics,’ with a foreword by Sir Andrew Motion, was published by Bloodaxe Books in a four-poet book entitled ‘Home Front’, which was launched at Dulwich Literary Festival on Remembrance Sunday, 2016.
Rebecca Bilkau was born in the north west of England and educated in London, Oxford and Lancaster. She worked in advertising and the media before turning peacenik in Northern Ireland.
Better late than never, she married a German and now lives in Lower Saxony. Her first book ‘Weather Notes’ is described by Graham Mort as being poetry of ‘great formal beauty and musicality. In her pamphlet ‘Sending for New Omens’, her take on old tales and hardscrabble lives found in her adopted country, Neil Fulwood describes her work as ’empathetic and sensitive’.
Rebecca is the founder and collator of Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, an entirely quixotic anthology outfit, and has also been involved in Poetry on the Lake, a poetry festival held on Isola San Guilio an island on Lake Orta, Italy, where she met Rhiannon who had been invited to read.
Rhiannon Hooson is an award-winning Welsh poet, author and academic, now based in the Marches, and living just outside Presteigne, She studied and later taught at Lancaster University, where she completed a PhD in Poetry. She has also spent time living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Rhiannon’s work has variously been described as uncompromising and sharp-edged, compelling and provocative, and at the forefront of literary female voices. She has won major accolades for her poetry, including an Eric Gregory award. Her first pamphlet, ‘This Reckless Beauty’, was published in 2004, and she has since been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies, reading at venues across the UK and Europe. Her first full length collection, ‘The Other City,’ has been published by Seren , to much acclaim.
10th July Monday 7:30pm
David J. Costello and Sheila Templeton
David J. Costello lives in Wallasey, England. He is a member of Chester Poets and North West Poets. David is a previous winner of the Welsh International Poetry Competition (2011) and one of the runners-up (2015). He was also a prize-winner in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize (2015). His publishing credits include Prole, Orbis, The Penny Dreadful, Shooter, Magma, Zoomorphic and Envoi.
David’s first pamphlet, ‘Human Engineering,’ was published in 2013 by Thynks Publishing. ‘No Need For Candles’, his most recent pamphlet, was published by Red Squirrel Press (2016), and the same publisher will be publishing a full collection in September 2019.
Sheila Templeton writes in both Scots and English. She has won the McCash Scots Language Poetry Competition twice, also the Robert McLellan Poetry Competition…as well as many other poetry prizes. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers and read on Radio Scotland. From 2009 to 2010, she had the honour of being the Makar of the Federation of Writers, Scotland and she is a popular, engaging performer of her own work. Her most recent collections are Digging for Light (New Voices Press 2011), Tender is the North, (Red Squirrel Press 2013) and Gaitherin (Red Squirrel Press 2016).
‘She is a fine poet who writes with a pleasing grace and subtlety and this collection should further enhance her reputation’…..Eleanor Livingstone on Tender is the North.
‘For many years, Templeton’s voice, richly Scots, tuneful and melodic (she is a wonderful reader of her poetry!), has been widely heard in poetic and public circles….Gaitherin brings together a wonderful collection of poems in Scots and English, some of which have already received public accolades and prizes’….Rab Wilson on Gaitherin.