In Issue #7's podcast, our guest Rhys Milsom pointed listeners towards a collection that is full of sentiment without being sentimental, Richard recommended a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Adam endorsed a stunning debut collection from a former Crunch guest, and Rhys suggested picking up a mini coffee-table book about carving site-specific poems onto stone.
A Boat Called Annalise – Lynne Hjelmgaard
Seren Books, 2016
Lynne Hjelmgaard’s third collection A Boat Called Annalise evokes life on a sailboat, recalling a journey the poet took on a sailboat to the Caribbean and back to Europe with her husband. The couple’s relationship is poised on tensions, beautifully observed, as masculine/feminine, the need to assert and/or withdraw in the face of the turbulent seascape.
Our guest Rhys Milsom reviewed A Boat Called Annalise for Wales Arts Review in 2016. You can read Rhys's review here: walesartsreview.org/a-boat-called-annalise-by-lynne-hjelmgaard
A Boat Called Annalise is available to buy from serenbooks.com
The Monster Loves His Labyrinth – Charles Simic
Ausable Press, 2008
The Monster Loves His Labyrinth offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of poet Charles Simic. Passionate, witty, tender and curious, these notebook entries range from casual jottings to profound observations. Their subject is the vast array of ways in which we human beings try to make sense of our world.
Born in Yugoslavia in 1938, Charles Simic won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990. In 2007, he was appointed US Poet Laureate and received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.
The Monster Loves His Labyrinth is available to buy from coppercanyonpress.org
The Days After – Rebecca Parfitt
Listen Softly London, 2017
The Days After is the stunning debut collection from our Issue #5 guest Rebecca Parfitt. A moving, close-to-the-bone account of heartbreak, the poems record the trajectory of a relationship – from passionate infatuation, through tortuous unravelling and, finally, the promise of what will be lived afterwards. The collection was recently selected as one of The Cardiff Review's books of 2017: "...both delicate and powerful....Parfitt has a precise, sometimes devastatingly brittle, quality to her writing."
The Days After is available to buy from listensoftlylondon.com
Watch Rebecca reading some of the poems from The Days After here: crunchpoetry.com/rebecca-parfitt.html
Stanza Stones – Simon Armitage, Pip Hall and Tom Lonsdale
Enitharmon Press, 2013
In 2012, Simon Armitage was commissioned by the Ilkley Literature Festival to write six site-specific poems. Stanza Stones presents a record of the project to carve these poems onto stone along a new trail in England’s Pennine region.
With the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, Armitage found extraordinary, secluded sites for his words to be carved into stone. Stanza Stones brings together Armitage's six poems and the accounts of Hall and Lonsdale, publishing them alongside colour photographs of the project in progress and the stones in their completed state.
Stanza Stones is available to buy from enitharmon.co.uk
To hear what we said about these books in the 'What We're Reading' segment of the Issue #7 podcast, go here: crunchpoetry.com/issue-7.html
We're fiercely proud to be based in our hometown Swansea. Seven of the poets we've featured so far are Swansea residents, and the city and its environs provide the backdrop to many of our videos. Swansea is already a city of culture – the Swansea 2021 team have proved that with their inspirational #SwanseaIsCulture hashtag –but it would be so good for the city and its residents to take the official UK City of Culture title for 2021.
Prouder cities rise through the haze of time,
The Crunch fully supports Swansea's bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. Good luck to everyone involved today, let's hope the judges agree that #SwanseaIsCulture!