Rita Dove believes that poetry is “language at its most distilled and most powerful.” The editing of a poem, therefore, is often an exercise in condensing – extracting the essential meaning of an earlier, longer draft. Most poets will recognise this task of chipping away and stripping down, but how many will relate to the lengthier creative process of our Issue #7 guest Rhys Milsom we aren’t sure.
Rhys’s first poetry collection Amnesia began as an unfinished novel. Encouraged by his university tutor Menna Elfyn, he stripped 90,000 words of prose down into a stark and powerful collection of poems, published by Onion Custard in 2015. Talking about his writing practice during our latest podcast, Rhys says he imagines himself cutting the tops off crops, and then working with the stem. His second collection, Transition (Accent Press, 2016), was written using the same method. A third is currently in progress.
As a creative writing tutor and workshop facilitator, Rhys’s insights prompt an interesting discussion on the craft of poetry during this issue’s podcast. But poets must still be judged on their output, and the three poems Rhys has recorded with us for this issue show that he is a poet whose end product is worth the considerable work he puts into it.
Issue #7, December 2017
RHYS MILSOM is a writer, creative writing tutor and workshop facilitator. Originally from Rhondda, he is now based in Cardiff. In 2016, Rhys was chosen to take part in the Hay Festival's Writers at Work project – a long-term professional development strategy to nurture Welsh writing talent, funded by Arts Council Wales.
His debut poetry collection, Amnesia, was published by Onion Custard in 2015. Accent Press later signed the rights to Amnesia and, to coincide with their launch of his second poetry collection Transition, re-released it in a second edition in 2016.
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