There was a Devolved Voices presence at the Aberystwyth University ‘Access All Areas’ day this last Saturday, with two of the team – Peter Barry and Matthew Jarvis – staffing the stall for the Department of English & Creative Writing.
Prof. Peter Barry, ready and waiting before #AberAAA got going…
We had a busy afternoon, talking to people of primary school age and upwards. The activity that we’d arranged was a sort of poetry game – specifically a ‘cloze procedure’ task, in which words have been taken out of a poem so that participants have to decide which words should be chosen to fill the gaps. (The two poems that we used were by Jonathan Edwards, from his Costa Poetry Prize-winning collection My Family and Other Superheroes.) It was fascinating to see quite how much this gave us a chance to explore a whole range of ideas around meanings, rhythm, and register. And it was great to see people engaging so enthusiastically with poetry.
Our thanks go to the Department of English & Creative Writing for asking us to be their representatives. And to Aberystwyth University themselves…who very helpfully put us just across the room from the chocolate fountain, which kept a steady flow of people coming past our own stall. Chocolate then poetry – what’s not to like?!
Some extracts of work by Dr Matthew Jarvis are now available on our website. The first, an extract looking at Jonathan Edwards’s poetry of place, comes from Dr Matthew Jarvis’s recent lecture on the Costa Prize-winning poet’s My Family and Other Superheroes. The second, looking at the work of Dai George – ‘Poetry and the 99%’ – comes from ‘Devolutionary complexities: reading three new poets’ which is planned to appear in the volume Matthew Jarvis, ed., Devolutionary Readings: English-Language Poetry and Contemporary Wales, to be published by Peter Lang in 2016, as part of their Modern Poetry Series. The book will bring together a dozen essays, by a range of scholars, about post-1997 English-language poetry in Wales. Alongside Matthew’s book, I will be editing, in the same Modern Poetry Series, a selection of interviews with post-1997 poets under our Devolved Voices focus, which will also appear next year.
PDFs of the extracts are provided at the bottom of their web pages.
Dr Matthew Jarvis delivered a lecture on the poetry of Jonathan Edwards at The Bookshop, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 28 May 2015. The lecture, entitled ‘Family and Community: The Poetry of Jonathan Edwards’, can be found at this link on Soundcloud or at this link on YouTube. The event also included Jonathan reading from a selection of his work beforehand. With thanks to Simon Williams for the recording.
A new article appears in the latest Planet (216, Winter 2014) looking at nation-building, as well as wider issues of British and American influence with regards to our contemporary cohort of post-1997 poets. You can also find previous articles, exploring the genesis and aims of the project (‘From Back-story to Afterlife’), and the rise of women in the post-1997 context (‘Writing through the glass ceiling’), in Poetry Wales, issues 49.2 (Autumn 2013) and 49.3 (Winter 2013/14) respectively. Many thanks to Emily Trahair, editor of Planet, and former editor of Poetry Wales, Zoë Skoulding (very recently interviewed by Devolved Voices here), for providing space within their pages to explore the aims, and some of the observations and outcomes, to date.