Devolved Voices at #AberAAA

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…

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?!

Extracts of ongoing studies of Welsh poets available on our website

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.


‘Family and Community: The Poetry of Jonathan Edwards’

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.

Jonathan Edwards shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards

Jonathan Edwards, who was recently interviewed by Devolved Voices, has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2014 (Poetry Category). Jonathan, a 2014 poetry debutant with My Family and Other Superheroes from Seren, is shortlisted alongside well-established talents Lavinia Greenlaw (for A Double Sorrow, Faber), Kei Miller (for The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, Carcanet) and Colette Bryce (for The Whole and Rain-domed Universe, Picador).

You can view our interview with Jonathan here.

Article in Planet 216

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.

Recent interview additions to the Devolved Voices collection

The Devolved Voices interview collection is continuing to grow. Recent additions to the collection include Philip Gross, Anna Lewis, Zoë Brigley, Patrick McGuinness, and Jonathan Edwards. Please do also explore the many fascinating interviews now housed on our site!

Interviews with Dai George, Kate North and Nia Davies

The latest addition to the Devolved Voices website is a trio of fascinating interviews with Dai Geprge, Kate North, and new editor of Poetry Wales, Nia Davies. You can also browse the library of existing interviews by either clicking on the links to the right or using the drop-down ‘Media’ menu.