Date: Sunday 31st July
Price: £5.00 / £3.00
Exploring the borders between poetry and songwriting, between darkness and light, loss and celebration, Paul Henry shares poems from his new Seren collection, As If To Sing, along with works more familiar to his readers and also songs which emerged from poems.
The power of song, to sustain the human spirit, resonates through As if to Sing. A trapped caver crawls back through songs to the sea; Welsh soldiers pack their hearts into a song on the eve of battle, ‘for safe-keeping’; a child crossing a bridge sings ‘a song with no beginning or end’…. Blurring past and present, a ‘torchsong’ of music and light intensifies in ‘The Boys in the Branches’, a moving sequence to the poet’s sons.
“A stunning collection. Much of what you’d anticipate to find is here: the lyricism, the haunting evocations of memory, of loss, of absence… and an exploration of song in itself. What makes his poetry so effective is the nuances of white space and the spaces between words… The suggestiveness of his work is incredible.” – Paul Chambers on As If To Sing; The Review Show (BBC Radio Wales)
“He takes his place as one of the most important Welsh poets now writing.” – Carol Ann Duffy on The Glass Aisle
“This haunting, elegiac collection, about music, and made of music, leaves a reader’s mind full of phrases that catch the heart and lodge in the memory.” – Gillian Clarke on The Glass Aisle
“Paul Henry has much of his compatriot R.S.Thomas’s gift, in that poet’s later work, for terse, coolly forthright insightfulness.” – The TLS
“Henry is working at the core of lyric poetry, with love and loss and the ‘deeper river’.” – The Poetry Review
Paul Henry is an award-winning poet and song writer. His Seren books include Ingrid’s Husband, Boy Running and The Brittle Sea: New & Selected Poems. Originally a songwriter, a performance version of his collection The Glass Aisle, featuring songs co-written with Brian Briggs (Stornoway), recently toured UK festivals. Paul has guest-edited Poetry Wales and presented arts programmes for Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4. Photo credit: Zed Nelson