The tragedy here really lies in the bureaucracy that has surrounded this decision and the loss to Pennard to offer a fitting memorial to a man who had spent his life creating a psycho-geographic legacy, not only of this corner of Wales, but the breadth and depth of the land, and its history through his work.
On the eve of the publication by Mouthfeel Press of Hummingbird Mind, her second chapbook, I caught up with her for a conversation about poetry, the the prairie, Tchaikovsky and more.
I first got into Spoken Word around 2001. I was a part of a DJ outfit & we used to play Funk/Hip Hop/Garage/R&B at clubs up and down the UK (And even hit Ibiza). We were planning a special Valentine's night & there was this guy who wanted to propose to his girlfriend by reading her a poem.
The most immediately striking thing about an evening of spoken word is the almost tangible electricity in the air. No one is quite sure what to expect because every act differs in tone, delivery, style and content which turns the evening into a mad up and down trajectory of individuals pouring their hearts and minds into a microphone for an appreciative audience.
Poetry for me is now gloriously blurred with colours, images, musics, streaming video, satellites. It is time to give it a new name. It is no longer 'hard', it is not elitist, it is not rarefied or magical or the arena of a select few, it is a safe environment to play with anything you want, without boundaries or judgement.
So what can we get from a Wardwesân reading? It either sounds good, or it doesn't; without the expert guidance of Frédéric Werst, the sense of the sounds is a closed book. It's an anti-intentionalist's nightmare. It's also, perhaps, in one reading - and whether you find this liberating or disturbing will depend on a number of criteria - a logical extension of what we do as writers when we put together sounds into words, and those words into poems.
If you like to think of your poems as horses (as I do), this is anyone's race.
What I want to talk about today is hard. Not because it's difficult or forbidding, although it might well be both those things, but because it's the erect penis of a Victorian man.
Not for the first time, I have been tempted to compare myself negatively to Lord Byron. Like a large proportion of the young men of his time and class, the Romantic lothario spent the years 1809 to 1811 on a Grand Tour of Europe, absorbing the cultural, artistic and military history of tourist hotspots from Spain to Albania.