Launch of John Barnie’s poetry collections, with Cinnamon Press
Last night a truly international audience of poetry lovers shared the experience of hearing John Barnie’s exceptional reading of poems from two of his collections published by Cinnamon Press. Cinnamon’s Jan Fortune introduced John and his poetry, and conducted the proceedings in her customary engaging and profound manner. It is a credit to her and to John that the reading was followed by a series of interesting and insightful questions and comments, which enlightened us further on John’s journey into poetry and language, his Welshness and many other interesting topics.
In Afterlives John responds to Welsh paintings in Peter Lord’s collection, with economical, often tongue-in-cheek and socially argute words, masterfully read. As a member of the audience has since commented, we were offered ‘…a kind of tridimensionality – the sitter’s, the artist’s and the poet’s, with his interpretation, in many cases, of the sitter’s possible thoughts.’
A Report to Alpha Centauri is dark, at time despairing and alway urgent, a vison of the slippery slope to humanity’s ultimate self destruction and the destruction of nature. John’s skill with, and love of, words from languages from different eras and places come across in the poems’ musical and rhythmic qualities, enhanced again by his extraordinary reading voice.
Both books, and all the volumes on Cinnamon’s exhaustive list can be purchased from cinnamonpress.com
Use the code AUTUMN20 to get a 20% discount on all books in any one basket.
Family, Animals and Other Things – Zoom reading on June 24
For former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, a poem is ‘a flashlight, an instrument of discovery’. I don’t think this can be surpassed as the most perfect concise definition of poetry.
Sarah Westcott, Gordon Meade, Gillie Robic and Neetha Kunaratnam confirmed this definition last night with verses that shone a light on and helped us discover many different ‘elsewheres’ – some painfully real, like the moment a cancer diagnosis is received; or when a parent is desperately worried about a child’s health; or when one witnesses a parent’s sickness or when caged animals are given a voice. Others almost mythical, where one flies again with an injured bird, watches hawks, listens to ‘the old man by the sea’ or floats out to the ocean without flipflops through a flooded London… And others again, where you’re taken for a literal ride with family members to times and a society so different that it feels like watching a Hollywood movie.
Beautiful voices and not only in the poetic sense. Sarah, Gordon, Gillie and Neetha have beautiful reading voices and I could have listened to them for a lot longer. Comments from the audience expressed the same. If you enjoyed the evening, or if you didn’t make it and would like to read their work, here are some links:
You can order Sarah’s books from the publisher https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/
Gordon’s Zoospeak is published by Enthusiastic Press.
Gillie’s books are published by Live Canon https.//www.livecanon.co.uk/store
Neetha’s collection Just Because is published by Smokestack Books.