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.

Events

‘Proper’ summer is finally here and, while I’m reluctant to start thinking about autumn, I am inevitably and joyfully beginning to plan the first event of the ‘new term’. The first thing I did was to look back at all the in-words events from the very first one in January 2017, and I realised that over five years I hosted 49 readings, including a number of lectures by Graham Fawcett. 49! What shall I do for the 50th? I’m thinking that, although it would limit the numbers in the audience, I would really love to have an in-person event at the West Greenwich Library, like ‘in the old days’. And you never know, I may even be able to get to grips with ‘hybrid’…. Of course, it will depend of many factors, and as soon as I can, I shall post a date if not a full programme.

I love the new animation at the top of my homepage. Thanks to Paul Kley for creating it. The words on the flying page are not a quotation but a whole poem, a favourite of mine, by the Italian hermetic poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. It is impossible to translate, though countless attempts have been made. I am sure you can guess its meaning and I leave you to create your own ‘translation’ of it. Ungaretti fought in the trenches and those two lines represent a moment one morning – pared down to a sense of the absolute, maybe also of possibilities?

As we emerge from a not-yet-over pandemic and wake up every morning feeling the dread of conflict but also aware of the beauty of spring and the blessing of nature and community, Ungaretti’s words are more than ever appropriate.

I am taking a break from organising things over the summer. Whether I will be as dynamic as the train above, or I’ll take time on a siding, I’m not yet sure.

Either way, I am always happy to hear from you with thoughts and ideas, and wish to thank you for your support so far.

Be well!