The Ladies of the Boat House

Once again I had a wonderful weekend at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse, where I am currently Writer in Residence.

The views are very inspiring; the people extremely interesting.

This weekend I mostly wrote poetry postcards with the visitors, who came from all over – Wales, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, the US.

I’ll be documenting some of the poems written in a later blog post.

For now, I just thought I would share a poem I wrote on Sunday, inspired by the ladies who were working tirelessly in the kitchen just behind me, while I enjoyed writing and engaging with the wonderful people who visited.

This is for the ladies of the boathouse! Thank you for your chat, kindness, and cakes x

The Ladies of the Boathouse

The window at my back cracks
open like a mouth, into this place
where a poet once was, and
where these women now are.

The heart of the house, these days,
is its stomach – its scones which
warm our noses; its soups which
pepper the salty air with herbs.

China teeters neatly in this kitchen,
where cups and plates are washed
as clean as teeth.

The women with precision are
baking, boiling, serving,
washing up the dishes
in the soapy, crumbloved sink.

Their work is just to feed the rising
tide of visitors, each day
a swell of such that
fills the slabstoned back,

as they make jokes and Welsh cakes;
chit-chat and cafe lattes;
these ladies of the Boathouse who are
its floury, hob-cwtched heart.

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Eight Pounds Ninety Nine Pence

I am halfway through Six Pounds Eight Ounces, the debut novel by young Rhondda writer Rhian Elizabeth. Although I’ve not yet finished, I thought I’d give you all a heads up to the fact that the official Cardiff launch is at Chapter, 7pm, tomorrow evening (Friday).

Part-young Shirley Valentine, part-Minnie the Minx – but with a heart that I suspect is slightly more Anne of Green Gables – Rhian Elizabeth is one of many bright and budding authors whose prosaic and prose-y talents are just beginning to unfold. Boisterous and blithe, humorous and heart-felt, raw and ribald, Six Pounds Eight Ounces is a dark and delightful bruise of a book – one that you kind of admire, though, and want to keep pressing your finger into. Pain and love and death and friendship are all interlinked, here, in the world of Hannah King, self-confessed liar and the hero(ine) of our story.

The first line itself is a cracker: “My first word was clock only it came out as cock”. Eat that, Dickens’ David Copperfield! And this is only the start. Funny as hell, and with characters who seem as real and right there as your own genitals, this is the literary equivalent of seeing a beautiful shooting star before being smacked on the head by it. You’re gladdened by the rare magic of the occurance, but you’re also a bit stunned, like.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Also, there will be a cake at the event that looks like this, as well as wine, music, and readings by the lovely Rhian. What more could you want? I will see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/255745841261960/

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P.S. The book is priced very reasonably, by the way. Hence the title of this blog post!