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Dylan Thomas Boathouse
Dylan's Walk, Laugharne
Carmarthenshire, SA33 4SD

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Managed by Carmarthenshire County Council Discover Dylan Thomas

Poem in October


Inspired by “Poem in October”, the Dylan Thomas Boathouse is hosting five different poets in residence during October 2016. The month starts on Saturday 1st with Professor Tony Curtis, who is at the Boathouse to launch his new book of collected verse to celebrate his 70th “year to heaven”. Join this respected academic between 11-1pm to discuss poetry, Dylan and a variety of other topics.

From Sunday 2nd until Saturday 8th join Clare Ferguson-Walker. "Clare is a multi award winning poet and comedienne, both as a performer and as a page poet. Her first collection "Ghost Writer" came out in 2014 to critical acclaim, Menna Elfyn describes it as a "fantastic collection from an electrifying poet."

Clare has supported the likes of Phill Jupitus and is a regular supporter of Dr John Cooper Clark, and has performed all over the U.K and Ireland. Clare has worked with hundreds of school children running creative writing workshops, and was chosen by Literature Wales for the Dylan 100 centenary workshops. She is currently touring her 5 star Edinburgh show "California Scheming" and has recently had her first short ghost story published in an anthology alongside other comedians such as Stuart Lee and Rufus Hound."

Clare is planning a washing line of poetry in honour of Polly Garter, a “lucky dip” of objects to inspire poems and a “painting with words” portrait of Dylan.

On Sunday 9th the reins are handed on to John Bilsborough, a familiar face at the Boathouse. Activities would include the usual popular things like making small books to celebrate their visit, impromptu 'join-in' readings, a selection of poetry by John, by Dylan Thomas and that of others. John would also like to invite some other writers and musicians to share their time with him, so it will be a busy and productive week.

John has said, “On the theme of "A Poem in October", I've had some ideas. I'd like, of course, to write a piece while I'm there. I'll have had my birthday the week before and, whilst I'm not yet twice the age that Dylan Thomas was when he died, I'm not that far off! I want to some draw on of the facets of his personality and his poetry that isn't always remembered - his love of the visual aspect - pattern poetry, poems in shapes, private jokes, unobtrusive rhymes, visual wordplay and so on.”

After John’s stay, we welcome Glyn Edwards, from Sunday 16th until Monday 24th, another award winning poet and a huge fan of Dylan Thomas. Glyn is hugely excited to be coming to the Boathouse and has exciting plans.

‘On this high hill in a year’s turning’

Glyn will be writing a response to ‘Poem in October’ during the week for his collection ‘Conversations’, due to be published in 2018, mimicking the form, themes and natural imagery of the original but assuming the narrative voice of Dylan Thomas’ close friend, the poet, Vernon Watkins.

‘The mystery sang alive still in the water and singing birds’

Glyn will be encouraging visitors to experiment with shape, structure and imagery in their own writing. From the same collection as ‘Poem in October’, ‘Deaths and Entrances’, the poem ‘Vision and Prayer’ is a series of diamond and hourglass shapes built around specific syllabic patterns. Glyn will be challenging visitors to attempt these quick, fun writing exercises by selecting words prompts from Dylan’s poems, while younger visitors will be encouraged to try the tricky, alliterative word games that Dylan used to use as a warm-up.

‘The knock of sailing boats on the net-webbed wall’

Each day of his residency, Glyn will select a new stanza from ‘Poem in October’ and ask visitors to explore the imagery involved in it. Each visitor will be given their own individual image and, by considering the specific effect Dylan was attempting, will draw their own interpretation. At the end of each day, he will edit the pictures into a still-image film and, at the end of the week, will have a complete 2016 version of the Dylan’s poem. Will you be able to find your own picture in it?

The Wales Arts Review described Glyn Edwards recently as one of the ‘most exciting young voices in Welsh poetry’. He is currently completing his debut collection, ‘Conversations’, that will be published in 2018. As well as being an award-winning poet, he is a teacher at Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn, in Colwyn Bay.

Finally, and though last by no means least, we welcome Mab Jones back to the Boathouse from Tuesday 25th to Sunday 30th October.

Mab Jones is a "unique talent" (The Times) who has read her work all over the UK, in the US, France, Ireland and Japan. She is winner of the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Audience Award, the Liverpool Lennon Performance Poetry competition, the Word Factory Neil Gaiman Short Story competition, and the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, amongst others. Her recent collection, 'take your experience and peel it', is published by Indigo Dreams. She teaches creative writing at Cardiff University, writers for the New York Times, and presents a poetry programme on BBC Radio 4 this coming November. She also coordinates International Dylan Thomas Day.

She too is planning a range of activities to inspire and encourage visitors. Come along and join in with this series of exciting activities, which are free, and help celebrate a “Poem in October”.