New titles from across Wales

Real Glasgow

Ian Spring
Revisiting his native city, Ian Spring’s new book charts how it has changed over the last forty years. In Real Glasgow he visits the city’s landmarks, and also his personal landmarks, overlaying the current map of Glasgow with the map in his memory.Among the shipyards of Govan, the tombs of the Necropolis and the dark beauty of St Mungo’s cathedral, the cathedrals of Ibrox and Hampden Park, the disappearing tenements, the growing café culture and old fashioned pubs, Spring recalls the vitality of past times and finds a new and different contemporary vitality.The characters of his childhood (as featured in the work of Billy Connolly, for example), largely hewn from heavy industry, brownstone courts and socialism have largely been reduced by education, the service industries and the benefits of consumerism. But as Real Glasgow attests, the city still has its idiosyncrasies and essentially Glaswegian aspects to be found nowhere else. Exploration and celebration, this book leaves the reader informed and entertained about one of the most famous cities in the world.
£9.99

Writing on Water

Maggie Harris
Maggie Harris’ stories are informed by the Caribbean, where she was born, and Britain where she has lived as an adult, and through them, the wider world. Issues of belonging and migration feature, but alongside these are growing interests in voice, narrative, gardening and botany, music and family. There are both UK and Caribbean voices in these tales, told by children, migrants, mothers, grandparents.This is a varied collection containing stories such as 'Sending for Chantal', telling a tale of Caribbean migration, set around the story of a child who hasn't seen her mum since she was 4 and is now in her 30s, which was Regional Winner of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014. Others include 'Sleeping Beauty', a rewrite with a Carribean twist; 'Writing on Water', illustrating a tussle between poetry and prose and 'The Other Side of the River' drawing on memories of Guyana and its mystical stories. 'Telling Barbie' is told in the voice of a child who is unable to speak to anyone apart from her Barbie doll and her immediate family due to her tangled traumatic and yet loving family life; 'Like Lizards Ride Water' was written in response to what then appeared to be a crisis of the 'boat people' in the Mediterranean, and 'Sugarcane for my sweetheart' delves into childlessness and childhood.
£8.99

Robert Graves: War Poems

Charles Mundye
Robert Graves: War Poems is a significant publishing event, the first book that draws together all of Robert Graves’s poems about the Great War and, even more significantly, brings into print for the first time the unpublished 1918 manuscript, The Patchwork Flag. The book includes poems written while Graves was on active service on the Western Front, and many published over a number of years after the war, which provide a more contemplative aspect to the subject. Graves’s is an authentic voice from someone who saw active service at Mametz Wood among other action, and whose experiences guided his work towards a realism not previously seen in poetry of the time.War Poems consists of Graves’s first two major published volumes: Over the Brazier (1916) and Fairies and Fusiliers (1917), and includes Goliath and David, also published in 1916, which was subsequently absorbed into Fairies and Fusiliers. Graves completed The Patchwork Flag for publication but never published. For many years it has lain in the Berg Collection, New York Public Library, and now appears, excitingly, almost a century after composition, an unexpected addition to the canon of First World War poetry.Graves’s 141 poems are accompanied by editor Charles Mundye’s critical and contextual Introduction, giving biographical and historical context and locating and ranking him amongst the other soldier poets of World War One: Sassoon, Owen, Thomas, Roseburg et al. The book also includes explanatory notes which explore specific biographical, cultural, military and historical contexts, and provide a sense of publishing history. The poems are published in their first edition, first impression form, a return to first principles also recently adopted in the new Penguin edition of Good-bye to All That, Graves’s 1929 classic war memoir, now a companion text to the War Poems.
£19.99

The Other City

Rhiannon Hooson
Rhiannon Hooson is a gifted young poet born in mid-Wales and currently living in the Welsh Marches. The Other City is her debut collection of poems.Sharply focused, beautifully resonant, deeply felt, these poems tend to travel in distinct streams: some reference and re-make narratives from classical Greek myth, featuring characters like Zeus, Narcissus, Ariadne, Ganymede; some rework elements of Welsh history, both ancient, as in ‘Y Bydd’, (inspired by a section of ‘The Stanzas of the Graves’ commemorating fallen warriors in the Black Book of Carmarthen, 12th Century), and modern as in ‘Elan’ where we we float through the eerie depths of a submerged Welsh village that was drowned to make a reservoir for Liverpool in the 60’s.There are also a number of poems exploring the idea of otherness and the uncanny, where actions are done and undone, and the familiar made unfamiliar: “the horrifying stillness of the rocking horse.” Or, in ‘Leaving’, the landscape is dismantled behind the protagonist, ruthlessly and meticulously: “the leaves were turning/ and the trees were lifted from their drab./ We remembered them also and burnt them whole...”This work is also characteristically steeped in winds and weathers, in the seasons of the year, from winters of fog and wet grass in the Welsh mountains, where the 12-year-old author strides down the hill, “heroic, a lamb under each arm” to hypnotic floodwaters in Ullswater, ‘Years later you’ll wake drenched with the moon’s/ long downpour of light...’ to various elsewhere both real: ‘almond trees blossoming in the streets of Jerusalem’, and imagined, as in the title poem where ‘missing men’ are sought in the “drab city of brick/ penned in by a summer’s haze.” ‘This is a beguiling debut from a poet who already has a recognizable voice and emotional register. Sensuous, musical, darkly involved, the poems make and confound their own realities. Each is beautifully detailed, each rich with memory and possibility, haunted by presence and absence, by a terrific and sometimes terrifying sense of the forces that condition human experience and relationships.The Other City is compelling and provocative work from an authentically engaged poetic imagination.’ – Graham Mort 
£9.99

Real Chester

Clare Dudman
Join novelist Clare Dudman as she explores within the city walls of Chester in this new addition to the Real series. Here is the richly historic city as you won’t find it in guidebooks: a place which looks over its shoulder at its long and very visible past, and the continuing redevelopment and its effects on local people.Largely established by the Romans, whose legacy is still clearly evident, Chester has been a centre of trade, military power and religion for two thousand years. It thrived in the middle ages, with priories, the cathedral, the castle, trade guilds providing centres around which life flowed. These, in turn, left a legacy of streets and buildings with which Chester lives today, including the famous double decker Rows now full of shops and restaurants.Chester’s history informs the city and, in turn, the city lives off its history. Tourism is huge. Roman centurions roam the streets alongside umbrella-wielding tour guides, and on Heritage Days visitors can visit Roman and medieval remains hidden by contemporary shops and offices.Dudman writes of all this and much more, including Chester’s Georgian and Victorian splendours, as she walks the streets and narrow alleyways of this small yet exotic place, bordered by the looping river Dee and the industrial Shropshire canal. Here are the buildings, the powerful families, the upstart merchants and above all the ordinary citizens of a remarkable and historic locale. Drawing on thirty years of residence, consulting documents and guides, Dudman has written a fascinating book that will appeal to locals, visitors and armchair travellers alike.
£9.99

The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America

Richard Gwyn
‘A glittering bilingual anthology.’ – George Szirtes The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America is an anthology of Spanish language contemporary poetry from the Americas. Produced bilingually, with Spanish and English versions on facing pages, it is a welcome addition to the canon of translation, focusing on poets born since 1945.Richard Gwyn has arranged the poems thematically – Where We Live; Memory, Childhood, Family; the Natural World; Politics, Journey and Exile; Love, Sex and the Body – to cut across nationality and the generations, illustrating the things poets have in common, and how they differ, across continents.The Other Tiger (the title is a nod to Borges – “the one not in this poem”) consists of 97 poets from 16 countries, born over five decades. It includes work from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Bolivia and El Salvador. Among the mix of poets are established names such as Juan Manuel Roca, Daniel Samoilovich, Mirta Rosenberg, Romulo Bustos Aguirre, Clemente Riedemann and Jorge Fondebrider. The younger poets featured include Andres Neuman, Damsi Figueroa, Alejandro Crotto and Carolina Davila.The resulting anthology is an eclectic and catholic mix of fine poetry and fine translation that opens a window on to a relatively neglected group of literary worlds. The poems are at once exotic and other yet recognizably drawing on a poetic tradition that includes Novel prize-winner Octavio Paz. They conjure big landscapes and moments of tenderness, celebrate the individual but also engage with the politics of so many repressive regimes in Latin and South America. The Other Tiger vividly reflects the many contrasts present in the lives and literatures of the peoples of this continent. ‘By turns delicate and bold, passionate and tender, political and intimate, Richard Gwyn’s vivid translations provide a fascinating and timely introduction to this great poetic continent.’– Daniel Hahn‘This big, generous, varied and colourful anthology contains a whole continent of marvellous poetry. It is a feat of translation, but also of empathy.’ – Patrick McGuinness‘This is an indispensable and comprehensive introduction to Spanish American poetry of the last forty years which no reader of poetry should be without. We already know it, thanks to Borges, Cardenal, Neruda, Parra, Paz, and Vallejo, as one of the great world poetries, but what is so exciting here is the deepening sense, as you read on through Richard Gwyn's beautifully voiced, meticulous translations, of that illustrious pantheon being replaced by a new generation of urgent voices, some old acquaintances, some entirely new – some, crucially, of equal significance.’ – W.N. Herbert‘An incisive overview of recent, innovative writing we're not likely to find elsewhere in English. The preface is solid: informative, intelligent, and immensely useful to both novices and old hands; the thematic organization is revelatory and moves us far from the rather pedantic, strictly historical or geographical focus of so many other anthologies; and the translations are beautiful and to the point. This is a book that belongs in every library, private or institutional, that has shelf-space for volumes of poetry. I think Alastair Reid, to whom the book is dedicated, would have been very happy with the tribute.’ Edith Grossman
£14.99

Welsh Quilts

Jen Jones
Jen Jones has written an expanded version of Welsh Quilts, her authoritative guide to the history and art of the quilt in Wales. Kaffe Fassett, the doyenne of textiles, provides a Foreword for this new edition, which also includes a greater number of images of quilt designs – some published for the first time – in a beautifully produced, detailed and generously illustrated book.By the 1970s the unique Welsh traditions of quilt and blanket making were almost extinct. Welsh Quilts is the result of Jen Jones’ researches into the subject and her desire to revive what had been a gloriously high quality craft. As she researched the book Jones also began collecting Welsh quilts, creating an extensive collection which is now housed in the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter. New, high resolution images of the bold designs and intricate stitching of the quilts in her collection are included in the book.Welsh Quilts explores the origins of quilting and blanket making in Wales before considering its peak period between 1870 and the Second World War when wholecloth, frame-made quilts became the standard for which the country was famous.Welsh Quilts contains chapters on the origins and history of the quilt in Wales; Making a Quilt; Methods; Types of Quilt; Joining and Finishing; Provenance; Buying a Welsh Quilt; Caring for Quilts; Blankets; and Types of Blanket. The book also includes a list of public collections of quilts.Welsh Quilts is the essential book on the subject, whether you are a quilter yourself, or simply interested in quilting heritage.
£12.99

Wild Places: Wales’ Top 40 Nature Sites

Iolo Williams
Wales is full of wildlife sites and in Wild Places television naturalist Iolo Williams picks his favourite forty from the many nature reserves scattered around the country. From Cemlyn on Anglesey to the Newport Wetlands, from Stackpole in Pembrokeshire to the Dee Estuary, Williams criss-crosses Wales. His list takes in coastal sites from marshes to towering cliffs – plus Skomer and other islands – mountains, valleys, bogs, meadows, woods and land reclaimed from industry. These wild places vary in size from the vastness of bog at Tregaron to the hidden gem that is the daffodil wood at Coed-y-Bwl. They include sites of international significance, like Skomer Island, and the managed beauty of the former open cast site, Parc Slip.As this informative and lavishly illustrated book demonstrates, all the sites are packed with the widest variety of trees, plants, birds, animals and insects. Williams draws on his considerable knowledge to guide readers and visitors to the natural delights of each site. Wild Places will reveal rarities like the Snowdon lily and the Snowdonia hawkweed, where to find twenty different species of dragonfly and damselfly and a colony of the shrill carder bee, and the site for an incredible 797 species of moths. You will learn where to find birds, both rare and in huge numbers, where hares box and otters swim, where to spot dolphins and salmon, and where to see Wales’ great variety of hawks and other birds of prey.Each entry includes a survey of what is to be found there, a brief description of the facilities, and directions to reach the site. Illustrated in beautiful detail and with glorious images of the site by Wales’ top nature photographers, Wild Places confirms Wales’ pre-eminence as a country rich in stunning landscape inhabited in abundance by all manner of life. Author and book aim to introduce a new audience to the delights of natural Wales, be they armchair naturalists or, more importantly, visitors to the forty sites Williams has selected.
£19.99

From the Fortunate Isles: New and Selected Poems

Tony Curtis
‘His energy, inventiveness and human sympathy make him one of the most exciting poets of his generation.’ – Merryn Williams Seren is honoured by our long association with the Welsh poet Tony Curtis and we are proud to be publishing, in celebration of his 70th year, his From the Fortunate Isles: New and Selected Poems. The book features poems from ten of his published collections, as well as a substantial number of new poems. This is a poet whose themes and variations remain consistent: a deep affection for his roots in West Wales, tender attachments to family, a profound interest in the wars of the last century, and an abiding fascination for all art forms, particularly painting and poetry.As we might expect from the author of a number of astute and widely praised critical volumes on Welsh Art, many of these poems are often inspired by artists from Wales, poets such as Dannie Abse, Dylan Thomas, John Tripp and painters like Peter Prendergast, Augustus and Gwen John, although European and American artists like Otto Dix and Andrew Wyeth also feature. There is also a brief selection from his collaborative book/performance project with the New York-based artist John Digby: The Arches, with reproductions of the original collages and their accompanying poems.Another abiding concern is a fascination with war in all of its manifestations in the bloody 20th century. From his collection ‘War Voices’ we have poems like ‘The Front’ and his National Poetry Prize-winning ‘The Death of Richard Beattie-Seaman in the Belgian Grand Prix, 1939’ – which eerily foreshadows the fate of many young men in the European conflict about to erupt. The contemplation of War adds a dark thread of serious intent to this tapestry of Wales in the more peaceful times our generation has had the privilege of living through in ‘The Fortunate Isles’.Landscapes in Wales also recur throughout the book. Pembrokeshire is a literal and figurative touchstone, from the elegiac ‘The Visit’:Forgetting flowers, this timeI take a Manorbier pebblefrom the carand, in the ancient way,lay it on your grave:my seal-grey limestone on your green slate.This is a beautiful, engaging and important collection from one of Wales’s best poets. 
£12.99

What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems

Deryn Rees-Jones
Deryn Rees-Jones’s new book, What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems, marks a mid-career milestone in the life of this highly-acclaimed writer. From the poems written in her teens and early twenties included in her exciting debut The Memory Tray to her most recent exploration of time and grief, we see the arc of development in her writing over twenty-five years as she visits and revisits the concerns that are the mainstay of her writing: memory, love, desire, and heartbreak in all its manifestations. In her second collection Signs Round A Dead Body she continues to explore love and loss with praise poems and elegies that draw as much on Walt Whitman and Neruda as they do on a tradition of Welsh writing. The long-poem turned murder-mystery ‘Quiver’ is represented by a number of poems in the sequence, that see her playing with genre to explore the nature of female creativity, motherhood, and belief. The author’s T.S. Eliot prize-nominated, Burying the Wren, features largely in the second half of the book. Rees-Jones here consolidates and concentrates her powers with poems that confront personal tragedy: the loss of a husband to cancer. Continuing to develop her use of the poetic sequence, Dogwoman, inspired by the pictures of the Portuguese artist Paula Rego, explores how we can be fully alive in language even in the depths of sorrow.With this knowledge of grief, Rees-Jones assays the life of Helen Thomas, the young widow of the poet Edward Thomas, exploring the complexities of marriage and the relationship between the body, perception and memory in And You, Helen.The book concludes with a brand new long poem, ‘ i.m.’ an elegy which explores the power of memorialisation while testifying to the power of hope. This substantial volume is a tribute to the maturing voice of an essential poet.  
£12.99