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Christien Gholson's Blog Entries

Welcome to Episode 2 of Poetry? I Just Don’t Get It. A series where I post a poem or group of poems by one author, followed by anything the author wants to say about the work. It’s my small attempt to bridge what I see as a huge gap between readers (who are not poets themselves) and great contemporary poetry. 
In this episode I am posting a suite of poems by Canadian poet Erling Friis-Baastad. 
Erling was born in Norway, raised in the US, and has spent most of his adult life in the Yukon Territory, Canada. I first encountered his work in the early 90’s, in a magazine published out of Montreal called Alpha Beat Soup. His poem, The Exile House, leapt right into me. Back then I had a small poetry press called BEgiNNer’s MIND, publishing poetry chapbooks and broadsides alongside art, so I immediately sent a letter to him through the magazine asking if I could publish The Exile House as a broadside (The Exile House ended up as the title of his first collection from Salmon Poetry in 2001). When he wrote back I discovered he lived in the Yukon. Wait…the Yukon? Like, up by the Arctic Circle? The Exile House is still one of my favorite poems. 
He is a poet of the far north, but this particular suite of poems is from Spain; specifically, Andalusia. It was written while he was in residence at Fundación Valparaíso in Mojácar, Spain.The distance and closeness he felt in writing in a region so different than the Yukon he addresses in the mini-essay that follows the poems. 

After World Book Day (6 March, but only for those who have never set foot beyond UK and Ireland’s borders), International Children’s Book Day (2 April), National Reading Day (23 January, US only), here comes World Book and Copyright Night! It’s on Wednesday, April 23rd 2014. You’d better mark the date on your calendar, because Parthian is formally inviting you to join the celebrations! 


Starting today, we are launching a social media campaign in search of (un)professional translators willing to volunteer their time and energy for the purpose of art! The social experiment requires all candidates to jump aboard for an exciting adventure made of dictionaries and thesauruses. If you are big on foreign languages, if you are Mandarin or Portuguese or Senegalese or [somehwere else] mother tongue, make yourself available!


The lovely Carly Holmes, who has been recently awarded a New Writers Bursary to complete her first collection of short stories, will launch her debut novel The Scrapbook during an event on Friday 25th April at the Cellar Bar, 25-26 Quay Street, Cardigan. Come along to hear Carly reading from her ravishing book, which will be out for general release on May 1st. 


When I first saw you, I had the sun in my eyes. You shone around the edges, a fireball of a man. In the moments it took me to focus on your centre, I’d absorbed you completely.


We are always happy to spread the word about brilliant initiatives in literature, and that is the case with the newly born Writeidea Prize: Short-Story Competition 2014.

The prize is a spin-off of the annual Writeidea festival, taking place from Friday 14th November to Sunday 16th November at Idea Store Whitechapel, East London. This year’s programme is still under construction, but you can sneak a peek at last year’s line-up here.

This year’s winners of the M. Wynn Thomas prize, a celebration of excellence in the field of Welsh writing in English, were awarded last Friday during the annual conference by AWWE ‘In/Dependent Wales’, held in Gregynog Hall.
Dr Matthew Jarvis (Aberystwyth University/University of Wales Trinity St David) and Lisa Sheppard (Cardiff University) won respectively in the ‘Open’ and ‘New Scholars’ categories, and both received a £150 prize along with a full set of the Library of Wales books series, courtesy of Parthian.
The panel, which included Professor Diana Wallace (University of South Wales), Dr Tomos Owen (Bangor University) and Dr Alyce von Rothkirch (Swansea University), is reported to be “very pleased with the quality of the submissions”, as well as “impressed with the increasing international reach of this prize. Submissions came from Wales, England, Ireland and the USA”.
The Association of Welsh Writing in English, originated in 1984 on initiative of five major Welsh universities, is aimed at preserving and promoting Welsh studies as evidence of important cultural diversity in the academic world.

Two Parthian lovelies sat down for a chat about writing, surviving criticism and the subtle art of being rejected (but only as a momentary stop on the path to a future, luminous success).  

Debz Hobbs-Wyatt interviewed Kit Habianic for her blog Wordznerd Debz, asking the fellow novelist all kind of questions about the genesis of her debut work Until Our Blood Is Dry. The novel is a compelling depiction of delicate family dynamics at stake at the time of the 1984 Miners' Strike, thirty years ago.

Kit opened up about seven years of constant rethinking and redrafting, and the cruel reality of having your own creature dissected and torn apart by critics.

Once you finally capture the attention of someone in the industry, says Kit, the job is not done yet: carving out what might not work well with the whole is a painful but necessary process. Kit recounts how she decided to eliminate the three first chapters of Until Our Blood is Dry altogether, despite being strongly attached to some of the episodes in them.

Find our more about Kit's road to success, and get some useful tips on how to survive and thrive as a writer here.

Congratulations to our four long-listers for the 2014 Edge Hill University Short Story Prize! The list was disclosed last week by prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English. Dai Smith, Craig Hawes, Rebbecca Ray and Rachel Trezise will compete among an outstanding line-up of award-winning authors. 


Have you discovered the Dubai-set delights of The Witch Doctor of Umm Suqeim, the critical and cultural wisdom of Raymond Williams' The Long Revolution, or why Griff Rhys Jones feels Insufficiently Welsh despite vigorous ziplining and falling in water all over Wales? We've spotted them all in Kindle's Spring Sale, running from 4th-21st April.

You can also find out about the namesake of the Rhys Davies Prize for a bargain price with Meic Stephens' biography. Now is your chance. Put a spring in your step. (Groaning at the terrible pun? Sorry. It's friday afternoon you know.)

Robert Nisbet is a short–story writer, poet and creative writing tutor. Robert taught English for 30 years in grammar and comprehensive schools and then taught creative writing at Trinity College, Carmarthen for over a decade. He is now an associate tutor in English literature with Swansea University.

Karl Francis, who was born in Bedwas on 1 April 1942, is a writer–director and author of the play Streetlife (Parthian, 2003).