In the front of our first ever poetry anthology, Routemasters and Mushrooms, I wrote, “the works speak for themselves. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We intend this collection to be the first of many.”
That was 2006. The winning poem, which opens the book, is by Nigel Humphreys. The writers and artists involved in that competition and the production of that little book got together and became the Earlyworks Press Writers Group. Here is Nigel’s winning poem…
Madonna della Febbre
St Peter’s Basilica
Her face was serene beyond time,
the utmost limits of genetic sculpture,
a miracle that shapeless drapes
could assume such earthly beauty,
yet there she stood, sharing grief
as a condition of redemption,
standing back from the crowds
her eyes transpierced by the Pieta
as if herself sculpted in marble.
She looked on the dead Christ asleep,
watched the blood dry
in the veins of his limp arm,
listened for soft breaths
her eyes salved in beatitude,
and absolute beauty its consequence.
Death would have struck unnoticed
in that symbiosis of flesh and stone.
The sublimeness of her awe
in a glaze of perpetual spirit
beyond my experience
drew me unwilling,
made me one part
of an exalted triptych of fixation.
But for them there was no fear;
their certitude hewn
from the quarries of Carrara,
postured in the magnamity
of an extended hand.
So much happened between then and now – including over 100 titles. Within the Earlyworks Press Writers group, I set up Circaidy Gregory Press and, in 2014 we published a book by Nigel containing his translation of Daphnis and Chloe, with an original painting by Catherine Edmunds on the cover.
Reading again that sublime frolic with its pirates, kidnappings, monsters, deceits and intrigues, enjoying the detail in the glossy rendition of Edmunds’ painting, I find it hard to think of anything more different in content to Nigel’s first offering to Earlyworks Press – but both works have the same fine standard of craft, and the same rapt attention to detail.
And what is Nigel doing now? He leads a poetry workshop at Aberystwyth University, and records art appreciation videos which attract an international audience on YouTube.
And here are two very, very different books, which show how far we have all come. I think you will enjoy both of them, so here they are, offered as one:
Two poetry collections – free UK delivery
‘Routemasters & Mushrooms’, RRP £5.50 and ‘The Love Song of Daphnis & Chloe and 5 Dafydd ap Gwilym poems’ translated by Nigel Humphreys, RRP £7.99 both titles delivered to UK addresses for £10.
For delivery outside the UK, please contact me, and tell me which country you are in, for postage price.