Rhiya’s Routes – Ba

The release of Rhiya Pau’s upcoming poetry collection, Routes marks fifty years since her family arrived in the U.K. Routes began as an attempt to chronicle the history of Rhiya’s family, and her community, and much of the collection draws on the experience of Rhiya’s grandparents – her Ba and Bapuji.

We asked Rhiya about her favourite poem in Routes, and she chose ‘Enough’, which paints a portrait of her grandmother, through her well-stocked kitchen cabinets:

My grandmother houses gods in her closet
among tower blocks of cereal boxes and canned
chickpeas so we may always know enough.

“Enough paints a portrait of my grandmother and her ability to be in two places at once. How she can know about the miners, the tower blocks, the Post Office – live in this country for fifty years and still not feel British enough. It’s about longing and belonging, the sacrifice of the mother tongue, and how even in the absence of language we find ways to love.

Over the past two years, I have been on my own migratory journey, trying to obtain a visa to live and work in the USA. This poem is a favourite of mine because it articulates an enduring sense of displacement that has only been amplified for me as I move back and forth between places.”

Watch Rhiya Pau reading Enough:

Routes will be published on 24 November 2022. You can pre-order your copy now. 

Join us for a free event with Rhiya Pau and author Anna Fodorova at Forest Hill Library on Wednesday 23 November. Details and tickets.

Rhiya’s Routes – Bapuji

This month we are delighted to be launching Rhiya Pau’s debut poetry collection, Routes, almost exactly a year since we published Rhiya’s first poem ‘Departure Lounge’ in our Where We Find Ourselves anthology.

Routes chronicles the migratory histories of Rhiya’s ancestors and explores the conflicts of identity that arise from being a member of the South Asian diaspora. Ahead of publication, we asked Rhiya about the inspiration behind the collection:

“In many ways, my grandfather has been the inspiration behind Routes. Bapuji was born in Kenya but moved to India in the 1940s to become a freedom fighter in the Independence movement. He participated in marches and sit-ins, and was laathi-charged several times by British soldiers for his disobedience. In one instance he was even shot in the leg. Later in life, after moving to the UK he was awarded Membership of the British Empire by the Queen for his community work, an accolade he was incredibly proud of. I created Routes as a space in which to document the migratory history of my family and community and explore the conflicts of identity that emerge. The release of this collection reflects on the fifty years since much of our community moved to the UK, following the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda.

My grandfather was a salt-march pilgrim
in a fleeting incarnation of this nation.
Now how do I wash the blood from his flag?

Bapuji is remembered as a bold and principled man, who was unafraid to stand by his convictions in the face of disapproval. He believed this to be a necessary act in service of societal progress. In Routes I hope to pay tribute to his legacy. It is only by examining our history that we can begin to answer – what is worth holding on to? What memories, what stories, what truths? When we piece these together, what is the narrative we choose to tell? And how are we going to address the silences that remain?

Routes will be published on 24 November 2022. You can pre-order your copy now. 

Join us for the in-person launch of Routes at Keats’ House on 24 November, from 6.30pm. Details and free tickets.

Poetry Road Trip – Join us on the A470

This spring and summer we’re taking A470: Poems for the Road / Cerddi’r Ffordd on the road! Join us at one of the bilingual events below, as we visit libraries and bookshops up and down the A470 (and surrounding areas…).

Past

  •  28th May: Cardiff Central Library Hub
    Readings from Kevin Mills, Tracey Rhys, Mike Jenkins, Nicholas McGaughey, Morgan Owen, Christina Thatcher, Jeremy Dixon, Sian Northey, Sîon Aled, Lowri Williams and Des Mannay. watch the video


  •  30th May: Storyville Books, Pontypridd
    Nicholas McGaughey, Jeremy Dixon, Stephen Payne and Sîon Aled read from A470 in an evening of poetry, with music and nibbles too! watch the videos

  • 31st May: Siop Lyfrau’r Hen Bost, Blaenau Ffestiniog
    Simon Chandler, Sara Louise Wheeler, Haf Llewelyn, Lowri Williams and Sian Northey read from A470  in Blaenau Ffestiniog. watch the videos

  • 1st June: Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament House, Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth, SY20 8EE
    Pulling up outside Senedd-Dy to stretch their legs and catch their breath, editors Sian Northey and Ness Owen talked with Poet Sara Louise Wheeler about how A470 came about, the process of creating a bilingual book and the translation decisions they had to make, reading some of their favourite poems from the book on the way. Watch the video
  • 30 June: The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
    An evening of bilingual poetry readings and conversation with Ness Owen, Sian Northey, Pat Edwards, Diana Powell, Sara Louise Wheeler, Siôn Aled, Jeremy Dixon, Rhys Owain Williams, Rae Howells, Lowri Haf Williams, Sandra Evans, Gareth Writer-Davies.
  • 10th July  Gŵyl Arall Festival, Caernafon
  • Editor  Sian Northey was joined by Sion Aled, Sara Louise Wheeler, and Lowri Williams to read and talk about the book.
  • Thursday 21st July: The Hours Cafe & Bookshop, Brecon, VIDEO
    Readings and conversation with Gareth Writer-Davies, Clare E Potter, Diana Powell, Sian Northey and Stephen Payne.
  • 24th July: The Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop’s Castle,
    Nipping over the border into Shropshire for Readings from Sian Northey, Gareth Writer-Davies, Jeremy Dixon, Ness Owen, Pat Edwards and Stephen Payne at the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy.

You can track all our events on our interactive A470 map too.

If you’d like more information about any of these events, please email outreach@arachnepress.com

 

 

Arachne Press at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival

We’re pleased to announce that we will be at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival on Tuesday 17 May with a panel event based on Where We Find Ourselves: Poems and Stories of Maps and Mapping from UK Writers of the Global Majority.

Join us at Clapham Library for readings and a Q & A discussion with:

Ngoma Bishop

Marina Sánchez

Nikita Chadha

Farhana Khalique

Rick Dove

Emily Abdeni-Holman

L Kiew

The event is free, but ticketed.  Book your tickets here.

You will be able to buy a copy of Where We Find Ourselves at the event, or you can buy one from our webshop now.

Favourite memories of Solstice Shorts

Solstice Shorts – our annual celebration of original poetry, stories and music for the shortest day – is rapidly approaching. We asked Solstice regular, poet and writer Rob Walton to share some memories of the festival, and accompanying anthologies, from years gone by. This year’s theme is Words from the Brink – writing and music in response to the climate crisis.

Rob Walton: I count myself lucky to have been included in more than one of the Solstice Shorts books, and fortunate indeed to have had my work performed/read by others. It was a great thrill to hear ‘Words on Paper’, a story of which I’m very fond, read aloud in Carlisle. It’s a story that’s close to my heart, and I’m chuffed it was recorded for posterity and also appeared in print.

Ben Brinicombe reads Words on Paper by Rob Walton, BSL translation by Karen Edmondson

I’ve definitely enjoyed seeing some of my more, er interesting pieces reach a range of audiences – I wonder what the crowds (I’m guessing) in Lisbon and Maryport made of ‘The Dowager Duchess of Berwick-upon-Tweed May or May Be Bottling It’? I’ve written micro-fictions shorter than that title!

This year’s offering, ‘Mr King Has Decided to Pursue Other Avenues’, is inspired by a long-standing commitment to environmental change and, possibly, that time I had to leave my primary school class behind on the beach trip when I was stung by a weaver fish. These things stay lodged somewhere and appear, transformed, years later…

Read an extract from ‘Mr King Has Decided to Pursue Other Avenues’:

It was a liberal and progressive school – some would say slack and lackadaisical – and when Mr King said he wanted to stay at the beach at the end of the trip, they wished him well and happily set off without him. It was almost time for the long holiday, and when he wasn’t there to take registration the following morning they arranged temporary cover, and later replaced him with somebody younger with a similar name and the same tattooist. (Mr Prince would be pleased to get the job because Hokusai’s expertly inked The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which covered all of his back, had been very expensive. And quite painful. Also, he knew it would be a star turn on a staff night out.

Words from the Brink is available to pre-order from our online shop.

Buy your tickets for Solstice Shorts 2021 on Eventbrite.

 

Love Audio Week: This Poem Here

To conclude our #LoveAudio blog series, here is an extract from the remarkable poetry collection, This Poem Here by Rob Walton.

Arachne Press Director, Cherry Potts, recently said of This Poem Here: “At the start of lockdown, Rob Walton was responding to the anxieties and absurdities of the Corona Virus crisis by writing poetry. He published a lot of these poems on social media, as real-time responses to the latest news. Watching and enjoying them from afar, I approached Rob to publish them as a book. We were in conversation about this project when Rob’s dad sadly died from Covid. The poems in the collection then took a radical turn, delving into rage, sorrow and grief. I can’t imagine a more appropriate collection to have published in this ‘you-couldn’t-make-it-up’ era.”

Full of tears, laughter, biting political satire and Geordie grammar, these are poems that are meant to be read aloud. Here is ‘And in Lockdown’:

You can also watch Rob Walton reading some of the collection in the video from the online launch of This Poem Here: https://youtu.be/sNijjLH4zB0  (be warned, he made many of us cry!).

#LoveAudio is the Publisher’s Association annual week-long digital celebration of audiobooks is designed to showcase the accessibility, innovation, and creativity of the format. Follow the hashtag on twitter.

Arachneversary – Five by Five

Our penultimate video for the Arachneversary. This is quite long, as all five writers contributed both thoughts and/or readings. We enjoyed it so much we’re thinking of doing it regularly. Featuring Joan Taylor-Rowan, Cassandra Passarelli, Katy Darby, Helen Morris and Sarah James.

Five by Five was one of our books celebrating the centenary of some women in the UK finally getting the vote. There’s nothing about voting in it, just women going about their (extr)ordinary lives.

You can buy a copy from our webshop

If you are quick you can still use our August discount code, ARACHNEVERSARY – it EXPIRES 31st AUGUST!

 

 

Arachneversary – Foraging – Joy Howard

Interview with poet Joy Howard, author of Foraging, who also runs a small press, Grey Hen, so we wander off the point a bit. This is a phone conversation with added images, the sound isn’t great but we’ve included it for completeness. Only a couple of days left until the end of the Arachneversary celebrations!

You can buy Foraging from our webshop, but if you want that August discount, you need to get a move on, it expires 31st August at midnight. Use the code ARACHNEVERSARY at the checkout.

ARACHNEVERSARY – Alex Smith – Devilskein and Dearlove

Editor Cherry Potts talks about Devilskein and Dearlove a young adult novel by Alex Smith, which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal on 2015. Includes Q&A with the author, animated trailer by Nick Page and a couple of readings by actors Greg Page and Peter Noble.

You can buy Devilskein and Dearlove from our Webshop. Use the discount code ARACHNEVERSARY at the checkout throughout August.

Arachneversary video 6: Jane Aldous and Let Out the Djinn

Poet Jane Aldous and editor Cherry Potts discuss Jane’s poetry collection, Let Out the Djinn, editing, poetry and cats…

you can buy Let out the Djinn (on sale throughout August) from our Webshop.

Just put in ARACHNEVERSARY at checkout to get your discount.