The new Featured Writer is Meirion Jordan. How amazing! This is how it happened: we drove from Devon to Ledbury for the Poetry Festival there and back in one day. At the first event Don Paterson (who was unwell) was replaced by someone called Meirion Jordan. For a short while, I felt a bit disappointed but I noticed the young poet seemed completely cool about replacing Don P. And it wasn’t surprising! As soon as he stood up and spoke the first few words from a poem from his debut collection, Moonrise, I could feel all my muscles tensing, my heart beating faster: I could feel myself growing taller in my seat!
He said … and slowly,
‘A horse in the dark
Quiet, quiet, do not dream
it is the owl parting fronds
of starlight, the water
muttering in abandoned mines.
It is the stillness falling….’
The room sort-of turned itself inside out! I was smitten. I could have listened to his lovely Welsh cadences all morning and when it had to come to an end I rushed off to get his Moonrise book but it had of course sold out. All that was left was his latest book, Regeneration: a book divided into The Red Book based on Arthurian legend and The White Book based on the stories from the Mabinogi. At the time, I didn’t know what on earth I was holding in my hands when I asked him to sign it and then plucked up the courage to ask him (nothing ventured…) if he’d consider being on this website and he said Yes without considering it.
Later that day at Ledbury Poetry Festival , Meirion appeared in Versepolis and I raved about that on this blog back then in July.
Later still, I realised he is an editor of Lighthouse and one of my own poems (‘Rennie’) appeared in there earlier this year and I was delighting in that back then.
Then I started reading Regeneration and as he signed one side and not the other I started on that side, taking this as a sort of sign! The White Book is not at all a re-telling of the Mabinogi, more a study between the lines. (But I think you might just enjoy it more (if that were possible) if you knew the stories.) I love all these poems …someone’s coat left in a cupboard, a battle field, many more… I can’t begin to do justice to these poems as you can only see what I mean by reading them! They are a kind of resurrection (or ‘regeneration’) of older lives and the poems shimmer with their moods and instances as if it were happening now. I think Meirion has breathed them into incarnation.
Flipping the book over to the other side is The Red Book which is composed of voices in the legends speaking about Arthur who never seems to appear himself: as well as beautiful footnotes about Meirion’s grandfather so even in Red Book you are getting two books in one. These poems are labyrinthine and are more complex and less conventional than those in the White Book. I shall be working on them for quite some time. You get the same feeling of only-just-happened!
I have ordered my copy of Moonrise from Seren and really look forward to more of these heart-thumping poems. Please go and look at what he has written in Featured Writers and his two poems. I am determined to allow myself lots of failing!