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N E W S    &    G I G S

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The H’mm Foundation

Nigel Jenkins acted as consultant during the establishment and early days of the H’mm Foundation which was set up in 2010/11 by the Cardiff-based businessman Ali Anwar to develop the means and resources to bring poets throughout Wales more into the public domain, especially in the workplace.

Inspired by the bardd teulu (household poet) tradition of medieval and Renaissance Wales, Ali invited Nigel to help him set up an organisation that would encourage bodies such as businesses, local authorities, prisons, hospitals, trade unions and so forth to ‘adopt a poet’, possibly on a one-off basis, to deliver a poetry reading at a conference, for example, or at a Christmas dinner, and possibly on a longer-term basis as a factory or office poet, for instance, who would be called upon to write and deliver poems for specific occasions and, perhaps, to involve him or her self in running writing workshops for personnel. It’s named the H’mm Foundation after H’m, a volume of poetry by R. S. Thomas, one of Ali’s favourite poets – and because the musing sound ‘H’mm’ is an internationally familiar ‘expression’, crossing all linguistic frontiers.

By June 2011, the foundation was ready to stage its first event, a reading by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, at the Institute of Welsh Affairs’ Inspire Wales Awards ceremony in Cardiff. By the end of 2011, some ten corporate events had been organized involving poets, in venues all over Wales, although the Foundation itself was not formally launched until December 7, at an event involving music and poetry, and open to the public, at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
 

For a profile of Ali Anwar and an account of the setting up of the
H’mm Foundation, see Nigel Jenkins’s essay ‘The H’mm Foundation’ in the latest edition of Planet: The Welsh Internationalist (no. 205; February 2012).
 


 

The Idrisiaid

At Ali Anwar’s request, Nigel formed a new poetry band to provide some of the entertainment at the launch of the H’mm Foundation on December 2, 2012.

Called The Idrisiaid – in honour of the Welsh poet Idris Davies (1905–53) and his tradition of socially engaged poetry – the band comprises Nigel (voice and harmonica), the poet Dave Hughes, the singer-songwriter Margot Morgan, the singer-songwriter Andy Jones (formerly of Boys from the Hill), and Nigel’s daughter the folk fiddler Angharad Jenkins (a member of the folk band Calan). The Idrisiaid perform a mixture of poetry and folk-inflected music.

Future gigs include entertaining an audience of 500 at the annual Inspire Wales Awards dinner in Cardiff City Hall on 14 June 2012.



 

‘Swansea’s Other Poet’ was the title of a programme on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 11 March 2012 about the Swansea poet Vernon Watkins (1906-67), on which Nigel read from Vernon Watkins’s poetry and talked about the poet and his geographical context. The programme was presented by Swansea’s other other poet Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) and included contributions from Gwen Watkins, Vernon’s widow, and Professor M. Wynn Thomas, among others.
 

 

Residential Writing Course, Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, Cricieth:
Monday 23 July to Saturday 28 July 2012

Nigel Jenkins joins renowned haikuista and novelist Lynne Rees to present a week-long course on writing the landscape. Lynne and Nigel co-edited, with Ken Jones, Another Country: Haiku Poetry from Wales, the first ever national anthology of haiku poetry, which was published by Gomer Press in 2011, and which has been positively reviewed worldwide.

For further information and to book a place on the course,
see T
ŷ Newydd’s  [  online brochure  ]

 

 

Recent and forthcoming gigs

Note that financial support for readings by Nigel Jenkins and other published writers may be obtained from Literature Wales.
 

26 January 2012, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea:
Nigel reads his specially commissioned ‘Poem for Graduation Day’ at Swansea University’s winter graduation ceremony – in the distinguished company of Shane Williams, who was being bestowed with an honorary degree.


1 March 2012, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
:
a reading by Nigel Jenkins of the poetry of John Tripp, as part of the ‘Stuff Happens’ event, organised in partnership with The Crunch at Mozart’s, to celebrate World Book Day.


2 March 2012, Mansion House, Swansea
:
a St David’s Week reading at a charity dinner at the Lord Mayor Councillor Ioan Richard’s official residence, held to raise money for local hospitals.
 

14 June 2012, Cardiff City Hall:
Nigel performs with The Idrisiaid at the annual Inspire Wales Awards dinner.
 

18 June 2012, Norton House Hotel, Mumbles, Swansea:
Nigel in conversation with Jon Gower about Jon’s latest book, Wales at Water’s Edge (Gomer Press), published with photographer Jeremy Moore to coincide with the opening this spring of the Wales Coastal Path.
 

5 July 2012, 6.00 p.m., Attic Gallery, Maritime Quarter, Swansea:
Nigel reads a selection of poems inspired by the Welsh landscape.
 

16–20 July 2012, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea:
Nigel’s ‘Poem for Graduation Day’ to be read during graduation ceremonies throughout the week.
 

23–28 July 2012, Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, Cricieth:
residential course on writing the landscape, led by Nigel Jenkins and Lynne Rees.
 

18 September 2012, The Medical Society, Chandos Street, London:
‘Gwalia in Khasia’, an illustrated talk, to members of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, on Welsh missionaries in north-east India and their legacy.
 

8 November 2012, The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea:
Nigel launches Real Swansea 2, his second volume of psychogeography about Wales’s second city in Seren Books’ Real series: in conversation with series editor Peter Finch.

 



 

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