SURFACING

My debut pamphlet of poetry – Surfacing – was published in 2018. It is a 31 page pamphlet containing 19 poems. It may be purchased directly from the publisher Lapwing Poetry (click here).

The wonderful Sammi Cox has written a great review of the book, to read it click here.

Praise for Surfacing:

‘The poems in Surfacing are fresh and inspiring. Written with skill and bravery as Gwilym takes us on a powerful journey through illness to emerge strong and resilient. It is a fine collection and ultimately uplifting, but it is the uncompromising journey that stays in the mind, and the knowledge that this could happen to any of us.’ Jim Bennett, The Poetry Kit

‘Annest Gwilym’s debut pamphlet charts the haunting, complex submergence of a mental health breakdown. The slippery internals of struggle are given voice with stark clarity. Unsettling images ripple their silver with a strangeness that lingers. For all the pain and darkness underwater, for every breath held in, these poems surface: bright and triumphant.’ Rachael Smart, Writer

‘The poems in Surfacing are well-crafted and engaging. They tell the story of a path that leads into illness and thankfully out again. It is at times dark, but always full of hope. The narrative these poems reveal is one that ultimately shows the poet emerging from the dark recesses of illness back to a world she thought was lost to her.’ Lucy Turnbull, Optimum Poetry Magazine

Sample poems:

Beach pottery mosaic

Storm-washed sand-stormed jigsaw,
               your voices sing
as the tide comes in.
               High-tide the moon rides
the waves a ragged hag,
               disturbing
the sea’s mirror.
               I’m in a million
pieces on the beach;
               nothing aches like
the static of tides.
               You chafe my sharp edges,
silky stories in your hand.
               I gather my broken pieces
and send them spinning
               into Andromeda,
Whirlpool, Sombrero.
               The hurt breakwater
and Via Lactea
               pause
whisper that even
               my broken glass
can become sea treasure.

First published in Out of Sight, an anthology of poetry about mental illness published by Disability Arts Cymru (March 2018).

The beach pottery mosaic is a piece of wall-art I made from pottery shards found on various Welsh beaches, while recovering from mental illness. Images of it are below the next poem.


Night swim, Cardigan Bay

The moon circled by a rainbow halo
I swim on its pathway
on a night soft as velvet, clear as quartz.

Slivers of silver shimmy
on the liquid lane as light glistens
on a smoothed chocolate wrapper.

The charcoal brotherly arm of the peninsula
enfolds brine-scented silence,
the thin air of a cathedral.

Fish dart around the ladders
of my legs, underwater forests
of kelp dance and sway.

I am rain cloud, I am salt pawing at the shore,
my eyes oysters, hands sea urchins, feet minnows,
nerves rip tides, heart a tsunami.

Shivering, I return to the firefly lights
of distant houses on leaden land-legs,
quickened by the prickliness of marram.

First published in The Dawntreader (Autumn 2017).


Images of the beach pottery mosaic which features in the first sample poem above: