My debut pamphlet of poetry – Surfacing – was published by Lapwing Poetry in 2018. It is a 31 page pamphlet containing 19 poems.
The wonderful Sammi Cox has written a great review of the book, to read it click here.
‘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
Buy a signed copy directly from me here:
For a limited period, it is available for £8.00 (total, inclusive of P & P).
You said the persimmons
were ripe, ready for shaking
from the tree, ready to burst,
froth and bubble in the mouth.
You said you had a ghost
in your house, burning
and yearning and keeping you
from sleep. The sea outside
your house slyly slides past mine.
There is a demon in the sea,
full of the base notes of unrequited
love – it gives then takes away.
Add it to your dictionary
of demons. I see you pacing
your dusty house – the shadows
claim you and drag you towards
the emptiness beyond.
They steal your songs
and drown them in slippery
darkness. Your floor is seasoned
with tobacco and herbs;
you are forever picking up dust.
A five-leaf clover festers
in a picture frame.
The carved guitar prone
on the sofa is your curvy girl
with a sweet voice (who never
answers back). The cutlery
is mismatched; there are candles
to keep out the dark that leads
to the void. On a dais lurks
the screen, your familiar.
The persimmons are dust,
and the ghost has gone AWOL.
I sit on the settee with my beast
and think of you at dusk,
sharpening your teeth—
First published in the Templar Poetry competition anthology Mill (2015).
In my life underwater, everything has learnt the trick of heaviness, slow as Sunday afternoon. Something ponderous with yellow eyes, all bones and mange, lifts its head. Beached in the half-light of no-season my inner weather is folded in twilight. A land of beige where brackish water seeps under lintels, puddles on surfaces. Like Sisyphus I roll each jellied day one after the other, without Orpheus to sing me back. Lethe-bound, each night submerge into chemical sleep shelter in shadows.
First published in Out of Sight (2018).
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 is featured in one of the poems: