Published widely in the UK and America, Gareth Writer-Davies was commended in the Prole Laureate Competition, the Welsh Poetry Competition and the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition 2015.
He has also been shortlisted for the 2017 Bridport Prize, the second time that Gareth has been shortlisted.
His pamphlet, Bodies, was published in 2015 by Indigo Dreams.
Gareth is the 2017 Prole Laureate.
Born in London, he now lives in Brecon, Wales.
138 x 216mm
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The poems in Cry Baby are stark, bruised admissions of an unspoken hurt. The reader is carried on the shoulders of a child who watches his mother disintegrate.
With no structure beneath the family they are all left falling through their life, along with their broken toys, into a burning summer sun. There is movement, a rush to travel away to better times, and inevitably the pain of looking inwards, which is always harder than observing from the outside.
These are moving, concise poems that strip away emotion and leave the bare bones of painful experience.
Gareth Writer-Davies tells it like is, his poems display perfect control. Not a word is wasted, yet he manages to capture a whole world.
In the small details a boy learns his lessons about life, family, and where he fits in.
It is the small details that matter.
The Childish Bed
on long sunburn holidays
we would be put to bed
smothered in Savlon
and tell knuckle rude stories
in the morning
cuddled up and snoring
woke us shouting
are within the touch tender shape
anything more than bare sentiment
that stirs us into action
back to the time when tired but true
our hot flesh was all innocence
The Train to Devil's Bridge
though my mother swore
every day it rained
forward we went
on a wet day and the steam railway
the black eyed driver fed the red-hot stove
the old quarry train climbing
through forests and o'er rivers
the fork in the track
the train chugged into the station
my mother waving
her hair ruined
we spent the day
watching smoke rise and hiding from the devil
mother was a virgin
when on Boxing Day she married
this came out, when my sister was thrown out
for having sex with her boyfriend
by the violation of her hearth and home
she slammed, the door so hard
that the fanlight buckled
the drowsy wallpaper
and the lovely lilac ladies
agreed that it was all for the best
I was made
in a black iron bed
swaddled in a feather quilt
and fuchsia pink
that had I focus
would have foretold
hunter of foxes
cornet in a military band
designer of frocks
I was not the imagined girl
ready for gingham ribbons and ankle socks
I was something else
with a purple scream
a fist of a child
who bit my mother's breast
and kicked out at rainbows
I was a platinum blonde
and a firm grip on my fortitude
I went to school
wearing my sister's dress
I liked being a girl
never doubted, I would be a star of stage and screen
but when my roots
began to show through
I was put in shorts
and elasticated socks
is how I have remained
Swimming At Aberdovey
my mother, had never forgiven my father
for being attractive to other women
so she made up her mind
to swim across the estuary to Ynyslas
midstream, between one shore and the other
she was picked up
by a rowdy boat of fishermen
that they had caught a mermaid
and brought her back to the beach
to the family she had not thought to see again
Author photo by Jade Findlater
There are many 'misery memoirs' and confessional tales of horror and conflict within the family home. But here is a collection of a childhood like many others; memories of a wonky upbringing where the comedic and the pathetic mix to produce an eccentric and subtle medley of poems, to which you will return.