Poet songwriter Paul Henry performs 18 July

Paul Henry

Friday 18 July 6.30pm. Tickets: £10 or £25 with supper.

Please call 01308 459511 to book.

Known as ‘the purest of lyric poets’, Paul Henry will perform his own work with some best loved poems by other Welsh poets and some of his songs, with his guitar, at Sladers Yard in West Bay.Paul Henry photo by Owen Sheers web

Paul Henry is the author of nine books of verse. Originally a songwriter, he has read and performed his work at literary festivals across Europe, Asia and the USA. A popular Creative Writing tutor, Henry has lectured at the University of South Wales and led courses at writers’ centres in the UK and France. Also a broadcaster, Paul Henry has written and presented arts programmes for BBC Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4.

With a musician’s ear and an artist’s eye, his poems of love and fatherhood are informed by the Welsh-speaking community of his childhood in Aberystwyth as well as his own experiences as a lover and a father.  An accomplished performer, Paul Henry is an exciting discovery for all those who love poetry. ‘Henry’s poems are such a pleasure to read and hear… there is a beautiful economy to his writing.’ Carol Rumens, Guardian.

His most recent publication, The Brittle Sea, New and Selected Poems published by Seren, has been widely acclaimed as marking his ‘rise as a major lyric poet’ (Poetry Review).

Paul Henry has been influenced by Dylan Thomas and his less well known but very brilliant friend, WS Graham. Graham was neglected during his lifetime but his reputation is now on the rise partly thanks to Paul Henry’s programme about him on BBC Radio 3.

Tickets are available at £10 for the performance only or £25 with a delicious supper at Sladers Yard Café. The bar will open at 6pm and suppers will be served after the performance.

Friday 18th July at 6.30pm.  Please phone 01308 459511 to book.

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Others want this house and soon
we must either leave or stay.
Is it the house or love
we are moving out of?
Perhaps we cannot say

but it hurts, all afternoon
our marriage has moved inside me –
the boys, the prints on the stairs,
the broken down cars, the holidays
in heaven and hell, long Saturdays
in market towns, mad neighbours …

I pick you a pear from the tree
but you have disappeared again
into that silence you inhabit,
your second home, where a whisper
might fall heavily to the floor –
an incendiary, pear-shaped
and loaded with pain.

Shall we stay or leave then, love?
It’s only the years moving inside us
and everything hurts in autumn.
Where shall we put them,
the years, in our new house?
the years we are moving out of?

Paul Henry

first appeared in The TLS

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From recent reviews of The Brittle Sea: New & Selected Poems:

‘The Brittle Sea’ spans a sleek twenty years. Gesturing equally backwards and forwards, it marks Henry’s quiet rise as a major lyric poet while whetting the appetite for what is sure to be a very rich later career….”  –  Poetry Review

“This generous volume takes in twenty-odd years’ worth of work, selections from five collections and a batch of new poems, yet like an intricate Venn diagram, all are linked by their abiding themes: how the past haunts the present, how people and places change, as do our relationships with them…. Henry’s poems are often expressionistic, even symbolist …  with formal skill and time and space-bending panache to boot. The new, previously unpublished poems…  represent the best work of a lyric poet who deserves a wider readership.” – The TLS.

“There’s a consistency of tone and voice in Paul Henry’s work – gentle, regretful and effortlessly musical – stretching from the earliest poems in 1991’s ‘Time Pieces’ right through to the present day…   There’s also a consistency of quality that frequently had me wondering why he’s not lauded more often and more loudly on the British poetry scene….”    – Magma

“Paul Henry is the poet I wish I could be. If I ever meet a genie and get three wishes, I’m asking for his musicality, his use of back-story and his ability to create the most haunting resonance.”   – Sheenagh Pugh

“With the purity of a sixteenth-century poet, Paul Henry lets fall his beautiful lyrics like cloaks in the mud of every day. Effortless epiphanies and images gradually break open, releasing a strange power, a dark ocean of longing and loss. His poetry deepens our perception of the world.” – Hugo Williams

“Paul Henry gets the maximum effect from minimum language. The ordinary becomes alive with possibility, comic, moving, magical, compassionate. A sense of the music of words combines with an endlessly inventive imagination.” – U.A. Fanthorpe

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