Ian Griffiths was born and grew up in Swansea South Wales and his initial interest in poetry was inspired by the Work of Dylan Thomas fellow poet of that town. As a teenager he had several poems published in collections of new writers and was heavily involved in amateur dramatics. His interest in poetry and literature was encouraged by his English tutor Gwen Watkins wife of the other Swansea poet Vernon Watkins and inspired by the nature and bird life of the Gower peninsular where he spent many hours during his youth walking on its cliffs, bays and inhabiting its wild places.
Since making his home Suffolk Forty years ago Ian has only returned to writing and performing poetry in the last ten years. Since then and with the opportunities to perform and discuss his work afforded by the many Poetry café groups in our region his poetry has blossomed and he has had work published in poetry journals such as Seventh Quarry and his first collection entitled “ Conversations With Birds”.
He is a strong advocate of the importance of poetry being heard and is a passionate performer of his work. He is a former chairman of Suffolk Poetry Society and has performed his work throughout the UK, USA and in Ireland and Norway. He is a supporter and previous judge of behalf of the “Poetry by Heart” organisation which encourages the study, appreciation and public performance of poetry by young people. He will be a judge of this years Woodbridge Young Poets competition organised by Woodbridge School poets competition as part of their Youth Poetry festival. This year he is a member of the committee of the new “Poetry In Aldeburgh” festival to be held in Aldeburgh town on the 4th 5th and 6th of November.
As well as performances of his own work he has a one man performance and talk on the Poetry and Prose of Dylan Thomas entitled “ Singing In My Chains” which he has performed throughout England,
Peter Watkins is a Suffolk Poet living on the Stour Estuary. His working life has been spent in mental health care working as a mental health nurse & as a senior lecturer in mental health. He has published two books on mental health: ‘Recovery’, about the many pathways to equilibrium & living well; and ‘Mental Health Practice’, a guide to compassionate care. In 2003 Peter co- founded the local arts in mental health charity Inside Out Community; the charity works with people wanting to explore the recovery of personal wellbeing through participation in the arts. In his own life creative writing & sculpture have played there part in helping bring peace to an unquiet mind. ‘Enough to Love a Multitude’ is his first published collection of poems. Many of his poetic motifs in the collection arise from the gentle landscape & slow rivers of Suffolk in which he finds divinity, solace, and inspiration. This collection is both personal & universal in its exploration of the vicissitudes of life and the soul’s journey through the archetypal dark wood. It is about the consolation & redemption to be found in nature. Above all it is an invocation of love.
The Late Dave Martin
THE SPIRIT OF DAVE
Dave was a lifelong rebel. He did not always follow society’s expectations in his roles as student, teacher, writer or friend. He put his principles before his personal ambitions, and the needs of others before his own welfare.
When he was a teenager Dave bunked off school to follow his own unofficial curriculum at the National Gallery and in public libraries. These early adventures may have influenced his choice and timing of higher education – a combined BA in Art History and English at Leeds University. But Dave only started this after several years working in Lambeth Borough libraries. Once at Leeds, among his teachers there were artists, historians and poets. Dave believed higher education should be an entitlement for everyone and that learning was a lifelong process.
Dave was intending to pursue postgraduate studies when he was interviewed for a teaching post in Norwich School of Art. The job was offered while chatting in one of the city’s 365 pubs. Dave was excited by the new department in complimentary studies he was joining. He nurtured the individuality of each of his students, convinced that was how their creativity would emerge. If the integrity and well-being of teachers and students were threatened by commercial and bureaucratic pressures, Dave took an unflinching stand. He was prepared to forgo promotion for principle.
Dave’s spirit remains very strong today, both in his poetry and art, as well as in the enduring impact he still has on the lives of many people. One of his poems – “Pilgrim” – reminds you how much Dave loved animals too, in this case one of the dogs he and his partner Colette cared for. Dave wrote (in an exhibition note) how much he valued the natural world, from the grand scale of the Pembrokeshire coast to the tiny copse he’d planted and seen mature in Mount Bures. These images appear in his poems and art, and Dave referred to each of them as “a rare moment of harmonious conversation between nature and humans”. For many years he and Colette were involved with the development of their wildlife garden and adjoining field at Old Castle. Dave loved nothing better than to be immersed in the wildlife there, whether with the scythe in hand or sitting for hours watching and listening to the birds – alongside him cups of tea and a book.
The poems and paintings in this collection are a testament and legacy to Dave Martin’s profound and long lasting attachment to the coastal path of Pembrokeshire.