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Why I hoped for a Son

12/11/2019

On the 12th of December 2018, I had an egg extraction procedure. By two o’clock that day I had become an official egg donor. I had undergone the scans, hormone injections and stress of preparing my body to overproduce eggs in the quiet hope that they might give someone else the opportunity to conceive and have a child. The title of this blog post is deceiving — I am not the boy’s mother. I am his egg donor. The lady who bore and will raise what I now know is a little boy is his mother. I am a very small part of his DNA (three-way DNA is an intriguing subject) and I will be an even smaller part of his life. I have always referred to children as “It”. Even now I am editing my ‘its’ as I write this post. I am not maternal and I have no ambitions to raise children. Yet, I cannot help but feel responsible for the child. I may have been a minuscule cog in a very large machine but I was an integral one. I had hoped for a son simply because the modern world remains cruel to women.

Midi


My PhD Journey and a Brief Account of my Reasons

12/11/2019

My PhD journey is coming to an end. The momentum that kept me moving forward with my writing has slowed down and come to an abrupt stop. I have spent the last few months questioning my identity and integrity as a writer. I was brought up on the grand gestures of superheroes and I always believed that we were placed on this earth to be useful to our society. Medieval Welsh bards shared similar ethics. They were poets, politicians and warriors. The balance between words and actions is what drew me to their poetry five years ago. But the rush of applause has taken me further into an academic and creative bubble that largely excludes the voices that prompted me to pursue my education to the highest level in the first place. The title of Doctor and the prestige that comes with being published by reputable publications has always been one of my ambitions. This is because I want the attention and respect that usually comes with that form of academic and creative success.

I believe that I need this attention because those platforms have a large and attentive audience. I have always, and only, wanted my voice to be heard and respected. I was dismissed and neglected by the teaching staff at my secondary school. My seeming learning disabilities were used as an excuse to acquire teaching assistants and to move me to classes where those teachers were needed. For example, classes with behavioural problems. I struggled for five years under the assumption that my future was bleak. Five minutes before my Maths G.C.S.E, a teacher told me that I was not going pass the test. Another teacher told a fellow student that if she wanted to become a vet then she better start writing to Jim will Fix It. When I think how close I am to acheiving a PhD and contributing original research to my field, my thoughts drift to all the wasted potential who never had parents who encouraged them to continue their education despite not achieving good GCSEs or lecturers who believed in their ability but understood that ability and talent must be nurtured and developed. I’m not a smart person. I know… I come from a family who are exceptionally smart. But I am intelligent. I understand my strengths and weakness. I can research a subject, understand it and articulate my thoughts in a coherent manner.

My secondary school education didn’t equip me with basic skills that my time in a professional and academic environment has proven to me comes naturally to others. The sentence “this is basic stuff, Rhea” has become my curse and anthem. It reminds me to never be complacent. I have spent years trying to acquire those basic skills. At times I have felt like a five-year-old who has been taken on by NASA. I’ve failed and succeeded in my endeavours to be normal. I have made my weaknesses into strengths and boldly defied them when they could not be mitigated.

I chose to pursue my education partly because I wanted to prove that I could but mostly because I knew that what I had to offer my society was a lot more than I had initially thought possible. I have an obligation to contribute everything within my possession. I want to be in a position where I can be heard and begin conversations that can change attitudes, reveal and open doors for those who never had opportunities and repay some of the kindness shown to me by those lecturers who gave me a larynx. Now that I am beginning my career, I hope that I don’t disappoint them. Above all, I hope that I never forget the reasons that motivated me to study for a PhD in poetry.

Cofion gorau (Garedig ewch yn/Kindly go in)

Rhea Seren

Midi


The Nuckelavee

 

The Queen had named him Pryderi;

stripped from her life of equerry,

militia ruffled reins once more.

Rhiannon never did deplore

the coarse punishment misconstrued

upon her; the ladies imbued

with false pride, butter her demise

with buckets of frayed lullabies

instead of water; he came home

to a bouquet of rue; coulomb[2]

shocks her fair-haired child; she ordered

a saddle be kept and haltered

to her door; the ladies retold

the story with the King extolled.

*

Cronus sought a ghost in Heaven

but found pale, mortal flesh cession

in laboured breaths and made his choice;

the Queen’s ladies sought equipoise

in disorder, threw dignity

asunder, concealed their blunder

that broke the cradle with uncouth,

torn claws: bleeding, yellow; conduce

a fate that rivalled the hag’s face;

she mistook silence for diastase

within her ranks; they gripped Urisk,

painted him a bleak basilisk

that stoned knights who looked upon it;

coerced Rhiannon snatched the bit.

*

Rhiannon became the ghost Queen;

wafted the courtyard — ethylene

musk clung to hands with besotted

sweat that marks thighs of men bloated

from their valour; she gained renown

with her deformation that’ll drown

with the sea, the moat constricts

her lips and clubs aphasia[3];

she couldn’t gallop her white steed,

ethereal, she talked in whinnied

gasps that wrenches skin loose, attaches

bones that birth a ghost who snatches

the reins away in wreathed horror;

it’ll gleefully rupture order.

*

Harvest seaweed in hopes that the

Nuckelavee will dig that spur

deeper, bone and sinew exposed

as unluck ripples, snaps riposte

with angered charm; kindness disarms

the lady that rides within barbs

of its mismatched, aqua skeleton;

keep on praying for redemption.

One arm dragged as porcelain skin

slices against stones, webbed condign

will fray, rupture and redefine

wolfish hands, crush a celandine

flower with awkward Grindylows’

that spew mortasheen[4] embryos.

*

The equine’s spine trembles, frisson

rimes bitter with nihilism;

the mortasheen has infected

and flourished, valour dissected

her contrivance with amaranthine

oaths excreted through brash guanine

bonds the chivalrous can previse;

scorn those grey, sylphie butterflies,

advise them to stop wasting time.

The kelpie secretes lysozyme,

sweat bruises her heart, vitrify,

cast stones only to transmogrify

with cautious desideratum,

stitched her girth in ardent bonum.

*

She’d been reprieved by mocked hubris,

hid under worn stitching, a fluence

began an argute estrapade[5];

shamed, her knights formed a cavalcade

in her honour. It was too late,

grated flesh till she might tolerate

inevitable apoptosis,

ischemia[6] exalts necrosis;

all she’d ever wanted was love.

She rode wild once to mellifluous

wails, leaves flutter cross thunderous

skies, schema snits with blunderbuss

jumentous trails; ensnared, gumbo

spits from her cauldron: “mum…bo…oh”.

 

Notes

 

This poem has been influenced by a cyhydedd fer.

 

[2] An electrical charge, equal to the quantity conveyed in one second by a current of one ampere.

[3] An impairment of language affecting the production of speech and the comprehension of the spoken word, along with the ability to read and write.

[4] A disease passed on by the Nuckelavee — a Welsh mythical creature– that forces an individual to suffer a slow and agonising death.

[5] ‘Argute’ and ‘estrapade’ is the action of a horse rearing, plunging and bucking to unseat a rider.

[6] An inadequate supply of blood to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart.

 



Lili Patreon
Lili-Mai (Chapter One)



Hiraeth Turned Salty in the Pharynx

They rolled hiraeth around their mouth like needles;

earmarked it for an allied nation to

conceal in homesickness, misconstruing

a weight that tears at the ligaments of our tongue.

French Translation

Ils ont enroulé Hiraeth sur leur bouche comme des épines ;

qui le destinait à une nation alliée pour qu’elle puisse

dissimuler le mal du pays, une mauvaise interprétation

un poids qui déchire les ligaments de notre langue.


https://soundcloud.com/rhea-seren-phillips

A SoundCloud account that I can no longer access or download the content because I’ve forgotten my password. It is still an interesting way to pass half an hour to an hour with a cup of tea and biscuit though.


Short-Term Development Work with Parallel.Cymru was published the 30th of January 2019. It can be viewed here. 


Short-Term Development Work with Parallel.Cymru

It was a cold Autumn afternoon that I met Neil Rowlands, friend and founder of Parallel.Cymru, to discuss an opportunity for short-term development work at Parallel.Cymru. A bisgedi Bourbon and te mochyn later I was yn ddigon ffodus to sign a contract to write an introduction to Welsh poets throughout the centuries. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I am very excited to be supporting the innovative and captivating Parallel.Cymru once more!

25.10.2018

Datblygiad Tymor Byr Gweithio gyda Parallel.Cymru

Roedd yn brysur oer yn yr hydref a gwnes i gyfarfod â Neil Rowlands, ffrind a sylfaenydd Parallel.Cymru, i drafod cyfle ar gyfer gwaith datblygu tymor byr yn Parallel.Cymru. Bourbon a bochedi yn ddiweddarach roeddwn i’n ddigon ffodus i arwyddo cytundeb i ysgrifennu cyflwyniad i feirdd Cymreig trwy’r canrifoedd. Dydw i ddim eisiau difetha’r syndod ond rwy’n falch iawn fy mod yn cefnogi’r Parallel.Cymru arloesol a chysurus unwaith eto! Esguswch unrhyw gamgymeriadau. Rwy’n dysgu siarad Cymraeg.

25.10.2018


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Four poems published in Molly Bloom, Issue 17.

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Bilingual representations (Welsh and English) of three articles from The Conversation and one article from The Luxembourg Review by Parallel Cymru with future articles planned.

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Visiting poet. Ballygar annual carnival. Ballygar, Ireland. 06.08.2018

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Introductory workshop to Welsh poetic forms and metre in the English language. Hosted by People Speak Up, Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli. 15.06.2018

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Soapbox (July 2018). ‘Justice’ Welsh poetic form poem included in Issue 110.

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Cheval 11 includes three of my poems (p111).

Two of my poems have been published in this month’s Poetry Wales (July 2018)!


David Greenslade talking on Prynhawn Da (6.32-12.16) in Llanelli (19.06.2018). The Welsh Lady exhibited in Glorious Disgust is featured towards the end of the interview. 

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Audio of two of my poems that have been published in The Lonely Crowd 

Issue 9 includes two of my poems (p109).

You can find an essay explaining what influenced the two poems on The Lonely Crowd’s website (https://thelonelycrowd.org/2018/06/05/on-writing-madness-and-the-sea-laughed-and-the-stomach-blushed-rhea-seren-phillips/).


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Two poems published in Molly Bloom, Issue 15.

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Envoi includes my poem, Burning Down the Field of Trees (p27).

The-Conversation
How the Welsh developed their own form of Poetry. 8th March 2017.

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How Poets Revived the Story of the Last Welsh Princess of Wales. 4th August 2017.

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Dissident Voice- Poetry on Sunday, Our Primordial Nightmare (14th January 2018).

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Dissident Voice- Poetry on Sunday, Parasomina (28th January 2018).

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Gogoneddus Ych-a-Fi: an exhibition of work by contemporary Surrealists curated by David Greenslade (B Block Gallery Space, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed Campus, Cardiff; February – April 2018).

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Dissident Voice- Poetry on Sunday, The Cunning Little Vixen (28th January 2018).