A second year MA Student in Creative Writing at Swansea University has launched her new poetry collection.

Graduate Centre blocks thin

Wendy HolborowWendy Holborow, from South Wales, has recently had her poetry collection ‘After the Silent Phone Call’ published by Poetry Salzburg Press. The collection is a narrative about leaving the UK to go to live in Corfu, her life there, and subsequent return to Wales.

Wendy, who is in her sixties, was born in Ammanford but moved around a lot, living in Loughor, Cardiff, Llandrindod Wells and various places in England, before moving abroad. She returned to Swansea when she retired from teaching, because her  daughter had come here to live, then last year moved to Pontarddulais to be near her extended family.

The launch took place at Pontarddulais Library on 30th May and the event was hosted by Swansea University's Professor John Goodby who Wendy will be working with on her dissertation next academic year assisting her to extend her poetry knowledge and competence.

Wendy gained her initial degree from Cardiff University then went on to teach in schools around the UK and in Greece to where she moved in 1997. While living in Corfu, she founded and co-edited the literary journal Poetry Greece and her first pamphlet, From a Greek Balcony was published by Medusa (1998.). In 2005 she was invited to join a Masterclass with Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke.

After returning to Wales in 2011, Wendy was awarded a poetry Mentorship with Literature Wales and worked with the acclaimed poet Paul Henry. Her poetry has appeared in international journals including Poetry Salzburg Review, Agenda, Poetry Ireland Review and Envoi and has been published in several anthologies. Wendy has been placed, commended and shortlisted for various poetry competitions. In addition she has won prizes for her short stories which have been published in several anthologies including Quality Women’s Fiction.

Wendy is preparing a collection of short stories for possible publication in the near future, having worked on several new stories with Welsh writer and broadcaster Mr Jon Gower last semester and has almost completed her next collection of poetry.

Speaking about her decision to study at Swansea University Wendy said : “Having been a teacher for over 30 years I couldn’t wait to get back from Greece so I could further my education and do my MA. As I had been writing for many years, the Creative Writing course was the obvious choice for me. Swansea more so because of the high quality of lecturers including the late Nigel Jenkins, whose work I was a great fan of, and Stevie Davies whose novels I and my friends in Corfu read avidly. I owe a debt of gratitude to David Britton, Anne Laupe-Dunbar, John Goodby, Jon Gower and Jasmine Donahaye, all who have helped me develop my writing skills in various genres.

Wendy Holborow book coverEndorsements for Wendy’s new collection of poetry:

The most moving, disarmingly raw early poems in this book concern a leave-taking of dead parents, friends, ex relationships, of the homeland Wales with its ‘hearth of sheep’ – and  the ensuing  exile and alone-ness.  Corfu, which is juxtaposed with Wales throughout, represents a new adventure. There old folk ways are in turn contrasted with the new world of tourists and planes. Nature itself is a constant with detailed almost painterly descriptions of its flora and fauna, transfused with classical mythology.  A compelling read. Patricia McCarthy – Children’s books illustrator.

These poems may be read as a narrative, rich in persuasive detail, of home and exile, a negotiation between what has been left behind and what has been attained, or half-attained. The success of the poems, however, lies in their ever-repeated proposition that if we are framed for such difficult negotiations, we are also framed to discover, through attention to beauty, to memory and to ourselves, a kind of salvation. In Holborow's poems, no doubt about it, the world can be ugly as well as beautiful, the self can be grounded in loneliness as well as in love; against the predicaments framed by narratives of home and exile, she sets, with considerable achieved composure, poems of grace, understanding and compassion.  Theo Dorgan - Poet, prose writer, editor and translator.