Reviews for Words of Re-Enchantment

This book brings together the best of Anthony Nanson’s incisive writings about the ways that story can re-enchant our lives and the world we live in. Grounded in his practice as a storyteller, the essays range from the myths of Arthur, Arcadia, and the voyage west, to true tales of the past, science-fiction visions of the future, and the big questions of politics and spirituality such stories raise.

 

“Anthony’s account of this scene gave me goosebumps. It put me in mind of the rare occasions I’ve experienced the pagan gods speak through somebody. It illustrates the potential within our diverse religious traditions to draw upon the words of radical and prophetic figures to illuminate and critique our current political situation and also our responsibility as storytellers for our divinities.” Lorna Smithers reviewing for Gods and Radicals  read the full review here.

“As a writer and poet this book spoke to the core of my own approach. It talks about the need for our society to reconnect with nature and magic through storytelling. It is intelligently written, inspiring and convincing.” Stardancer, Amazon.

“This is a deeply philosophical book, asking what it means to be human, to be alive in this time and place, what it means to face up to the challenges and responsibilities of our moment in history. Given the subject matter, it’s a surprisingly upbeat and encouraging book. What I especially like about it, is that it offers meaningful ways forward to anyone who reads it.” Nimue Brown. Full review here.

More about the book here – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk/product-page/words-of-re-enchantment-writings-on-storytelling-myth-and-ecological-desire

A Website with a Purpose

by Anthony Nanson

 

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve recreated the Awen website using more up-to-date software. It’s responsive now on mobile devices, you can order books directly from us via Paypal, and we’re making sure it has plenty of interesting information to advance the cause of ecobardic writing.

The homepage and About page outline in brief Awen’s mission to promote quality writing that ‘engages with the world’ – a phrase intended to convey the idea of a reciprocal relationship between literature and life: writing can draw inspiration and urgency from what’s going on in the world, and reading it can flip you back into the world with a new facets of insight and commitment. This includes our relations with the natural world, for sure, but also aspects of society and the bigger picture of spirituality. It’s a broad-church vision of engagement and  connection, not a narrow sectarian prescription.

There’s more detail about that in An Ecobardic Manifesto – the entire text of which can be found on the website. The original pamphlet of this document has nearly sold out; we may reprint it sometime, but it seems more important to have it available to as many people as possible online.

The website has lots of information about Awen’s authors and our books currently in print and on sale. We’re uploading contents pages and samples of text from each book so people can get a better idea what’s in the books. The author page of the late Mary Palmer includes a bibliography and links to a video of her performing, two poems written in her honour when she died, and the entire text of my short literary biography of her (printed in the second edition of her book Iona). This suite of pages is intended to be a lasting memorial online to Mary and her poetry.

There’s still plenty of work to do on this new website. Search engine optimisation, for example, is a fiddly business that is still underway. The facility to buy books by Paypal is up and running; please do use it! We hope soon to install an alternative credit-card payment option as well. A slate of new editions of Awen titles are coming back into print this year, plus a brand new title from Jeremy Hooker. Look out for information about them on this blog and on the website when they’re published.

Visit the site here – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk

Things I have been reading

Includes a review for The Fifth Quarter, published by Awen.

Druid Life

When I review in batches, I often find there are themes. I can’t see any links this time, it’s quite a disparate set, but perhaps that ups the odds of there being something for everyone…

Revealing the Green Man – Mark Olly. This small and startling book comes out in August, and is unlike any Green Man stuff I’ve read previously. I’m not an expert on history or Green Men, though. This book intrigued me, it went into the possibilities of the past, and the implications for the future than I had anticipated. Author Mark Olly lectures in archaeology, it’s worth noting, so can be assumed to know his stuff. I’m not going to say too much about the content, to avoid spoilers, but I will say I found it a wild ride of a read, and far darker than I’d expected. If you wanted to be excited and surprised…

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Events with Kevan Manwaring

Awen author Kevan Manwaring has a lot of events coming up this summer…

28 May – Stroud Out Loud
9 June – Ballad Tales launch showcase, British School, Stroud.
19 June – Bath Storytelling Circle Ballad Tales special.
24 June – Tales of Witchcraft and Wonder, St Briavels (Brighid’s Flame premiere their new show, ‘Brighid’s Flame’!) http://englandevents.co.uk/lydney-tales-of-witchcraft-amp-wonder-2017/1007386
25 June – Stroud Out Loud
12/13 August – Brighid’s Flame: New Forest Fairy Festival (12/13th August). Chantelle Smith and Kevan Manwaring will be performing their new show at the New Forest Fairy Festival in Burley, New Forest, Hampshire.
25th – 28th August 2017 – Asylum Steampunk Festival
Lincoln  Tom & Nimue Brown (Hopeless Maine) bookstall and mischief; Kevan Manwaring performs stories inspired by his series The Windsmith Elegy. http://www.asylumsteampunk.co.uk/
Find out more about Kevan’s work with Awen on his author page – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk/kevan-manwaring

Irresistible Resistance

By Robin Collins

 

Let our resistance

be an irresistible,

bringing together

of the Stars and the Earth in our lives.

 

Let our resistance

be insistence on beauty and wonder,

let us be beyond

the deadening repetition of machines.

 

In all ways

we are evolving towards

the spiralling of creation.

 

Spirals in the resistance

will take us like starlings,

murmuring through

the shattering pieces

of where

we have come to,

arrived for the first time

in the middle of ourselves.

 

Spinning in the

time we create,

let our resistance,

weave worlds into our words,

adorn our paths,

through day and night,

with friendship,

 

Let this be our resistance,

sound as a well built house,

we can stand,

and belong in the place we are now,

taking,

sun,

wind,

rain,

and frost.

 

We become,

irresistible

in our resistance,

to the webbing

of life’s fullness.

 

Of all we

lock away

now the walls and chains

are blown away.

 

Today,

we have found

child’s play,

is irresistible in our resistance.

 

Bard of Hawkwood

Today we’re reblogging from Kevan Manwaring’s Bardic Academic blog. This is about The Bard of Hawkwood – a recent bardic competition promoting literary skill and live performance.

“3 years ago I set up the Bard of Hawkwood contest to promote community creativity. This, along with Stroud Out Loud! – the monthly spoken word showcase I founded – offers a way for budding bards to hone their fledgling talents in an inclusive, supportive way. It is not the only way of doing things but it works here in Stroud and the Five Valleys, where there is a wealth of local talent and traditions of artistic heritage, alternative lifestyles, radical thinking, and grassroots activity. The Bardic Chair tradition and revival is something I have explored in my book, The Bardic Chair: inspiration, invention, innovation (1st published by RJ Stewart Books in 200, a new edition of the book is forthcoming).”

Read the rest here – https://thebardicacademic.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/bard-of-hawkwood-2017/

Writing on the Wall: How can Poetry Can Save the Planet?

Poets, thinkers, writers and people who care for the natural world will gather in Waterloo on Saturday, June 3, 2017 for a unique interactive day of exploring and learning how poetry can help us protect the environment.

We’re delighted to announce that a number of Awen authors will be participating in this event.

Writing on the Wall is:

  • A day of poetic action and reflection for the planet. The first in a series.
  • A chance for new and established poets, budding writers, fans of poetry and anyone stirred by the environment message and crisis to build a vision of what the world might be, using poetry as a catalyst.
  • A new collaboration between poets and the wider world of faiths, ecologists and governments
  • Supported by The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), WWF-UK and the Southbank Festival’s Belief and Beyond Belief, of which Writing on the Wall is part.

The conservation movement’s language is so often of fear, anger and despair. But poetry can take us down different paths, and find wonder there. Our invitation to the audience during this interactive day is to help build a vision, through words, of what the world might be. To go beyond the boundaries of despair and think again about the way we live in this world. And to explore a way of being together, being part of the world and not apart from it.

“Poetry, at its best, speaks directly to both heart and mind,” said poet Jay Ramsay who has put the programme together for the Southbank Festival. “It can do what little else can do. It can speak a language that moves beyond the data of climate change, beyond the tragedy of habitat loss and species extinction, into a place of truth, where we can find a vision of a different kind of ending. Effective poetry stirs us, evoking reactions and provoking thought and, hopefully, action and commitment.

Writing on the Wall is an invitation to everyone to step “beyond a world of eco-deliverables and eco-miserables” and to delight in the wonder of the world around us.

The full day programme includes a writing workshop on how to incorporate a true and authentic vision of nature into your writing. Throughout the day there are talks, discussions, meditations and performances featuring poets, musicians, conservationists, writers and representatives from faith, spirituality and publishing groups.

The poets, speakers and musicians include: Jeni Couzyn, Glyn Davies (WWF), Aidan Andrew Dun, Irina Kuzminsky, Paul Matthews, Caroline McCausland, Niall McDevitt, Jehanne Mehta, Gabriel Bradford Millar, Helen Moore, Anthony Nanson, Peter Owen Jones, Jay Ramsay, Nigel Shaw and others.

 

Next steps

This is just the beginning. There are plans for an event at Dartington College in April 2018 and the project encourages anyone who is interested to take this further, using poetry – their own poems or other people’s – to provoke discussion, encourage debate and give hearts and minds a good shake.

 

Details:

Venue: St John’s Waterloo

Date: Saturday June 3, 2017

Times: 10.00 to 17.30, activities throughout the day. Tickets: £20

Further details and bookings: https://www.waterloofestival.com/poetry

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