Retail worker Gareth Culshaw, from Wrexham, north Wales, visited Tŷ Newydd in April 2015 after being chosen as one of the successful Spring Masterclass applicants by National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and Maura Dooley. He writes about how spending a week in the company of attentive tutors can change everything.
“I started writing years ago due to Noel Gallagher and his lyrics. Some of them really resonated with me. For many years I wrote because I loved it. But then one December night I applied for a Tŷ Newydd Masterclass. I like many others never expected to get accepted. It was a dream, a forgotten dream that one morning sprung up and said ‘Welcome!’
I was full of energy and trepidation. What had I left myself in for? But when I saw the white house with rising chimney stacks, sprawling ivy spreading its syllables, nature’s wild flowers and heard the verse in the bird song, I knew I had come to a writer’s home. The warmth inside the house resonated from the friendly staff, cosy rooms, and a library containing a century of words. The only negative in the week was…it was a week. I wanted a month!
I have been writing poetry for a number of years. Before Tŷ Newydd I had been published in five magazines. Since Tŷ Newydd I have been published in another fifteen in less than a year. That’s what one week did for me, it has taken three years off my writing journey.
Poetry is my life, Poetry is a life. You can never just turn it on or off. I genuinely believe I can be put anywhere on this earth and write poems. Sometimes I feel like quitting work and filling my rucksack. Walking for months with pen and paper. But as we know modern life does not bestow such pleasure on us. But we have to get people noticed in writing. It is a beautiful life.”
Balancing there on their shoulders
a drop of centuries rain, Llyn Cŵn.
Lying delicately as water in a cat dish
hanging in hanging on.
You have been in the way all your life.
Left to it, and also ignored.
The Glyders have stared you down
for not being good enough.
Threatening to pour you away at any moment.
Their stare and frown casting shadows.
You have been a hidden delight.
Wrapped up by lesser beings.
Though your time has been loyally served
You have never been given a chance.
So when I come to lovingly sit
Llyn Cŵn, Llyn Cŵn, I will never forget.
– Gareth Culshaw