This week sees the publication of Mostly Welsh , a collection of poems by Chris Armstrong. The collection blends the historic with mythological and personal themes and deals with love, loss and his relationship with Wales and Ceredigion.
The process of writing the collection began over 15 years ago:
“After losing my wife, nearly all of the poems I wrote were focussed on her and losing her – things I wished I had expressed while she was still alive, or at least said better, said more or more often. Poetry – both reading and writing – developed into some sort of catharsis or release for me. It wasn’t present at the time she died, as coping with the remains of family life and work took all my energy and time. Now it’s an ever-present pleasure, and I don’t think a single day goes past without some thought of my wife,” said Chris Armstrong.
Chris Armstrong has lived in Wales for most of his life, and moved to the Tregaron area, mid Wales in 1972. The landscape surrounding him has always inspired him, as he feels a strong link to the countryside around him.
“Wales and the local countryside has been a great influence, as is the sea. The sea is probably the next most important theme [after love and loss] as I have always lived near or on it. It often finds its way into the poems of love as some sort of allegory or symbolisation,” said the author.
The collection has received praise from Ffrangcon Lewis:
“At their best, these poems have a directness, honesty and crispness of diction which enables the poet to communicate the most raw of experiences with a degree of sureness, restraint and power.”
Mostly Welsh is a collection of poetic forms rooted in the Anglo-Welsh tradition that explores the poet’s life and mind after a loss, and follows his life journey.
“In essence, this collection is a man’s life experience finding expression through verse.”
Chris Armstrong was born in Sussex and has lived in Wales since he was 10 years old. He spent more than a decade in the merchant navy before working on a Ceredigion farm and then taking a degree which led to ten years working as a research officer before he set up his own consultancy, research and training company in the information and libraries sector.
Mostly Welsh by Chris Armstrong (£6.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.