MODRON: Poems on refuge in new magazine
April 3, 2023
MODRON is a new Welsh online magazine that offers poems, articles, and community pages featuring ecologically themed projects in the arts and culture sectors. Founded by Kristian Evans and Zoë Brigley, it uses the nimble online format to respond quickly to new writing about ecological catastrophe and climate emergency. With the release of issue 2, Zoë Brigley and Kristian Evans share some work on the theme of ‘Refuge’.
New poems relevant to the theme of ‘Refuge’ have just been published in issue 2 of MODRON, a new Welsh online magazine with an environmental theme, publishing poetry, interviews, and articles.
Cath Drake’s poem imagines a utopic future where dolphins pass on their wisdom to newly-humbled humans.
Elin ap Hywel is a Welsh-language poet who has talked movingly about living with Alzheimer’s, and for this issue Laura Fisk was honoured to gain permission to translate ap Hywel’s moving poem about seeking refuge in the ocean.
Abeer Ameer considers the lack of refuge for those experiencing the devastating impacts of pollution in Iraq.
‘In an age when attention is so scattered and fragmentary, poetry is a refuge which helps us focus on what matters. The Romantics understood that there are depths of attention beyond the superficial and circumstantial, that there is always more to life; that really, we haven’t even begun to approach the heart of the mystery. The world is more-than-human. Such knowledge, in this time of ecological crisis and catastrophe, is medicinal, but also asks us to find a new language. Increasingly, contemporary poets are writing from this understanding, and their work is more important than ever.’
Kristian Evans on why he feels the project is necessary.
Other poems pay close and careful attention to nature, which is not simply a human refuge but its own thing: more-than-human; including work by Pascale Petit, Michael Goodfellow, Ness Owen, PA Bitez, Claire Crowther, Pat Edwards, Suzanne Iuppa, Sian Northey, Katherine Robinson, and Lottie Williams.
Supported by the Books Council of Wales / Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru, the magazine offers poems, articles, and community pages featuring ecologically themed projects in the arts and culture sectors.
We’ve put together a team of editors, which, apart from the two of us, includes Taz Rahman, soon to have his first collection published by Seren, and who runs the YouTube channel Just Another Poet. Siân Melangell Dafydd is the Welsh-language/Cymraeg editor, as the magazine is actively seeking work in Welsh. Glyn Edwards (whose collection In Orbit is out now with Seren) is MODRON’s editor based in North Wales.
MODRON issue 1 saw published work by some of Wales’s and the UK’s best poets including Patience Agbabi, Rachael Li Ming Chong, Taylor Edmonds, Paul Henry, So Mayer, Grug Muse, Pascale Petit, Karishma Sangtani, Durre Shahwar, Penelope Shuttle, Zoë Skoulding, and Deryn Rees-Jones. An article by former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood discussed her new role at Community Energy Wales, an organization that supports community-owned renewable energy projects. There were two new films: a recording of the recent launch of issue one at Kenfig Dunes Nature Reserve, and an interview with Anthony Vahni Capildeo about the approach to nature in their poetry. Finally, in ‘Confronting Our Place Within Places’, Dyfan Lewis interviewed Iestyn Tyne about his new Cymraeg collection, Ystafelloedd Amhenodol and the translation of the book, which will be published imminently by Broken Sleep Books.
Issue 2 – just published on April 2nd – has another array of great poets as well as including ecological-themed articles and media. In the interview sections, there is a conversation between India and Wales via Sampurna Chattarji and Mererid Hopwood, as well as a video interview with environmental writer Robert Minhinnick. In community articles, Bethan James talks about using Welsh myth and storytelling to think about the climate crisis and Florrie Crass outlines a project about poetry and folk music in the environment. Richard Gwyn also outlines our relationships with pets and wild creatures.
The magazine is not open for poetry submissions at the moment, but it is always open to pitches for articles (see the guidelines here).This summer 2023 will be the first time that MODRON opens up for submissions of poems, and the magazine welcomes all work including from groups traditionally underrepresented in publishing. You can join the MODRON mailing list to hear more.
Zoë Brigley is a poet, editor, and educator with three PBS Recommended Bloodaxe poetry collections, most recently Hand & Skull (Bloodaxe 2019). She is editor of Poetry Wales, a poetry editor at Seren Books, and co-founder of MODRON. She works at the Ohio State University.
Kristian Evans is co-founder of MODRON, and the author of two chapbooks: Unleaving (HappenStance 2015) and Otherworlds (Broken Sleep 2021). With Zoë Brigley, he edited 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren 2021), and with Brigley and Rob A. Mackenzie, he edited Magma Poetry 79 on "dwelling".