Big names contribute to a collection of poetry for the benefit of Tŷ Hafan

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Where the birds sing our names / Max Boyce

A professor emeritus of poetry at the University of South Wales has published a collection of poems for the benefit of Tŷ Hafan, with contributions from some of the country’s best-known writers.

Professor Tony Curtis edited the anthology, titled “Where the Birds Sing Our Names”, after seeing firsthand how Tŷ Hafan provides comfort, care and support to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses. and their families.

The book includes poems by Steelworker Chancellor and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; comedian and artist Max Boyce; singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford; and USW Creative Writing Professor Philip Gross, to name a few.

Professor Tony Curtis (Photo credit: USW)

After attending the funeral of a friend’s granddaughter, who had been diagnosed with a disease limiting life expectancy at birth and had been supported by Tŷ Hafan, Tony wanted to help the association by creating a collection of poems and donating all proceeds from the book to Hospice Sully.

“The staff at Tŷ Hafan – both frontline and administrative – do a wonderful job,” he said.

“The rooms for their children and families are equipped with specialized amenities to help make the unbearable more manageable.

“Charities such as Tŷ Hafan have been incredibly hard hit by the pandemic, so I am happy to be able to support them and to help raise funds to some extent. “

For each child who died at the hospice, a unique recorded soundprint of the child’s name in bird song is created and played in the park, along with a copy of the song given to the child’s family.

Eminent poets

It was this touching tribute that gave Tony the idea for the title of the book. His introductory poem explains more:

Where the birds sing our names

When the children pass

Their names are put in Morse code, period and hyphen,

And parents choose a songbird –

Blackbird, blackbird, wren and thrush –

These name notes are played as you walk past each tree

In the woods around Tŷ Hafan, the house-haven.

The bird sings to the bird across the land,

A chain of notes to the end of the trees

And the oceans begin. Then they fly past.

So imitating birds pass on these song names

Against the murmurs of the sea:

A sort of immortality.

Maria Timon Samra, Managing Director of Tŷ Hafan, said: “My colleagues and I are extremely grateful to Tony for having had the vision and motivation to bring this project to fruition. He has collaborated with eminent poets across the UK who have generously contributed to this charming book. “Where the Birds Sing Our Names is an anthology of beautiful poems, all proceeds of which will be used to support our work with children whose lives are limited and their families. in Wales.

“Each sale will make a real difference in what we are able to give to the 270 children of Wales we support each year, and I am sure it will make a treasured Christmas present for poetry lovers around the world. . “

Where the Birds Sing Our Names is available for purchase now from the Tŷ Hafan Shop website HERE and at Tŷ Hafan charity shops in South and Central Wales.


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