The Rockhoppers – myself, Mel Perry, and Jackie Biggs, all met in Wales through poetry. I lived in beautiful West Wales for 11 years, and during that time took part in several poetry events and made contact with very inspiring and talented creative people. My third collection of poetry, ‘After a Visit to a Botanical Garden’ was inspired by the Botanical Garden and led me to write about landscape and themes of paradise in post-colonial terms.
My third short story collection, ‘Writing on Water’, was also partly inspired by and written in Wales, and I was so happy to have it published by Welsh Publishers Seren, with a cover design by the talented Raul Speek, a Cuban artist and musician living in Wales.
I’ve always enjoyed performing my poetry to live audiences, and it was during these events that I met and was excited by both Mel and Jackie. Over the past couple of years these two poets have performed their work across Wales, and Mel has close links with Sweden and Ireland where she travels frequently offering residencies to young people. Mel’s most recent work, a dual language beautifully produced book, contains some of the most exquisite poems she has produced so far. Jackie Biggs is about to have her second collection published by Indigo Dreams. I have never seen a poet work so hard at her poetry! She puts me to shame! She has had many poems published in journals, anthologies, and online, dedicates many hours to writing and workshopping, and also manages to co-host Cardigan’s monthly Poetry Performance venue, the Cellar Bards.
As The Rockhoppers, we have performed at Rhosygilwen Manor, Llandeillo Literature Festival, Aberysthwyth Arts Centre and part of Wales’ Night Out Event. The link between us is our love of poetry, and it has been a journey of connection and discovery to learn from and inspire each other, and find ways of interacting with each other’s poetry. It is a great joy to welcome them to Kent and I’d like to extend huge thanks to Angela Dye, with whom I first voiced an International Woman’s Day event in Faversham; to Rosie Johnson at Words on Waves, The Harbour Bookshop, Whitstable; and to the ever gracious Connor Sansby for offering Jackie and Mel a poetry slot tomorrow at Tongue Punch, The Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate.
The Rockhoppers will be appearing as part of Words on Waves, The Harbour Bookshop on Thursday 7th March at 6.45 -9, which also includes poetry by Luigi Marchini and other guests, and at The Guildhall, Faversham, Friday 8th March, between 7- 10.30 pm, with a great line up of poets and musicians, including Kent’s resident Welsh poet, Christopher Hopkins.