the last polar bear on earth RSS
Our four poetry titles, released as a series in October 2018, have all been favourably reviewed by Gareth Leaman in the latest issue of Poetry Wales. 'The most emotively immediate of the four, Mari Ellis Dunning's Salacia brings to life a world in which Welsh women do not write their own stories, but rather have stories written upon them. We encounter rarely heard voices from the history and mythos of Wales and beyond, with an intense focus on the struggle of ensuring these voices ever reach an audience, achieved through an acute sense of the literal physical pressures of misogynistic...
"Rhian Elizabeth’s The Last Polar Bear on Earth is one fourth of a new poetry quartet published by Parthian this autumn. A lone polar bear graces the cover, rearing up to better regard the star-speckled inky night sky. Nothing to do with the environment, or indeed bears, the collection’s title rather represents loneliness, isolation, desolation. Just some of the feelings that Elizabeth is familiar with in her experiences of love and illness, as she navigates the minefields of dating and Multiple Sclerosis, laying bare about abusive relationships, being a mother and having a debilitating illness. As the blurb succinctly puts...
It wasn’t so much an argument, more like a disagreement, with a guy who came up to me after a reading I did recently. I finished off on a poem about Multiple Sclerosis and how having it hasn’t changed me.
The guy didn’t say what his illness was but he went… “You are wrong. Of course being ill changes us. You are a different person now.”
I was diagnosed with MS in 2016 but I had been unwell for years and years before that. At one point I couldn’t feel the entire right half of my body and I was so tired all the time I just couldn’t do anything, even the things I enjoyed the most, like sex.
Back and fore the doctors’ surgery I went with my notebook of different symptoms – I must’ve looked like a right hypochondriac. I was sent to different specialists in different departments of the hospital until finally an MRI scan and a neurologist revealed all these scars on my brain and spinal cord. And then he went and put a name on all of those years of being ill: Multiple Sclerosis.
So, did I walk into that neurologist’s office that afternoon as me, the person I had been for 28 years in all my glory and mischief, and was it like Stars in Their Eyes… did I suddenly walk out of that office into a puff of smoke and transform into a different person?
Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be... an emotional wreck.
As she prepares to release her debut poetry collection the last polar bear on earth, Rhian will be writing a daily blog for us across September about her writing and her life, so here's an interview to get you all introduced...
There is clearly a lot going on in your poetry, what influenced you to write?
I know. It’s because there’s a lot going on in my head! What first influenced me to write in general is what still influences me to write now – it’s not any sort of influence as such, just the need to write. I’ve always written about things that I’m going through that are difficult. I’m not good at talking about my feelings so I write them down instead. In my first book I fictionalised growing up, being a teenager, the death of my father, friendships, music. This poetry collection is all about me having Multiple Sclerosis, being a mother, being gay, being in and getting over a violent relationship, making mistakes.