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Announcing Parthian's 2024/2025 Poetry List

Announcing Parthian's 2024/2025 Poetry List

We are delighted to announce our poetry list for 2024/2025, which includes exciting new collections from writers already an integral part of our Parthian family – Rae Howells, Natalie Ann Holborow, Christina Thatcher and Roberto Pastore – alongside two wonderful debuts from Tracey Rhys and Ben Rhys Palmer.

This May, we release This Common Uncommon, a call-to-arms second collection in defence of our natural world from Rae Howells, who was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year for her surprising and vivid debut, The language of bees.

 When a local common is threatened with development, Rae explores its secrets, discovering extraordinary natural treasures and wonderful people fighting to defend them. Using her nature poet’s eye for detail and treading in the footsteps of the original poet of the commons, John Clare, Rae brings to life the story of this threatened land. Above all she takes us on a journey of discovery, into the miniature rainforest of this little, almost-forgotten place, where you’ll find the uncommon is a common sight.

Rae Howells is a poet, journalist and lavender farmer from Swansea. Her debut poetry collection, The language of bees, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2023. She has previously won the Rialto Nature & Place and Welsh Poetry competitions and been listed for many others including the Winchester Poetry Prize and the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition. Rae’s words have been featured widely in journals including MagmaThe RialtoPoetry WalesNew Welsh ReviewAcumen and Poetry IrelandBloom and Bones, her co-authored pamphlet with Jean James, was published in 2021.

 This October, we will launch a rich and visceral third collection from Natalie Ann Holborow. The poems in Little Universe are an exploration of tumultuous human emotions and nature’s ever-present rhythms. Lives bustle within a busy hospital’s walls, humming against the Gower landscape that stretches beyond its windows. The tiny worlds of a wide cast unfold as they deal with their own emergencies, losses, recoveries, hopes and histories. The characters in this book are all bound by the undying pulse of existence — yet their stories serve as a reminder that despite these stark contrasts, life persists.


Natalie Ann Holborow is a winner of the Terry Hetherington Award and the Robin Reeves Prize and has been shortlisted and commended for the Bridport Prize, the National Poetry Competition, the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, and the Cursed Murphy Spoken Word Award among others. Her writing residencies with the British Council, Literature Wales and Kultivera have seen her writing and performing poetry in Wales, Ireland, Sweden and India. She is the author of the poetry collections And Suddenly You Find Yourself (2017), Small (2020) – both listed as Best Poetry Collections of the Year by Wales Arts Review – and, with Mari Ellis Dunning, the collaborative poetry pamphlet The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass (2020). Natalie lives in Swansea, is a proud patron of local charity The Leon Heart Fund, and runs marathons to raise funds. 

For spring 2025, we’ve lassoed a wonderful third collection from Christina Thatcher and a sparkling debut collection from Tracey Rhys.

Christina Thatcher’s Breaking a Mare is an investigation of silence, goodness and girlhood. It invites readers into the barn, the sawdust mill, the rodeo arena. These poems expose the hard work women do on farms, the loss of rural landscapes and the role death can play in these spaces. They ask what it means to be good in the face of physical, emotional and ecological threat. Ultimately, these poems want to know what breaks us and what makes us stronger.

Christina Thatcher is the author of two previous poetry collections with Parthian – More than you were (2017) and How to Carry Fire (2020). Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in literary magazines, including Ambit, Butcher's Dog, Magma, Poetry Wales, The North, The Poetry Review and more. Christina has toured internationally, reading her work in the UK, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Switzerland, and Romania. A creative writing lecturer at Cardiff University, she keeps busy off campus as a tutor for The Poetry School, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. Christina grew up in America but has made a happy home in Cardiff with her husband, Rich, and cat, Miso.

21st-Century Bathsheba, the lively debut collection from Tracey Rhys, seeks to reclaim Bathsheba for a new era as an everywoman of the ages. Giving voice to a gender that has been historically portrayed through the male lens, these poems redress the balance, creating a collage of female experience in all its urban complexity. Comprised of two parts, the second half of the collection is seen through the eyes of act-of-God-turned-celebrity, Flood. Explored through the lens of the media and fame, these poems imagine how Mother Nature might respond to humanity’s interference, were she as flawed and determined as humanity itself. 

Tracey Rhys is a Bridgend-based writer, originally from the Rhondda. Her poems, stories and essays have appeared in Poetry WalesNew Welsh ReviewPlanetThe Lonely Crowd, Ink, Sweat & Tears, A470Yer Ower Voices: Dialect Poetry from Wales, Lipstick Eyebrows and more. Listed for various competitions including the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition, Poetry Wales Pamphlet Competition and Cardiff International Poetry Competition, her first pamphlet Teaching a Bird to Sing was a judge’s favourite in the Michael Marks Award. In 2020, she won the Poetry Archive's 'Now: Wordview' competition. Tracey will feature among 15 poets in wave seventeen of @iambapoet, which goes live on 15 March 2024. 

In autumn 2025 we will release the deliciously fresh sophomore collection Graveyards On Other Planets from Roberto Pastore who was highly commended for the Forward Prize for his humorous, spiritual and wise debut Hey Bert.

Graveyards On Other Planets is a collection that feels both tied to this moment of collective mourning while also recognising that it is the poet's role in society to imagine new worlds and new futures for us. With all of his usual intimacy and delirium, Roberto Pastore continues to create his own unique patchwork of pop culture, hauntology, and deep introspection. A playground for gentle outsiders and misfits, in an era of violence and conformity. 

 Roberto Pastore is a British-Italian poet based in Cardiff. He studied Creative Writing in Carlisle where he was part of the renowned Speakeasy spoken word scene, and currently hosts a local monthly poetry group in Lufkin CoffeeHis first collection Hey Bert (Parthian 2019) was highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize and subsequently appeared in the Forward Book of Poetry 2021. In 2022 he released a poetry pamphlet entitled Absolute Joy which led to a collaboration with artist Rob Churm, who adapted one of the poems into a performance piece and comic.

 Winner of the Verve Poetry Prize, Ben Rhys Palmer also joins our list in 2025. In his joyful debut collection Breakfast with the Scavengers, discombobulated robots rub shoulders with philosophising hyenas, orangutan brides, Mesopotamian fish gods, and a psychotherapist from outer space. By turns funny, tender, and beautifully bizarre, Breakfast with the Scavengers explores love, loss, loneliness, our never-ending quest for connection, and those blink-and-you-miss-them moments of transcendence that can light up our lives.

Ben Rhys Palmer was born in Cardiff, lived in Barcelona for a decade, and now divides his time between south Wales and Mexico. In 2022, he won first prize in the Verve Poetry Competition. His poetry has appeared in The London MagazinePoetry Wales; and Forklift, Ohio; and been commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize and the Kent & Sussex Poetry Competition. Ben also works as a Poetry School tutor, freelance translator, style editor, actor, and music producer.


Parthian’s Full Poetry List 2024/2025:

  • This Common Uncommon – Rae Howells [May 2024]

  • Little Universe – Natalie Ann Holborow [October 2024]

  • Breaking a Mare – Christina Thatcher [March 2025]

  • 21st-Century Bathsheba – Tracey Rhys [April 2025]

  • Graveyards On Other Planets – Roberto Pastore [October 2025]

  • Breakfast with the Scavengers – Ben Rhys Palmer [October 2025]