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Rhys Owain Williams

That Lone Ship

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‘The decks of That Lone Ship fizz with the imagery of a changing seaside town. Its souls are chronicled with pathos and tenderness.’  –  Paul Henry

'Wide-ranging and intelligent, heartfelt and elegant – Rhys Owain Williams explores loss, love and a Swansea boyhood in poems that surprise and amaze.' – Joe Dunthorne

Rhys Owain Williams proves himself a skilled navigator, charting a course through seas both calm and rough, familiar and strange. By turns moving, poignant, funny and undeniably local, these poems deal with place and people, love and friendship: Swansea town and its familial inhabitants in all their ugly (lovely) glory. That Lone Ship, whether arriving or departing, is one you’ll swim out to; one you won’t want to miss.’ – Emily Blewitt

'Rhys Owain Williams' That Lone Ship explores the same social struggles from a different perspective: that of a working-class crisis of masculinity in left-behind communities. "The Pint That Follows" takes this up early in the collection: we encounter a struggle to speak, an overreliance on language, and the undue responsibility placed on communication to forge and maintain relationships. Silences are comfortable but inadequate: scant words reach out but never land, and yet somehow the attempts to communicate are enough, for now. Williams' work is defined by the gestures made when we know language won't suffice – in fact, it's the gesture that generates meaning. [...] all the works in this collection take on this melancholic transience. The lines move like their ever-present rivers: all meanderings and detours, shaping and shaped by their landscape in relentless search of finality. They sweep all ideas dropped into them toward the calm void of the sea: words flowing like flotsam out into Swansea Bay.' – Gareth Leaman, Poetry Wales

that lone ship on the horizon, 
arriving or leaving? 


From the very first page of this varied and engaging debut collection, Rhys Owain Williams invites his readers to pause. Here is a poet who is working things out, taking time to contemplate what it means to grow older with each passing day. The poems in That Lone Ship are often caught between two places – inhabiting the quiet spaces between childhood and adulthood, lust and love, heartbreak and new beginnings, life and death. 

An acute observer, Williams writes with a sharp-eyed, questing intelligence. The future has as large a presence in this collection as the past. Restrained and elegantly-crafted, the poems in That Lone Ship resonate beyond the page, finding their footing between the known and the unknown, the said and the unsaid.

Rhys Owain Williams was born and raised in Morriston, Swansea. His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including AgendaLighthouse and Popshot, and was recently commissioned for a permanent public Art in Site project at Morriston Hospital. Rhys was a runner-up in the WalesPENCymru New Voices Competition 2016, and was selected as one of the Hay Festival’s Writers at Work in 2017. He co-runs The Crunch multimedia poetry magazine and is assistant editor of The Ghastling.