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Christopher Hopkins - A new voice in poetry

(March 01, 2018)

A new voice in poetry
Christopher Hopkins

Chris Hopkins - portrait

Christopher Hopkins grew up on a council estate in Neath, West Glamorgan, during the 1970s; a landscape of mountains and machines. His debut poetry 'chapbook' Take Your Journeys Home has been published by New York based publishing house Clare Songbirds and two of his poems from it 'A Sorrow on the Hill' and 'Smoke and Whiskey' have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2018.

A sorrow on the hill

‘It's a place to go’.
Here, where nothing comes,
only the bread van
and the ‘taker.

Men drink in the lounge,
while weigh-ins for the slimmer's club go on next door.
Cigarettes left piss stains on the ceiling.
But no one’s looking up.
Gaze sunk into jars upon matching
brown tables instead.

There’s talk and jive,
some angered shouts.
It’s a little more than drink talking
from the dark torus of the room.
Some with a rasping chest behind each line.
A crackle in the laugh,
that becomes a sentence.
The velvet gleam of the billiard table,
is the brightest thing
in the centre of the room,
like a slice of spring in the thorn.

Money only went down the hill
in carriage,
stretched from lamp to the sea,
and it left them up there.
In their houses no one wants,
longing for someone to start singing a familiar song
on a Saturday night.

Someone is to blame,
but the blame falls wrong
and nothing gets done.
All knowing that pride and lore
isn't enough,
not to bay the slip of hope,
to stop the brewery locking its doors.
It was a place to go,
this place where no one comes.

His book had been well received by critics and by award-winning and contemporary poets alike. Matt Duggan, winner of the erbacce-prize for poetry 2015, described Take Your Journeys Home as 'a journey through grit and darkness, revealing the beauty in all of us.'

Take Your Journeys Home, Chris Hopkins - cover
Take Your Journeys Home, Chris Hopkins - cover

The American poet, Rachael Z. Ikins, said of his work, 'Plain spoken and truly poetic in terms of commonplace wisdom and observation, he creates beauty with unusual imagery and also out of bittersweet and painful moments of the quotidian. Hopkins wields rhyme in unusual ways that surprise and delight, making the musicality of this book a read-aloud treasure. Hopkins is a poet for our times, and Take Your Journeys Home a book you must add to your collection.'


The linen was hung out grey.
Folding over itself on the wind.
Our roof sky, our land,
the colour as the rocks that made the stone
of that sharp cheerless face of the chapel.
A million years of history pushed death and time as hard
as the spike that split it from the earth.
Gods creatures, Triassic non-believers, seeded in the stone.

Standing tall in the soot green,
though it’s language was no chameleon of the town.
The windows panes, a river bed dull.
Only in prayer
did the revere of a scenes come true.
Only in the candlelight room did we see the Boy glow.
Us, cut off from the outside,
stories lit from behind by the world you couldn’t see.
Which ever side of the walls you stood,
never did the other show.
Strange how they kept their beauty for their own.

You only ever saw one side of the august preacher.
He knew the need for an outpouring of sorts.
The way he spoke made ladders into the Book.
Us all listening with acute dog ears,
and we saw the sacrifice
in every fence and telephone pole, going home.
In the drinking rooms there’s talk of dubiety
with crossed fingers stuffed into pockets,
thinking it was the Lord’s breath on the wind,
the Ghost’s breath on your neck.
Our hearts had gone to the head
and cut off the thinking.

He has had poems published in Backlash Press, Anapest Journal, Ibis Head Review, The Journal (formally the Contemporary Anglo – Scandinavian poetry), Rust & Moth, Harbinger Asylum, The Blue Nib Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, VerseWrights, Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice magazine, Poetry Superhighway, Duane's PoeTree, Outlaw Poetry and the Morning Star. His spoken word poetry has also featured in a podcast of Golden Walkmen Magazine, which is also to be included for their ‘Best of the Year’.

Take Your Journeys Home has been nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) for poetry, 2018. 

Not bad for a boy from Neath.

Take Your Journeys Home is available to buy at

Christopher can be contacted via his facebook page


cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan: Caregos Cyf., 2018


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