Art On the Hill AOTH for short is an arts festival that takes the City of Newport, Gwent by storm the last weekend of November and celebrates the best of Newport. Poet Alison Bieslki is one of this city’s best-kept secrets and Alix Edwards with Cardiff Writer’s Circle will be introducing you to her poetry and inviting you to write your own! (Saturday 27th November 10.30am-12.30pm on zoom).
Alison Joy Bielksi was born November 1925 in Newport. She attended Newport High School and left aged 16 to become a secretary and worked as Press Officer of Bristol Aircraft. But behind her efficient and modern exterior was a very different person: someone who valued and brought to life the traditions and folklore of Wales, a keen observer of landscapes, architecture and love and a literary rebel when it came to the use of capital letters and how her poetry appeared on the page!
Her work is richly descriptive and opulent but mirrors the artistic minimalism of her visual contemporaries. New lines in her poetry begin in lower case. Lines and words are spaced and her words are clear and incisive “The shape on the page… …allows breathing space for chosen words”, “I only use punctuation for special effect…”,…”I remove all clutter.” (Bielksi, 1996)
Alison Bielski celebrates Welsh language, tradition and local history. Her 2010 collection, one of our skylarks, takes the reader on journey from South to North Wales starting ‘limbo’ of the river Severn, travelling up through Caerleon, Newport, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Barry and the Gower then heading up to Merthyr and ending up on the ‘stone thrown’ beaches of Angelsea with its ‘sunken paths smothered by/weeds and clustering shells.’
Alison weaves local tragedies, such as the woman and baby who drown in the ‘dangerous’ river Usk, landmarks: Pontypridd and Newport Bridge, the quarry-scarred and natural landscapes into a rich Welsh tapestry that breathes history, tradition, the power of nature to destroy and heal and it’s timelessness in comparison to man’s desire to explain the past by clattering ‘across fields with armies of enthusiasts bearing tools’.
Her poetry is timeless. It bridges the gap between past and present and questioning the role of history and historians, focusing instead on myth, folklore and stories,
‘living on a threshold
between two worlds where
rules are meaningless.’ (from the poem beachfind)
To attend the workshop ‘Alison Bielksi: Newport’s ‘rebel’ poet’, hosted by artist Alix Edwards book your place on Eventbrite
and check out the fab programme for AOTH 2021 (25-28 Nov 2021 ) here: https://celfarybrynnp20.home.blog/
To be invited to other events and workshops by Company of Words please like and follow page @CompanyOfWords For updates on Alix’s art @alixedwardsartography Instagram artography_alixedwards or visit Alix’ artist profile https://www.curatorspace.com/artists/AlixEdwards
 Bielski, A., 1996, that crimson flame, University of Salzburg, Salzburg
 Bielski, A., 2010, one of our skylarks, Cinnamon Press, Tanygrisiau