An emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of South Wales has published a collection of poems in aid of Tŷ Hafan with contributions from some of the best-known writers in the country.
Professor Tony Curtis edited the anthology, entitled Where the Birds Sing Our Names, after seeing first-hand how Tŷ Hafan offers comfort, care and support to children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families.
The book includes poems by USW Chancellor and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; comedian and entertainer Max Boyce; singer songwriter Kizzy Crawford; and USW Professor of Creative Writing, Philip Gross, to name just a few.
After attending the funeral of a friend’s granddaughter, who had been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition at birth and had been supported by Tŷ Hafan, Tony wanted to help the charity by creating a collection of poetry and donating all proceeds from the book to the Sully-based hospice.
“The staff at Tŷ Hafan – both frontline and administrative – do a marvellous job,” he said.
“The rooms for their children and families are kitted out with specialist equipment to help make the unbearable more manageable.
“Charities such as Tŷ Hafan have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, so I’m glad to be able to support them and go some way to helping raise funds.”
For each child who passes away at the hospice, a unique recorded sound imprint of the name of the child in bird song is created and played in the grounds, with a copy of the song given to the child’s family.
It was this touching tribute that gave Tony the idea for the title of the book. His introductory poem, which he also recites in this video, explains more:
Maria Timon Samra, Chief Executive of Tŷ Hafan, said: “My colleagues and I are incredibly grateful to Tony for having the vision and drive to see this project to fruition. He has collaborated with eminent poets across the UK who have generously contributed to this lovely book.“Where the Birds Sing Our Names is an anthology of beautiful poems, with all proceeds going to support our work with children with life-limiting conditions and their families in Wales.
“Every sale will make a real difference to what we are able to provide for the 270 children in Wales who we support every year, and I am sure it will make a cherished Christmas gift for lovers of poetry everywhere.”