The Secret Life of a Postman

I remember reading , and thoroughly enjoying, Lloyd Jones novel, ‘Mr Vogel’ and making the mental note that ‘I must read more of this man’s work’..but then, somehow, the opportunity has not arisen (or I have not made it happen).

Just lately I was gifted a copy of Mr Jones’ new collection of poetry – ‘The Secret Life of a Postman’, and what a fine present this has turned out to be.

I have been working my way gradually through this impressive selection of poems – it is a big volume and there is a deal of complexity in the words and rhythms of the poet : not a book to be absorbed at one reading, but a delightful, literary chocolate box to dip into and relish (and we are talking high end confectionary here!)

The range and dimensions of these poems is, simply, quite staggering ; poems of love such as ‘A brief history of love’ paint a vivid picture in relatively few words, whilst the title poem is both lyrical and enigmatic. Some are curiosity writ large , ‘Guidance notes for people wishing to design a golf course water feature’ being but one prime example. There are poems that reflect upon Wales and Welshness – for me, ‘Sacrament’ being a beautifully written and constructed poem that captures so much of that very special essence. ‘Poet in the kitchen’ gives a tantalising glimpse of the writer at work, and a good number of the poems here are intensely, yet not intrusively, personal in their tone. The writing is both of and in the moment – as well as some of the lines and subjects being steeped in history and classical reference.

It is very difficult to pull out favourites from this collection but, as the time of writing, I particularly want to commend ‘Aleppo’ and ‘The service’ ; I guess because, as is the case with poetry, music, novels and art the world over, something particular, specific and uniquely subjective makes me (you) reach out and embrace a verse, an image…tugs at your heartstrings and stays in your mind.

I am convinced that there will be poems for all herein that will leave an indelible mark and bring you back to this excellent, enjoyable and, on occasion, testing anthology. A great achievement and a writer who deserves to be celebrated well beyond the magical borders of Wales.


Marc Mordey                                                           To buy this book : go to

15 10 2014secretLifeCvrSM

Book review – The Road Between Us

As a result of a Tweet (of quite some time ago) I was lucky enough to be selected to review some historical fiction – to all Twitter friends, keep your eye out for similar opportunities from – and the last one, which I have recently finished, is entitled The Road Between Us and is by Nigel Farndale.

The story fluctuates between 1939 (and the ensuing days, months and years of the Second World War) and 2012 and encapsulates the story of the love between Charles and Anselm, the former who, is court martialled for ‘conduct unbecoming’ and goes on to become a war artist whilst the latter is sentenced to hard labour for ‘re-education’. From this initial scenario we are catapulted into the London (and Foreign Office ) of 2012 and the story of the kidnap, long term imprisonment and ultimate release of Edward, a diplomat captured and kept in a cave in Afghanistan for 11 years.

The plotline is captivating, the complexities of emotion displayed by all the characters is believable and well portrayed, and the way the storylines are ultimately drawn together, eminently satisfying. This is a novel that asks for involvement and attention from the reader – not a ‘light’ read but a rewarding and absorbing one and recommended by this reviewer!


The Road Between Us