'The Hollow' by Rhiannon is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week

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The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘The Hollow’ by Rhiannon. In her Q&A interview she says that she grew up in a family where writing poetry was considered "something of a tradition", won a poetry competition at the age of nine, and has a soft spot for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. She has recently returned to writing poetry after a break of over 10 years, after starting a literature degree.  


What got you into writing poetry?

I started writing poetry at a very young age, as my family are from north Wales and it's considered something of a tradition! It was always something I enjoyed, playing with words, finding different ways to express my observations about people and my surroundings.


How long have you been writing?

I won a poetry competition when I was nine and started writing poetry regularly from that point, up until adulthood when I took a break for over a decade. I then decided to start a literature degree as a mature student at the age of 30 and felt inspired to start writing again.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

I never have, though I might consider it if the wine was flowing.


What’s your favourite poet/poem?

'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?

Would food and drink be considered a luxury? If not, a notepad and a pencil. The poet in me would find being a castaway quite inspiring, but perhaps I've watched too much Lost and not read enough Lord of the Flies.




by Rhiannon


I built you a chamber
in the landscape
of my mind


And there I kept
your name,
your sound


The air inside
bounced all around


It sucked itself
a yawning hollow
in the earth

Then carried
on the wind,


The echo aches,
broken ice
across the face


Silver streams
pass slowly
through the space


When I look over
at the hollow
that I made,
I am afraid


I fear the hollow
and its monstrous gaze.


◄ Poets from 'city of sanctuary' launch timely anthology

'Only she can see where she goes and track where she's been' ►


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Sun 12th Feb 2017 06:04

Really beautiful to read ethereal & just floats my boat......Jeff....

<Deleted User> (13762)

Tue 7th Feb 2017 17:18

Points taken and accepted Steven - perhaps not fully regards the second half of your reply - but as Graham says, this is not really the place for such discussion. Another day perhaps. Cheers, Colin.

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Steven Waling

Tue 7th Feb 2017 16:52

Just to say Colin that I wasn't saying that a poet shouldn't explain themselves in a forum/workshop situation. It was a comment about poers overexplaining in their poems and thus taking the strangeness of poetry away.

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suki spangles

Tue 7th Feb 2017 12:49


First of all, congrats on winning POTW. Funnily enough I read your poem in a more magical realist/romantic way than perhaps the way you meant it, but that's me! This is a fine poem.

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 7th Feb 2017 09:58


Before you two get into a deep discussion on this, may I suggest that one of you (possibly Steven) launches this question on the discussion section?

I'm sure there'd be plenty of comment!

<Deleted User> (13762)

Tue 7th Feb 2017 07:35

Really Stephen? Not sure I agree with Bunting's wisdom especially on a forum such as this where explanation and understanding are pathways to learning and improvement.

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Steven Waling

Tue 7th Feb 2017 03:33

Rhiannon - a bit of wisdom from Basil Bunting: "Don't explain - your reader knows as much as you do."😀

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Mon 6th Feb 2017 21:51

Thank you all for the comments, some very generous! and I welcome feedback. Steven Waling - funnily enough I added "of my mind" in order to make it more accessible! I often worry my poetry is too cryptic, it's difficult to know (when you are the person who has written it) how somebody else is going to receive it and understand it.

The last six lines were inspired by Nietzche: "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." But the hollow isn't an abyss of evil. It is monstrous, but only because it is empty. Without giving too much away, the hollow in a way represents an empty part of ourselves that we don't like to see, in acknowledging it, it causes us to become empty.

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Steven Waling

Mon 6th Feb 2017 11:54

I like everything about this (the short lines, the imagistic way with language) except the line 'in my mind' - which I think 'gives the game away' too much. Reading it without that line makes the poem stranger, less obviously about what's going on in your head.

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 6th Feb 2017 11:41

I really like work that takes a bit of getting used to. There are so many great but intriguing lines in this piece. The last six lines particularly are engrossing.

A well deserved poem for POTW. One that could easily have slipped through the net..

well done


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Paul Waring

Mon 6th Feb 2017 08:51

Congratulations Rhiannon, your intriguing poem is a worthy winner of POTW. I hope you enjoy basking in the limelight of this accolade this week and that it inspires you further in your writing! I certainly felt a warm glow all through the past week (possibly of embarrassment!).

Looking forward to reading more of your poems,


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Kimberly Ray

Sun 5th Feb 2017 23:02

Very nice poem. Congratulations on being selected Poem of the Week.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Sun 5th Feb 2017 09:35

Congratulations Rhiannon. Good poetry often inspires debate and Randall and I offered slightly differing views to which you replied with grace and consideration, finding valid points in both our comments. It is how feedback and critique is meant, with good intentions and in the best spirit of learning.

Your response to the last question made me smile. There is something inherently inticing about being a castaway, but not with the likes of the characters in Lost or LOTF. I think the peace and solitude would be my preference.

I shall hand the conch shell to someone else 😎

All the best, Colin.

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