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Michael Arnold Williams at Mulfran Press

News: Events in 2012

On Friday 10th February, Michael launched The Acolytes in Chepstow, his current home town. The well-attended event was at The Chepstow Bookshop, a really lovely bookshop.

News: The Acolytes launched in Merthyr Tydfil and London

On 20 October 2011, The Imperial Hotel, Myrthyr, hosted the first launch of Michael's collection as part of a series of regular poetry open mic events held there and supported by MTCBC and Literature Wales. Thank you to Mike Jenkins for facilitating this event.

Then on 16 November, it was launched in London (along with Dayship by Helen Lovelock-Burke) at reading in the OXFAM Marylebone Bookshop. Richard Price came along as special guest reader. Thanks are due to Todd Swift for introducing Mulfran Press to the bookshop and helping with planning.

Praise for The Acolytes

“Michael Arnold Williams is capable of surprising, indeed astonishing, his audience. Reading these poems, sometimes I’ve been surprised, and sometimes astonished. This is a rich first collection.” Robert Minhinnick

“Michael Williams has that rare ability to dive into the depths of his past and discover more than pearls or wrecks. He raises up memories, which are often disturbing, with such tangible imagery you feel you know intimately the people and places he evokes.” Mike Jenkins

"Michael Arnold Williams, with his distinguished career in science and the musicality of his Welsh heritage, writes uncompromising honest poems bursting with the joy of language. Reading them is to encounter a richly seamed world ‘sharp as quicklime’ on the tongue." Pascale Petit

Rose Rose has reviewed The Acolytes on Amazon.

About Michael Arnold Williams and contact information

photo of MichaelMichael Arnold Williams was born at Newport, Monmouthshire in 1936 and grew up at Caerleon, where his father’s family had lived for several generations, mostly working in the tin plate industry. His father was a Baptist Deacon and a strong Socialist. His mother was district nurse and midwife to Christchurch parish, now part of Newport City.

Involved in important research on human kidney transplants, Michael was afterward at Sheffield University, latterly as Professor of Anatomy, studying form, fine structure, and tracing methods. His books on method and many scientific papers won considerable international reputation, leading to numerous teaching, speaking and advisory opportunities around the world.

Under the influence of his travels and of his wife, who had worked in philosophy at Louvain, Michael honed his long-time interest in poetry to the sharp skills required to write poems himself. Early in the 1990s his first poems were published professional periodicals for scientists. From 1996 onward he was published by magazines including Poetry Nottingham, Borderlines, Poetry Wales, Smith's Knoll, and Envoi and anthologised in Seren Selections.


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The Acolytes by Michael Arnold WilliamsAcolytes front cover

The courageous and truthful poems in Michael Arnold Williams' first collection, The Acolytes explore the overlapping experiences of family life, love life, and in particular the life and love of science and of art. Inevitably, war touches these lives at many points: a child’s experience of the Second World War in the first section; in the central section, the ambiguity and early risks of turning atomic weapons research toward the saving of lives; in the final section, with the poems capturing old men’s memories of the Great War. But most of all, there is the experience of the acolytes, following in the wake of acknowledged masters and, in the end, doing it ‘for the beauty of the thing’

The Acolytes, Michael Arnold Williams
104 pages, £9.50, ISBN 9781907327131

[also available from Blackwell Online, Amazon and bookshops]


Prayer for an Unborn Child

Great Provider of Enzyme and Hormone,
of straw-coloured Lymph, and scarlett Haem,

Almighty Lord of breath and excretion,
Master of Mytosis,

Watch over her, this incomplete child,
this fragment of animus,

this fetus sheltering, like a snail in a churchyard wall.
let the glue be strong.

tie her painter tightly, and make it a lifeline,
a love line, a halter, a beauty necklace.

Let her out; let her down. Don't let her down.
In good shape, Lord; in perfect time.

In good hands; as seen.
Say: I sent her. She is complete.