I want the very act of creation to haul me so far outside my comfort zone I’m left gasping at the sheer audacity of it all.
I want the writing of books & creation of performances to be alchemical, metamorphic processes wherein I could not possibly remain the same person who began such wild & reckless tasks.
I publish my work Copyleft.
What is CopyLeft?
It’s the hinterland harvest, the wild salmon navigating oceans; it’s the heart of every self-seeded plant we didn’t command into being.
Publishing Copyleft is a political act standing in solidarity with the natural world. All of nature is Copyleft, only humans claim ownership of something as fundamentally anarchic as a seed.
Am I asking too much of myself? I’m asking as much of you. Where otherwise is the art’s soul? Where else will I discover the truth if not in the stripping bare of everything I hold dear?
This is my work. My art is my life. My words are my truth.
I'm currently finishing the final book in The MthR Trilogy, Rematriation, due for publication 1st May 2023, as well as dreaming the IAMTHECODE live improvised performances that loop excerpts from the novels along with field recordings (see events page for more).
Review of The Madness of Sara Mansfield (1st in The MthR Trilogy):
McKeand offers us hope in language, poetry and the natural world that carries on despite the violence hurled at it … let its visceral lyricism carry you, because there is beauty here, in the intensely visual prose, in the epic narrative. And it’s a plea, as well, to stop, to think, to reconnect with ourselves and with the earth…
Catrin Kean, Planet Magazine
“Politics and nature, individuality and community, are all fused in McKeand’s grand and capacious vision. It is what makes this book [Rebel Sun] so charismatic and endearing.”
“… a serious, as well as a seriously playful, poet.”
New Welsh Review
Sophie McKeand joined us on stage at The Good Life Experience … where she captivated the audience with her profound, mythological, musical poems that not only crossed borders but seemed to dismantle them entirely, collapsing time and space and merging visions of the past with narratives of the personal.
Caught By The River
Sophie McKeand's Rebel Sun is no dying star, but a fiery tour de force, full of surreal and ingenious imagery. [...] a passionate and heartfelt book, a collection of modern agitprop poetry in which Marxism and landscape rub easy shoulders, and the Rebel Sun acts as an agitator, its manifesto calling for a reconnection with the natural world [...] Accomplished and vibrant, this is a collection to cherish.
Kathy Miles, Planet Magazine
Sophie writes poems in which strange, old, true things are forced into contact with the present. They twist and turn and you never get quite what you expect from them, which is what gives them their power… some of the most interesting poems I've read in a long while. Genuinely original.
An allusive, restless sensibility turned outwards to the world; her words have heft, they grasp their way out of poetry into landscape.
Rematriation, third in The MthR Trilogy, DUE 1st May 2023.
Prophets of The Red Night, second in The MthR Trilogy, 1st May 2022.
The Madness of Sara Mansfield, first novel in The MthR Trilogy, 1st May 2021.
OUTSIDER, documenting the first four years of selling 95% of my possessions and moving into a van full-time to travel Europe. 2017 - 2020.
The Slow-Time Traveller, hand-stitched poetry pamphlet, Aug 2019.
Rebel Sun, hard-back full-length poetry collection, Parthian Books, 2017.
Hanes, hand-stitched poetry pamphlet, 2016.
Coflyfr: experimentations with time, online time/poetry project, 2013.
Prophecy: conversations with my Self, hand-stitched poetry pamphlet, 2010.
Also published in Onwards / Ymlaen!: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Wales, edited by Mike Jenkins (2020). Dark Mountain anthologies (summer 2013 & spring 2017). Poetry Wales, Earthlines, Adbusters, Tears in the Fence, The Lonely Crowd, Bare Fiction, New Welsh Review, Caught by the River – An Antidote to Indifference, Planet Magazine, and more…
THE MTHR TRILOGY TOUR, see events page for details, 2023/24.
CRØWOMAN, an experiment with poetry & field recordings, 2018.
Metaforestry: storiau o’r Gogs, poetry / collaborative album / art, 2013.
DRKMTR, an experiment with spoken word, noise and art, collaborative album, 2012.
Also performed at Hay Festival, The Kolkata Literature Festival, Focus Wales, Caught by the River, Green Man, Uncivilisation, Port Eliot Festival, The Good Life, Pizza Express Jazz Cafe London, Wales Millennium Centre, and hundreds of events across Wales and Britain over a twenty-year period.
Arts Council Wales Creative Wales Award 2018.
Literature Wales Young People's Laureate Wales April 2016 - March 2018.
Literature Wales Writers Bursary Award 2017.
Winner of the OutSpoken award for Innovation in Poetry 2015.
Longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014.
Poet in Residence – Chirk Castle, January 2019.
Poet in Residence - Bute Park, Cardiff, 2017/2018.
Writer in Residence - Wales Arts Review magazine. January 2017.
Poet in Residence – cARTrefu with Age Cymru 2015 – 2017.
Associate Artist - Poet in Residence, Oriel Davies, Newtown. 1st November - 20th December 2016.
Poet in Residence - Focus Wales Festival, 12th - 14th May 2016.
Poet in Residence - Ymuno Festival, 4th - 6th July 2014.
Poet in Residence - Llangollen Pavilion, May 2010 - May 2011.
The Grange University Hospital: poem on display celebrating Aneurin Bevan’s legacy.
Woodland Trust: poem carved onto one of 10, 15ft legacy poles across the UK. Bute Park, Cardiff.
Ecorus: poem to celebrate 30 years of Erasmus+.
Wales Millennium Centre for the Aberfan Memorial Concert: Cymro - poem performed by Michael Sheen.
Dydd Llun Pawb: poem written and performed in spring ‘17 for the opening of the new Oriel Wrecsam in 2018.
Culture Action Llandudno: poem written and performed at the Tabernacle Sunday Service. Nov 2016.
BBC Radio Wales, Wynne Evans show, National Poetry Day’s Free the Word campaign. Poem ‘Cwtch’ written as the word was chosen by programme listeners as a word that best represents Wales.
The Stories They Would Tell, Charter for Trees, Woods & People, collaborative piece created with visitors to Bute Park, Cardiff (2017).
BBC Radio 4 - Power Lines
BBC Radio 3 - Late Junction (DRKMTR)
BBC Radio Wales - presenter for the documentary 'Ham and Jam: the wildly brilliant poetry of Childe Roland' (2020).
S4C - Codi Pac.
Caught by the River
If Women Rose Rooted (by Sharon Blackie)
Kolkata Literature Festival
Wales Arts Review
Institute for Welsh Affairs - Next 30, Wales’ rising stars. Introducing some of the people who will be shaping ‘the Welsh agenda’ as the future unfolds.
National Theatre Wales – TEAM Panel
National Theatre Wales – Big Democracy Project
National Theatre Wales – Summer Camp. Included creating collaborative piece with visiting Korean movement artist Unjin Choi.
Gelynion / Enemies – poetry performance collaboration with Fiona Cameron, curated by Nia Davies and Steven J Fowler (2015).
New Welsh Review, The Chaos of Departure: A Poetry Showcase.
Llangollen Fringe Festival – live on-stage interview with: Andrew Motion, Sarah Howe, Victoria Coren, Jack Monroe, Jon Ronson.
Focus Wales Festival – live on-stage interview with: Viv Albertine, John Robb
TEDx Holyhead – Saving Communities via Creative Anarchy & Self-Directed Learning
Up until 2019 I developed a number of workshops and methods for connecting community groups with their Poetic Imagination through collaborations with organisations such as:
Literature Wales – SLAM Cymru / 100 years of Roald Dahl / 100 years of Dylan Thomas / mentoring younger poets of Wales / teaching at Ty Newydd
Arts Council Wales – Lead Creative Schools
National Theatre Wales – TEAM – created the inaugural NTW TEAM event in Wrexham. Member of TEAM Panel.
Welsh Women’s Aid – developed a workshop for the final step of the 12-step freedom programme at Wrexham - began as part of the poetry residency at the Llangollen Pavilion.
Gypsy Roma Traveller community
Noson Allan / Night Out – Young Promoters Scheme
Ty Newydd Writer’s Centre – worked with international schools, young Welsh writers, as well as created a sold-out course for adults co-tutored with Lemn Sissay.
Age Cymru – 2year cARTrefu residencies in 8 different care homes.
As TheAbsurd, co-curated / hosted / compered various events across north Wales between 2008 - 2014: TheAbsurd evenings of spoken word & music ran from 2008 - 2012 in various venues including Theatr Clwyd, supported by Literature Wales. Guests included: Gillian Clarke, Fracesca Beard, Jon Ronson, Bob Holman (Nuyorican), Childe Roland, Zoe Skoulding & Alan Holmes, Anthony Joseph, Jay Griffiths, Dizraeli, Paul Kingsnorth, Patrick Jones, Gerry Potter, Sofia and more…
TheAbsurd festival, a full day of experimental poetry, music and art @ Theatr Clwyd included: Warm Data, Parking Non-Stop, Mother of Six, Gallops, Son Capson, and more… (2010)
Gŵyl Farddoniaeth Ryngwladol Gogledd Cymru/North Wales International Poetry Festival @ Theatr Clwyd curated by Zoe Skoulding. (2012)
Llangollen International Festival - TheAbsurd stage (2013)
Focus Wales stage @ Wakestock (2014)
National Theatre Wales TEAM – the inaugural NTW TEAM event in Wrexham.
Y Ffîn Festival in association with Menter Iaith Sir y Fflint.
Bailey Hill Festival in association with Cittaslow Mold.