Notes from a Eucharistic Life — Manon Ceridwen James
How do we relate the different parts of our lives and the identities that others see us by to each other? In Notes from a Eucharistic Life, Manon Ceridwen James explores the range of stories we tell about ourselves and the stories others tell about us—Mother, woman, Welsh, priest, lecturer, football fan, comedian… each call for attention, sometimes integrating, sometimes competing for space.
There is a sense of movement in the service of the Eucharist that is captured in these poems –from welcome, through confession and listening to the ‘Word’ to the final dismissal.. and these elements are not only present in a religious life. Confession in the poetry of Notes from a Eucharistic Life becomes a tool for exploring truth, with humour as well as precision; the ‘Word’ opens up questions of voice and language…
Above all, what unites the pieces in this collection is the sense that all of it can be given thanks for, all of it is sacred.
Notes from a Eucharistic Life is laced with laugh out loud humour and is gloriously feminist in its examination of what it means to be a priest and a woman. In this collection, Jesus can appear in your mother’s kitchen and St Peter can turn up at a conference. Silence transforms from a tool of oppression to a method of connecting with the self and the world, motherhood in all its duality is celebrated and the miracle of the everyday is never too far away.
Manon Ceridwen James has been published in a variety of magazines including Poetry Wales, Poetry Scotland, Envoi and Under the Radar. A former parish priest, she was one of the first women to be ordained in the Church in Wales. She is Dean (for Initial Ministerial Training) at the St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff, Canon Theologian at Newport Cathedral, and is poetry editor of Practical Theology. She gained a PhD researching Welsh women’s identity in 2015 from the University of Birmingham and published her book Women, Identity and Religion in Wales: Theology, Story, Poetry with the University of Wales Press in 2018. She teaches Theology and Popular Culture for the St Padarn’s Institute, is an amateur stand-up comedian and a proud member of the Red Wall, the Wales / Cymru’s football team’s fans. Her daughters, Miriam and Catrin, have now left home and she lives in Abergele with her husband, Dylan.