Photograph by Keith Evans


As a poet, Gemma's work is a testament to the transformative power of language. Her poems explore the complexities of identity, memory, and belonging, while also addressing some of the most pressing social and political issues of our time.

Gemma began writing dialect poetry, the majority of which has been published with The Red Poets. She appeared on BBC Radio 4 'Tongue & Talk: The Dialect Poets' in 2021 and has several poems published in a forthcoming dialect poetry anthology with Culture Matters. 

Rock Life

Gemma June Howell's poetry collection, Rock Life, is a powerful and moving exploration of the experiences of working-class communities in Wales. Through a series of vivid and evocative dialect poems, Gemma captures the grit and resilience of a people who have faced decades of economic hardship and social marginalisation. 

Gemma June Howell's voice is a vital one in contemporary literature, and this collection is a must-read for anyone who cares about the lives and struggles of working-class communities.
In these poems, Gemma reflects on the legacy of the mining industry, the struggles of the post-industrial era, and the ongoing battles for social and economic justice in the region.

At the heart of Rock Life are the voices of the people who live and work in the Valleys. Gemma gives voice to their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, their pride and their resilience. Through her powerful use of language, she brings these communities to life, evoking the sights, sounds, and textures of a place that is both beautiful and harsh. 

The poems in Rock Life are infused with a sense of urgency and a commitment to social change. Gemma is not content to simply observe the world around her; she is driven by a fierce determination to make a difference. Rock Life is a testament to the power of poetry to inspire, to challenge, and to transform. Her poetry is a call to action, an invitation to join her in the struggle for a more just and equitable world.

“These poems are sitting down for breakfast with a reality sandwich. Documentary on the page. Sometimes like a West Indian Dub Poet, the author chooses to write English not as we are taught it in the schoolroom, but rather how we hear it in our communities. She writes it how it sounds on the street.”  
                                                                                Adam Johannes,
The Cardiff People's Assembly