When we think of Welsh poetry, one thing that distinguishes it, is that it is written in two different languages, English and Welsh.
Welsh writer and TV presenter Ifor ap Glyn is the new national poet of Wales. The poet who had this role previously, Gillian Clarke, said of him
"Ifor's an excellent choice. He's fluent in both languages - he's a real Welshman but also an internationalist. I think he'll be able to express Wales to the world."
Welsh poetry is an expression of a distinctly Welsh cultural identity and has it's own strong identity. Despite it's size .indeed Smaller than Ireland and Scotland, many people see Wales as a just another part of England, and not as a distinctive separate country. This a country with a magical landscape, the country where Merlin was allegedly born. The landscape has had it's influence R. S. Thomas reveals the Welsh people as a distinct ethnic identity connected in essence to the wild and twisting land they came from.
When thinking of welsh literature, people are instantly drawn to to the work of Dylan Thomas many regard him as the writer of the single best poem of the 20th Century, ‘Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night', a poem dedicated to his father, who lay on his deathbed.
”Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
His writing was strongly influenced by his homeland. He was a super star writer, He worked for BBC and also as a film scriptwriter during World War II. Born in Swansea, who died at a relatively young age of 39. He was ranked 10 in a survey done in 2009 for U.K’S favorite poet. Thomas' works were used by many authors, musicians and television writers.
His thoughts and quotes are still relevant and motivational in the modern day. You cant help but like a quote like ”Somebody’s boring me. I think it’s me.”
Other quotes include
“An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.”
On the subject of poetry he said
.”Poetry is not the most important thing in life… I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets.”
Together Behind Four Walls is luck to have some poets from Wales including Peter Finch and Rhian Edwards. Rhian Edwards comes with high acclaim. She made a name by taking a clean sweep at the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2013 for her collection Clueless Dogs (Seren), winning the poetry prize, the main book award and the people’s choice award. Rhian Edwards is considered a wonderfully exciting voice in Welsh poetry, and and has a reputation for her most dynamic and enjoyable performances in front of audiences.
You can read a full interview with Rhian Edwards
Peter Finch is a poet, author and critic who lives in Cardiff. He is author of the hugely popular Real Cardiff books, published by Seren and series editor for the 'Real' series. The latest in the series, Real Cardiff; The Flourishing City, was published in May 2018. Finch’s numerous poetry titles include Zen Cymru, Useful, Poems for Ghosts, Food and Selected Later Poems from Seren, Antibodies from Stride, and Vizet, a selected poems in Hungarian from Kronkét Könyvek. Peter is also the author of The Roots of Rock, from Cardiff to Mississippi and Back, which charts the evolution of rock and popular music from 1950s Cardiff Suburbia to modern day America and beyond. His latest book Walking Cardiff (Seren, 2019) is a collection of twenty walks around the Welsh capital, written in conjunction with photographer John Briggs. His first collection of poetry in a decade The Machineries of Joy is available now.
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