literature

Edward Thomas in Gower

April 23, 2021 0 Comments
Edward Thomas in Gower

At last some warmth returned with the sun, and I took the rough path along the top of the cliff between Rotherslade and Limeslade.  The sea was calm, empty and quiet, except for one thing: the bell of a floating buoy, its clear sound carried over the water by a light onshore breeze.  I’ve been […]

Continue Reading »

Billie Holiday’s last day

April 9, 2021 2 Comments
Billie Holiday’s last day

Billie Holiday died aged 44 in a New York hospital at 3:10am on Friday 17 July 1959.  Some failed to notice. The New York Times published a short obit, but only on page 15.  But for those who cared about her and her music, the news was a bitter shock.  One of them was Frank […]

Continue Reading »

Closely observed hot chocolate

April 2, 2021 0 Comments
Closely observed hot chocolate

From my early childhood, an evening mug of hot chocolate has been a small but constant source of comfort.  I suspect it’s a common addiction.  Chocolate drinking is not a failing that many grown-up people own up to, and certainly not one that many would think of writing about.  A notable exception is the poet […]

Continue Reading »

Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

March 20, 2021 0 Comments
Sir Humphrey Mackworth, ‘a genius richer than thy mines below’

The earth, thy great exchequer, ready lies is the title of a superb new collection of stories by the Welsh writer Jo Lloyd, who won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019.  The nine pieces are very different one from another, in subject, setting and register.  But they all share at least two things. […]

Continue Reading »

Murdering trees

March 12, 2021 2 Comments
Murdering trees

A powerful symbol of the continuing human assault on the natural world is the wanton destruction of trees.  The outstanding example must be the wholesale clearing of Amazonian rainforests by the Brazilian government (over 11,000 square kilometres were destroyed in the year to July 2020).  Britain carries its own arboricidal guilt: the uprooting of whole […]

Continue Reading »

Y Cynllun Darllen, 1891-94

March 5, 2021 0 Comments
Y Cynllun Darllen, 1891-94

Heddiw mae clybiau darllen yn boblogaidd iawn fel ffordd i ddarganfod a rhannu llyfrau mewn cylch cymdeithasol, anffurfiol.  Yn rhannol oherwydd esiampl ‘Oprah’ yn yr Unol Daleithiau a ‘Richard and Judy’ ym Mhrydain, sefydlwyd cannoedd o gylchoedd lleol (a rhithiol, yn yr oes Cofid).  Erbyn hyn mae digon o enghreifftiau o glybiau sy’n trafod llyfrau […]

Continue Reading »

Tennyson in Llanberis

January 23, 2021 0 Comments
Tennyson in Llanberis

Alfred Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire, and lived there throughout the first part of his life.  The portrait of him that always comes to mind is the photo Julia Margaret Cameron took of him in 1865, which shows him as prematurely aged, with thinning, straggly hair, untidy beard and lined face (Tennyson said it made […]

Continue Reading »

The Last Bard: loops of an invented tradition

December 26, 2020 2 Comments
The Last Bard: loops of an invented tradition

By now the ‘invented tradition’ is itself a tradition.  Since Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger published their edited collection The invention of tradition in 1983, we’ve become familiar with the idea that rituals, histories and beliefs that seem age-old were actually recent fictions devised with specific purposes in mind. One of the chapters in The […]

Continue Reading »

Thomas Traherne goes walking

November 7, 2020 0 Comments
Thomas Traherne goes walking

Today Thomas Traherne is counted alongside George Herbert and Henry Vaughan as one of the great ‘metaphysical’ poets of the seventeenth century.  All three, interestingly, were men of Welsh and Welsh Borders origin.  Herbert was born in Montgomery, Vaughan came from Llansantffraed near Talybont-on-Usk and returned there to live, and Traherne was probably born in […]

Continue Reading »

‘Ymharadwys’: Pentre Eirianell

October 16, 2020 0 Comments
‘Ymharadwys’: Pentre Eirianell

Yn ddiweddar digwyddodd imi fod mewn sgwrs ebost â thenant presennol Pentre Eirianell.  Hwn yw’r hen dŷ fferm ar ymyl Bae Dulas ar Ynys Môn lle magwyd ‘Morysiaid Môn’ – Lewis, Richard, William, Elin a Siôn (neu John) Morris – yn gynnar yn y ddeunawfed ganrif. Gwelais i’r tŷ am y tro cyntaf ym Medi […]

Continue Reading »