literature

John Clare and the snipe

October 15, 2021 0 Comments
John Clare and the snipe

Slow radio at its best achieves what no amount of ‘fast radio’, with its assumption of the attention span of a hoverfly, can achieve: thought connections that stay in the mind long after the programme has ended.  Paul Farley’s recent day (half an hour on the radio: The Poet and the Snipe) looking, in vain, […]

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Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

August 20, 2021 2 Comments
Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

Yn ôl Marian Löffler, hwn yw’r cartŵn cyntaf i ymddangos mewn print yn yr iaith Gymraeg.  Mae’n wynebddalen mewn llyfryn gan Thomas Roberts a gyhoeddwyd yn Llundain yn 1798, Cwyn yn erbyn gorthrymder. Brodor o Llwyn’rhudol Uchaf ger Pwllheli oedd Thomas Roberts.  Cyfreithiwr oedd ei dad, William.   Ganwyd e yn 1765 neu 1766, a symudodd […]

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Walters: gwallter’s top 10

May 14, 2021 3 Comments
Walters: gwallter’s top 10

Walter was already an old-fashioned forename in 1952, when my parents donated it to me.  To be fair, they were anxious about the commonness of my surname, and eager to load me with as many other names as they could, to avoid misidentification (later, my brother suffered the same fate).  By the time they reached […]

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Edward Thomas in Gower

April 23, 2021 2 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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

March 20, 2021 1 Comment
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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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