Tag: English poetry

Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

December 24, 2021 2 Comments
Melesina Bowen’s ‘Ystradffin’

In recent years many Welsh women poets of the past have been rescued from the condescension of posterity, not least in the anthology edited by Katie Gramich and Catherine Brennan.  But one of them has so far escaped much attention.  In 1839 Melesina Bowen published an unusual topographical poem in English called Ystradffin.  It deserves […]

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Moonrise

October 29, 2021 1 Comment
Moonrise

Among the eleven ‘Welsh sonnets’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins are counted some of the outstanding poems written in English in the nineteenth century.  They include ‘God’s grandeur’, ‘Pied beauty’ and ‘The windhover’. Hopkins came to live in St Beuno’s College near Tremeichion in the Vale of Clwyd in August 1874 to continue his extremely long […]

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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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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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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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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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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 […]

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Chaos describ’d

June 19, 2020 0 Comments
Chaos describ’d

These days chaos as a concept has been captured by mathematics and physics. (Sometimes it gets re-exported to the popular imagination through tropes like the butterfly effect.)  But before that it was available to anyone.  It was especially attractive to philosophers, theologians and mystics, and to creative people like writers and artists. Chaos has always […]

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After Offa: Mercian Hymns

September 20, 2019 0 Comments
After Offa: Mercian Hymns

We weren’t just following his Dyke on foot.  We were also tracking its maker, Offa, king of the Mercians. Or so it was said.  We’ve no contemporary evidence that Offa was the one responsible.  The first person to make the claim was Asser, a Welsh monk from St Davids (his original name may have been […]

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