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This week sees the publication of a volume of poetry, bearing the fruit of a quarter of a century of composition, a volume that represents, according to the Chief Bard Alan Llwyd, Professor of Welsh in Swansea University's Academi Hywel Teifi, an important milestone in his career.
Originally from Dolgellau, Gwynedd, Professor Llwyd has lived in Swansea since the 1980s. A poet, literary critic, editor, TV and film scriptwriter, he is considered one of the most prolific Welsh-language poets of his generation.
Cerddi Alan Llwyd - yr Ail Gasgliad Cyflawn 1990 – 2015 (The poetry of Alan Llwyd - the Second Complete Collection 1990 - 2015) is the second collection of poetry written by the double chaired and crowned bard, that brings together poems from his four post-1990 volumes together with a collection of brand new poems. Amongst those are sensitive poems to his granddaughter, genial elegies to friends, and poignant englynion (an intrinsic strict poetic metre inherent to the Welsh poetic tradition), an example of which is one for the Syrian child whose body was recently washed ashore in Turkey.
Professor Llwyd describes his most recent compositions as “Poems that express concerns about the future and about the situation of the Welsh language, and poems that express concerns about the state of the world, but the main focus falls on the human condition, the experience of life on this earth in all its splendour and sorrow. The condition of a world-observing and life-observing poet”.
Having been appointed Professor at Academi Hywel Teifi since 2013, Professor Llwyd admits that writing poetry is now an infrequent activity amidst a myriad of other literary projects. However, the process of poetry writing now as ever, he maintains, continues to be the merging of three essential facets. These being: contemplation, inspiration and craft.
"One poem may take several months to complete", he explains. "For instance, one of the most recent poems in this volume is my cywydd which commemorates Gerallt Lloyd Owen. It took nine months to compose: six months of contemplation, without a single line written, followed by three months of composition. The intense period of contemplation is followed by the necessary inspiration required to construct the deceptively complex alliterative form of cynghanedd into what might be perceived as easy and flowing poetry.
In his introduction to the volume, Professor Tudur Hallam, Academi Hywel Teifi's Director of Research, states that it is in these most recent works that the poet displays some of his most moving poems: in the elegy to Gerallt Lloyd Owen, as indeed in the elegy to Gwilym Herber and to his son's friend James, some extremely powerful writing can be seen that bring together the expressive and personal experiences with more expansive timeless and humanistic themes. As the mortality of others press on the poet's mind, body and soul, not dissimilar to Guto'r Glyn's writing in his twilight years, we here bear witness to some of the most powerful poems ever written”.
- Wednesday 18 November 2015 13.54 GMT
- Wednesday 25 September 2019 16.15 BST
- Catrin Newman , Tel: 01792 513454