One of the great things about the Anglo-Welsh in the new millennium is that they are no longer all that Anglo although it has to be said quite a number are not that Welsh either. Emyr Humphreys, eminence grise among our English-language novelists and the man who did for the slate quarries what Jack Jones did for the industrial south, was one of the earliest to take objection to the term. He was a Welshman, he declared, not an Anglo anything. RS Thomas agreed. The fact that this fluent Welsh-speaking pair chose to write in English was a matter for them. Nothing to do with racial origin.
There, I’ve used it, that difficult word, race. Does this actually mean anything these days in
Edward Storey, poet of the Cambridge Fens, founder member of the John Clare Society, erudite flatlander, moved to
John Goodby, Dylan Thomas expert and re-treader of many things from the culture of
Nigel Humphreys, is author of The Flavour of Parallel from Arbor Vitae Press (and still they keep appearing, these new small publishers, if it wasn’t for the internet this would be a golden age). He comes from
Checking the stacks of the newly published it’s getting harder and harder to find anything that fits the old criteria. Unless, of course, we switch languages. Which takes us neatly back to Emyr and RS. So where next?
A version of this post appeared as The Insider in the Western Mail, Saturday 7th August, 2010 #159