A nation’s culture has come of age when that culture begins to talk about itself. In
There was a gap between what the examiner thought Mitchell had meant and what the poet actually had. “The syntax of the last two lines…create tension and ambiguity by allowing both narrative closure and apostrophic openness,” writes the critic James A Davies in a discussion of Dylan Thomas’s keynote poem in Deaths and Entrances. Did Dylan have this in mind as he wrote? Or was he, instead, simply caught up in the magic tumble of words flowing from his fingers.
The new critics of Welsh writing in English are emerging in force from the departments at
Their work takes the literary surface and fixes it hard into the heart of the cultural engine. The Welsh Wordscape rolls on but now we know why, to where and with whom. We know every detail of our cultural nationalism, tradition, displacement, marginal colonial discourse and the way in which we have found ourselves flooded with post-modernists at a time when elsewhere the world seems to be giving up.
Seren’s Slanderous Tongues, a volume of essays edited by Daniel Williams, covers the past thirty-five years of our literary longings. Matthew Jarvis writes on poetry after the second flowering. Jo Furber covers gender and nationhood. Daniel Williams writes on Welsh poetry in the
In the middle of all this Nerys Williams looks at how the avant-garde has been managed in
An earlier version of this posting appeared as The Insider in the Western Mail. #176