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Distributed for University of Wales Press

The History of Wales in Twelve Poems

A short collection of poems that provides a window into the Welsh poetic tradition from ancient times to today.

Throughout the centuries, poets have provided Wales with a window into its own distinctive world. This book aims to give general readers a sense of the view to be seen through that special window. Poetry played a crucial part in sustaining a sense of Welsh identity from the seventh century until today. This study views the history of Wales through the lens of twelve poems that span almost fifteen hundred years. The featured poems bring different periods and aspects of the Welsh past into focus while providing some flavor of a poetic tradition, both ancient and modern, that is internationally renowned for its distinction.
 

96 pages | 12 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4

Poetry


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Reviews

"I can think of no more deft and authoritative introduction to the literatures of Wales than this gem of a book … tracing a path through the riches of the tradition with flair, clarity, and wit. This is a must-have guide for the curious and those new to the poetic panorama of Wales through the centuries."

 

Gwyneth Lewis, National Poet of Wales 2005–6

"With style, energy, and sureness of touch . . . we are guided through the complex story of Welsh identity from Maelgwn Gwynedd to Mark Drakeford, weaving political and cultural themes together in a vivid tapestry. There are very few pages that do not offer fresh insights, even for those who know their Welsh history well. The poems chosen are an excellent mix of the expected and the unexpected."
 

Rowan Williams, Former Master, Magdalene College, Cambridge

"Attempting to chart a history of Wales through the prism of just twelve poems is both a risky and novel, if not unique, enterprise. It succeeds because the chosen poems are used as pegs for a concise and illuminating commentary not just on the poems themselves but on the period in which they were written … We are presented with a history viewed for the most part through the eyes of the vanquished, the disadvantaged, and the underprivileged … words that could also be used to describe the history of the nation itself."

Barry Morgan, Former Archbishop of Wales

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
Aneirin, ‘Y Gododdin,’
Anon, ‘Pais Dinogad,’
Anon, ‘Stafell Gynddylan,’
Gruffudd ab Yr Ynad Coch, ‘Marwnad Llywelyn ap Gruffudd,’
Dafydd ap Gwilym, ‘Trafferth mewn tafarn,’
Henry Vaughan, ‘The World,’
Anon, ‘Hen Benillion,’
Ann Griffiths (Dolwar Fach), ‘Wele’n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd,‘
Gwenallt, ‘Y Meirwon,’
Dylan Thomas, ‘Fern Hill,’
Gillian Clarke, ‘Blodeuwedd,’
Menna Elfyn, ‘Siapau o Gymru,’

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