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Shards of Light

Shards of Light is a collection of poetic meditations written by the prize-winning Welsh novelist Emyr Humphreys, who is now in his hundredth year. A compilation of reflections and philosophical contemplations, this work was hidden among the detritus gathered during the creative process. Not originally intended for publication, these were private thoughts distilled into shard-like fragments. Read together, they express the depth and variety of his thinking, with a cutting insight into the nature of being and its universal significance, insignificance, or relevance.

208 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2019


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“This book reveals a precious time where ‘ultimate discoveries’ are possible. . . . These poems are a conurbation of words; precious fragments drawn from the site of life.”

New Welsh Review

“The publication of Shards of Light is a major event in Welsh letters. We are fortunate to be able to share in the fruit of a lifetime's engagement with language and form. Not only is Emyr Humphreys a bilingual polymath, he's a poet of European stature.”


Gwyneth Lewis, poet and writer

“In Shards of Light, Emyr Humphreys shows that the bracing interrogations of old age can be both philosophical and impassioned. These are delicate, tenacious poems, a privilege to read.”


Angharad Price, Bangor University

“Humphreys’s poems are startling in their clarity, whether his long view on the precariousness of a Wales ‘for sale,’ his now-rare wartime testimony, or reflections on the ineffable—death, enchantment, eternity, evil.  A masterful poet, all the more so for understanding that life burns brighter than words.”


Emily Trahair, editor of Planet magazine

“The light is clear, intellectual, pitiless, but also meditative and redeeming. The shards are the detritus of the long twentieth century of dictators and refugees, slogans and videotape, here forensically dissected in a language which resonates with the poet's Welsh and European heritage. These fragments he has shored against his ruins. . . .”


Ned Thomas, writer and critic

“Humphreys gifts us in his hundredth year with an evocative collection which is testimony to the fact that old age, like every other stage of life, has its poetry too. ‘A Day in Hand’ reads ‘Awake! There are so few. / This bright coinage is / Going out of circulation’. . . . but Humphreys’s own hand is still spilling out gems.”


Jane Aaron, University of South Wales

“A writer of genius in a class of his own, Humphreys has created works of profound humanity, seriousness, and vision across multiple literary generations. His great triumph is to have been on fire throughout his literary life, and this late collection, in his hundredth year, burns white-hot.”


Candida Clark, author

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