The autumn heralded the launch of two new cultural ventures in both Aberystwyth University and Bangor University that reflect the current strength of the Welsh-language poetry scene. Cicio'r Bar, a quarterly poetry event held in Aberystwyth Arts Centre, was launched by Hywel Griffiths and I in November with two special guests, the winner of the Chair competition at the National Eisteddfod, Gruffudd Owen, and the band Blodau Gwylltion, who's lead singer Manon Steffan Ros won the Prose Medal at this year's Eisteddfod. My poem for Gruffudd can be read on this website. In Bangor in Semptember a new cultural society was set up to celebrate literature in all its variety, Cymdeithas John Gwilym Jones. The poem I was commissioned to write for the society is also available on this website.
Following the success of the Gŵyl Dewi Awards last year, a special ceremony was held at the Old College on 16 March to honour two Aberystwyth University students and two members of staff for making a great contribution to the advancement of the Welsh language. In writing my short poems to each of the winners, I realised again how important seemingly small decisions can be in the work of reminding everyone in Wales – and many beyond – that Welsh is their language.
This book marks the culmination of a partnership in poetry that spans seven years and two countries some 5000 miles apart. A journey that began in 2011 as part of a poetry translation workshop at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in north Wales has pulled into its orbit places as far removed from each other as Aberystwyth and Bombay/Mumbai, as well as Thiruvananthapuram, Porth-cawl, Cardiff, London, Kolkata, Swansea and Shantiniketan. We have both been afforded a fleeting, deeply enriching glimpse of each other's home towns, cities and nations. And in turn gained an insight into those things and places that we believed to be most familiar to us: streets, communities, homes, poems, even words themselves.
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