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The beast, the angel and the madman

One hundred years after Dylan Thomas’s birth, Poet in the City celebrates Wales’s greatest poet. Former Welsh Poet Laureate Gwyneth Lewis, who appears at the event in February, discusses a misunderstood genius with Helen Wallace.

Download the article (pdf): Page 1, Page 2


Gwyneth Lewis painted by Ann Witheridge at Lavender Hill Studios

Poetry Portraits: Gwyneth Lewis from Poet in the City on Vimeo.


BBC Cultural Exports programme

Gwyneth chooses Larel and Hardy dance for BBC Cultural Exports programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016p5mb/profiles/gwyneth-lewis


Favourite Classical Music

Gwyneth's choice of favourite classical music for BBC Radio 3's Private Passions (02 June 13)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp.mp


Welsh-language books deserve their subsidies

Attacks on grants for Welsh writers ignore the need to preserve a unique culture with influence far beyond Wales
Gwyneth Lewis writes in the Guardian


Appearances

Thurs 6 February 2013 6.30pm
Reading and Talk
Cymru yn Lloegr/ Wales in London
Swyddfa Llywodraeth Cymru/ Welsh Government Office
25 Heol Victoria/ 25 Victoria St
Llundain/ London SW1H 0EX

Fri 15 February
Cork Spring Festival
Masterclass

Sat 16 February
Reading with Karen Solie

Sat 16 March
Flintshire Artfest
2.30pm Masterclass
8pm Reading
Clwyd Theatr Cymru

Dydd Mawrth 7 Mai 7.30pm
Darlith Lenyddol Barddas
Llyfrgell Caerffili, Ffordd Hamburg, Bargoed

Thurs 9 May
Reading with Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch
Writers' Day
Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea

17-21 June
Krakow Poetry Symposium
Details to follow

Friday 23 August 11am
Reading at St Michael's Church
Presteigne Music Festival

11-13 September
Reading and keynote lecture
Conference of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry
Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester


October 2012 - May 2013

Gwyneth will be Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Swansea University.


6 Awst/ 6 August 2012

Gwyneth Lewis yn ennill Goron Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru Bro Morgannwg 2012.

Gwyneth Lewis wins the crown at the Vale of Glamorgan National Eisteddfod 2012.


Latest news

Gwyneth Lewis yn traddodi Darlith Goffa Hedley Gibbard yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Bro Morgannwg, Dydd Iau 9 Awst, 2.30, Theatr y Maes

Darlith Goffa Hedley Gibbard
"I mewn i'r Tempest, allan o'r Storm"
Darlithydd: Gwyneth Lewis
Prynhawn dydd Iau, am 2.30,
yn Theatr y Maes

Y bardd a'r llenor Gwyneth Lewis fydd yn trafod ei phrofiadau wrth addasu 'Y Storm' i Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru yn Narlith Goffa Hedley Gibbard eleni.

Yn y Ddarlith Ddrama, bydd Gwyneth yn codi cwr y llen ar yr heriau creadigol ac ieithyddol ac ar ei hymateb i ofynion llwyfannu'r ddrama.

"Bu addasu'r ddrama yn dipyn o her, ond roedd hefyd yn un o'r pethau mwya pleserus i mi ei wneud yn llenyddol," eglurodd Gwyneth Lewis.

Bydd pedwar o'r actorion hefyd yn cymryd rhan drwy ddarllen a chanu darnau o'r ddrama.

"Rydyn ni'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr at glywed Gwyneth Lewis yn rhannu ei phrofiadau o wynebu'r her o gyfieithu drama gynnil a meistrolgar Shakespeare i'r Gymraeg ar gyfer cynhyrchiad gan Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru sy'n cynnwys tafluniadau arbennig, syrcas a cherddoriaeth fyw," meddai Berwyn Prys Jones, Cadeirydd Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru.

Mae Gwyneth Lewis yn fardd ac awdur adnabyddus. Ym mis Ebrill eleni perfformiwyd ei drama lwyfan gyntaf, 'Clytemnestra', gan Sherman Cymru. Ym mis Gorffennaf enillodd Wobr Farddoniaeth Roland Mathias am ei chasgliad 'Sparrow Tree' (Bloodaxe Books). Mae hi wedi cyhoeddi wyth cyfrol o farddoniaeth yn Gymraeg a Saesneg. Hi oedd Bardd Cenedlaethol cyntaf Cymru yn 2005-06; enillodd Wobr Llyfr y Flwyddyn yn 1999; a'i geiriau hi sydd i'w gweld ar du blaen Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru. Treuliodd gyfnod ym Mhrifysgol Rhydychen yn gwneud doethuriaeth ar waith Iolo Morgannwg.

Cynhaliwyd darlith flynyddol Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru ers 2002 i goffáu Hedley Gibbard (1936-2001) fel gwerthfawrogiad o'i gyfraniad a'i waith arloesol ym maes cyfieithu yng Nghymru.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru yw'r corff proffesiynol cenedlaethol ar gyfer cyfieithwyr Cymraeg/Saesneg, p'un a ydynt yn gyfieithwyr testun neu'n gyfieithwyr ar y pryd. Nod y Gymdeithas yw sicrhau'r safonau proffesiynol uchaf mewn cyfieithu Cymraeg/Saesneg. Noddir Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru gan Gomisiynydd y Gymraeg.


Hedley Gibbard Memorial Lecture
"Into the Tempest, out of the Storm"
Lecturer: Gwyneth Lewis
Thursday afternoon, at 2.30,
in Theatr y Maes

Poet and author Gwyneth Lewis will discuss her experiences of adapting 'The Tempest' for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru in this year's Hedley Gibbard Memorial Lecture.

In the Drama Lecture, Gwyneth will reveal the creative and linguistic challenges and how she responded to the demands of staging the play.

"Adapting the play was quite a challenge, but was also one of the most pleasurable literary tasks I have undertaken," explained Gwyneth Lewis.

Four of the actors will also take part. They will read and sing excerpts of the play.

"We look forward eagerly to hearing Gwyneth Lewis share her experiences of facing the challenge of translating Shakespeare's subtle and masterful play into Welsh for a Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production which contains special projection, circus and live music," said Berwyn Prys Jones, Chairman of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru.

Gwyneth Lewis is a well known poet and author. In April this year her first stage play, 'Clytemnestra', was performed by Sherman Cymru. In July she won the Roland Mathias Poetry Award for her collection 'Sparrow Tree' (Bloodaxe Books). She has published eight volumes of poetry in Welsh and English. In 2005-06 she was Wales' first National Poet; she won the Welsh Book of the Year in 1999; and her words are to be seen on the front of the Wales Millennium Centre. She studied at Oxford University researching a doctorate on the work of Iolo Morgannwg.

Cymdeithas cyfieithwyr Cymru's annual lecture has been held in memory of Hedley Gibbard (1936-2001) since 2002 as a mark of appreciation of his pioneering work in developing Welsh/English translation and interpretation.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru - the association of Welsh translators and interpreters - is the national professional association of English/Welsh translators and interpreters. The association aims to ensure the highest professional standards in English/Welsh translation and interpretation. The association is funded by the Welsh Language Commissioner.


Appearances

Dydd Llun Awst 6, 2012 14.30-15.10
Gwyneth yn sgwrsio gyda Catrin Beard
Y Babell LĂŞn, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Bro Morgannwg

Dydd Mawrth Awst 7, 2012 13.30
Darlith Flynyddol Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru
Pabell y Cymdeithasau

Monday 13 August 14.30
Gwyneth Lewis, Jackie Kay, Frank McGuinness, Lavinia Greenlaw and Don Paterson
Edinburgh International Festival
The Four Nations of the United Kingdom
The Hub, Castlehill

Thursday 4 October 18.30
National Poetry Day
Gwyneth Lewis and Jo Bell
Waterstone's Trafalgar Square, London


16 Gorffennaf/ 16 July

Derbyniwyd Gwyneth Lewis yn Gymrawd er Anrhydedd ym Mhrifysgol Bangor.

Gwyneth Lewis was accepted as Honorary Fellow of Bangor University.

Gwyneth Lewis

Mai/ May 19, 2012

Cadw commisions new poem and art work by Gwyneth Lewis and Rob Turner for Strata Florida abbey entrance.

Link to Rob Turner blog, see installation in progress.

Link to Cadw Strata Florida.


Strata Florida

Pan fydda i farw, taenwch fy llwch,
Os gwelwch yn dda, yn Ystrad Fflur.

Dychmygodd Taliesin ei hun
Yn gell. Rwy'n gweld y mynaich
Yn grwm wrth gopĂŻo DNA
Ein dychymyg yn Strata Florida.

Bryd hynny, bydd y ddraenen wen yn fwg
O goelcerth y perthi, byddaf falch
Fel mwyalchen. Gwisgaf y gwynt, fy nghorff
Ac, mewn munud daw awel lem
O'r mynydd gan iasu'r glaswellt yn emau byw.

Gwyneth Lewis
Comisiynwyd gan Cadw


Prose translation of Welsh-language Strata Florida

When I die, please spread my ashes in Ystrad Fflur.

Taliesin imagined himself a cell. I see the monks bent over, copying the DNA of our imagination in Strata Florida.

At that time, time the blackthorn will be like smoke from the hedges' bonfire, and I will be proud as a thrush. I'll wear my body, the wind and, in a moment, a cold wind from the mountain will thrill the grass into living gems.
(GL)


Strata Florida

Soil is the dead
Of all ages. Pass
Through this door
Into Christ, the expanding
Universe. Dimension:
Wonder. Uplands bare,
Riches below. Through
This door, be proud
As a blackbird,
Where the humble fern
Blossomed to stone,
Then back again. This
Door. Find your own elsewhere.
Now. The future. Then. Then now.

Gwyneth Lewis
Commissioned by Cadw


Roland Mathias Poetry Award 2012

Gwyneth Lewis's Sparrow Tree won the Roland Mathias Poetry Award at the Wales Book of the Year event.

See a pictue of Gwyneth presented with the trophy.


Praise for Clytemnestra

"The first play by one of Wales's most distinguished and versatile poets... Lewis's vivid poetic ability is much in evidence... The images in Lewis's poetry are often threaded upon a composed and assured conversational register, and she therefore shows herself equally convincing in the more workaday dialogue of the Chorus who provide an earthy, and occasionally darkly comic, commentary on the main events... Her first, and surely not las, venture into the world of the stage.
Poetry Review

"A story from Aeschylus's Oresteia is the inspiration for Gwyneth Lewis's first stage play, one which subverts its original source material with great assurance and fluency... In spite of its title, this feels like an ensemble production with an array of pitch perfect performances. Jaye Griffiths's Clytemnestra is stunning... Electrifying images... lend additional colour and weight to Lewis's poetic, but spare, text. In a recent interview, Lewis said she wanted to write a sequel. It's not a bad idea."
http://www.walesartsreview.org/clytemnestra.html

"A briskly told tale, richly visual, constantly engaging, and replete with rewardingly startling moments; a robustly and imaginatively physical take on text-based theatre."
British Theatre Guide

"Ambitious, visually bold production refocuses ancient Greek tragedy"
Reviewsgate

Lewis's lovely lyrical script brings this Greek tragedy back to life in an inventive way for a new generation.
Western Mail

"The acting from the entire cast and the classy staging proves this a welcome addition to the classic Greek tragedy repertoire."
David Cox


Stage Play - Clytemnestra

Gwyneth's first stage play Clytemnestra is at Sherman Cymru 18th April - 5 May.

Read More

Download the Flyer (188k)


Latest

Gwyneth is currently a Writing Fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester.


Appearances

Thursday 3 May, 2012 18:00 to 20:00
Poetry Reading
Kingston University, London
JG2008, John Galsworthy Building, Penrhyn Road Campus KT1 2EE
http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/activities/item.php?updatenum=2113

Saturday 19 May, 2012
Dedication of new poem
Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion
For details see Cadw

Monday, May 21 2012 20:00
Cardiff Literary Salon
Sherman Cymru
http://www.facebook.com/groups/199181613515199/

Dydd Llun Awst 6, 2012 14.30-15.10
Gwyneth yn sgwrsio gyda Catrin Beard
Y Babell Lên, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Bro Morgannwg

Dydd Mawrth Awst 7, 2012 13.30
Darlith Flynyddol Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru
Pabell y Cymdeithasau

Monday 13 August 14.30
Gwyneth Lewis, Jackie Kay, Frank McGuinness, Lavinia Greenlaw and Don Paterson
Edinburgh International Festival
The Four Nations of the United Kingdom
The Hub, Castlehill


Praise for Sparrow Tree

Sparrow Tree by Gwyneth Lewis shows a poet at the height of her powers. On one level this is nature poetry, particularly poetry about birds, but nothing is ever quite as it seems with this innovative, brave poet. The flights of imagination encompass a rich flock of metaphors that give these poems real power... These poems dig deep into the human psyche whilst retaining humour and warmth... The poems... are alive with precise language and emotion.
Envoi

Gwyneth Lewis' much admired, prize-winning poetry scintillates with wit... This is in line with Lewis' forte for 'serious play': 'play' because she is resourceful, inventive, teasing; 'serious' because she explores everything fearlessly, from relationships on a knife-edge to religious belief, from writing poems to resisting cancer, from fighting despair and 'self-harm' to talking a splinter in a child's heel... She also seems to be experimenting... This is exciting. Lewis has always been able to go out on a limb. Now she pushes out further.
Artemis

"With their inventive internal rhymes and sprawling register, the both lilt and syncopate. But music is clearly different from song - the one played, the other voiced - and it is this distinction from which the poems in Sparrow Tree seem to rise ... These are poems that gather darkly and peck. They feint and play hazardously with their beaks and sometimes take to wing.... These are poems more concerned with the mechanisms of song - both human and avian - than they are with the song itself, and it is this resistance that makes the poems so often mesmerizing... What Lewis pulls off... feels like an avian feat: she strikes a fine, improbable balance between gravity and levity. Even as her speaker struggles to access the language, to get the voice right, she gets us off the ground and ungiddily bids us, look."
New Welsh Review

"The subjects she treats in this affecting volume are those of pastoral elegy... Et in Arcadia ego. Yet tone is light and vital... Cryptic and quipping equivocators, the birds that call through these poems are as enigmatic as they are emblematic. You will not find them in the trees outside your window Lewis's birds explode in and out of the eye. They invade grammar and meaning with their calls."
Planet

"Since winning the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize in 1995, Gwyneth Lewis (Wales's first National Poet) has steadily gained recognition from critics as one of the most gifted writers of her generation... These poems work especially well if read aloud, when the lovely half-rhymes and alliteration are fully audible... The impression is of someone deeply involved in the process of making."
Poetry Review

"[an] impressive, restrained collection....The most lyrical writing is to be found in "Birder" (an elegy for an aunt), packed with metaphor and a rigorous, energetic music that once more addresses "the end" - "When I die / I want to hear birds ricochet/ Outside my window... I'd like/ To deserve this litany:/ Woodpecker, waxwing, chickadee."
The Guardian

"Gwyneth Lewis is my favourite modern poet... It is a privilege to have this new slim volume of poems in my hands... Sparrow Tree did not disappoint. I found the poems... colourful, poignant, funny and thought provoking... Every poem has characters who come alive with Gwyneth's gifted use of words... I recommend this book to all readers who love poetry and to those who don't - I would say, just try it - and see for yourself how beautifully written and accessible Gwyneth Lewis's poetry is."

"Gwyneth Lewis's previous collection A Hospital Odyssey was received well by critics, and this latest collection should be no different. Sparrow Tree presents poetry ostensibly about the huge variety of birds native to both the UK and America, but on delving deeper into the natural imagery the reader is presented with the wilds of the human mind as habitat for these birds, and the birds themselves as mouthpieces for human emotion... Wales's erstwhile National Poet has much to offer - as Elaine Feinstein puts it in the Guardian: "Such exuberant invention... The range of reference is so wide, we are intoxicated by it.". "
New Books


Gleision Mining disaster

Gwyneth was invited by BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend to write a poem responding to the Gleision Mining disaster. Please donate to the the Swansea Valley Miners Appeal Fund here:
http://www.minersappealfund.org/

Gleision

Tops of trees, their roots in seams
Of dark. King under mountain.

The cave's an open mouth whose words
Are men who work their mountain.

Pine, larch and oak. Don't touch the bell
That tolls from out the mountain

Or he will stir, and miners die
Like light inside a mountain.

His breath is black and marks each face
That seeks beneath the mountain.

Leaves drift down, but they won't heal
The sentence of the mountain.

It's time to lose all hope and seal
The grave. King lies in his mountain.

Gwyneth Lewis


The Stone That Moved

The Stone That Moved
Thursday, BBC Radio 3, 9.15pm
Radio Choice, Telegraph

"A lovely talk. One wet Aberystwyth holiday in the 1970s Gwyneth Lewis's mother decided they'd have an adventure, go in search of the Taliesin stone. Taliesin was a 6th-century Welsh poet, much revered. They say if you sleep with your head on his stone it will make a poet, or send you mad, or possibly both. To look at, it's just a boulder in a field and she only touched it. Guess what? She became the first National Poet of Wales."
Gillian Reynolds

Listen on the BBC iPlayer


Latest

On 12 July, 2011 Gwyneth Lewis resigned as a Vice President of the Poetry Society. She said:

"I have felt very honoured to serve as a Vice President of the Poetry Society but, because of the way in which the role of the Vice Presidents is now being perceived as identical with that of the Board of Trustees, rather than purely honorary, I feel compelled to resign with immediate effect."


Radio Documentary prize

In Search of Gododdin, written and narrated by Gwyneth Lewis, produced by Jeremy Grange, wins Radio Documentary prize in the Celtic Media Festival.


Gwyneth is currently Mary Amelia Cummins Harvey Visiting Fellow Commoner at Girton College, Cambridge.


Praise for The Meat Tree

"The bar is set high but The Meat Tree, Gwyneth Lewis's gripping and intelligent exploration of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi, Blodeuwedd's tale, does not disappoint."

"Gwyneth Lewis's astute handling to time... enables her to combine the archetypal themes of myth with concerns that preoccupy our twenty-first century consciousness. Power, morality, man and nature, gender relations, art and reality, and above all, notions of separation and exile, heritage and loss, are refracted through the prism of a spatially and temporally distant future, constantly in motion against both our own present and the mythic Blodeuwedd past. These temporal shifts are matched by Lewis's fearless mixing of the modes of poetry, prose and drama in her quest to conjure a world that will resonate long after the tale has ended, in the reader's mind."

"The successful recreation of myth requires a wiliness that exceeds that of the original mythmakers, and Lewis patiently and skillfully demonstrates that willingness in presenting to her readers 'the battle between meat and magic, between body and imagination.'"

"'What kind of being does a virtual world create?' asks Gwyneth Lewis's Campion. 'If two negatives make a positive, then can two virutals make an actual? Have we just conjured up a person who's real? Or one who is death?' Such thoughtful probing of existential and artistic issues shows a significant respect for the challenge that the Seren project presents to its writers."

Times Literary Supplement


More Praise for A Hospital Odyssey

I love the verve of this collection, its acerbic wit, its form, and its light coat of learning. A Hospital Odyssey is comic, lucid, full of lithe rhythms, a bravura switchback from the prosaic to the lyrical. It's a comtemporary classic and must-read that I could quote forever. I'll settle for this, one of my favourite lines from the Microbes ball when 'C. difficile/ strode down the catwalk in eau-de nil.'
Envoi

'This is an exciting work... written in the tradition of Dante but it is also very contemporary. Lewis makes imaginative use of research into cancer including areas such as stem cells and makes references to issues such as cleanliness in hospital and unnecessary administration... The language is both racy and poetic and every now and then the poet steps outside the story to address the reader directly. The poem is lit with humour, satire and burlesque. At the same time it is very humane. It is a brilliantly inventive piece of work."
Artemis

Selected as a 2010 Times Book of the Year
"Gwyneth Lewis's astonishing book-length poem... Lewis's unfettered imagination transforms weighty subject matter into a heady mix of dream vision, ripping yarn and love story. The hospital becomes a version of Dante's Inferno, where Maris witnesses the Microbes' Ball ('Imagine a disco painted by Bosch") and meets, among others, Helen of Troy and Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS. Along the way there are also hard-won insights: "When love's so weary it hopes for nothing/ It's at its strongest, though it feels no power."


Cholmondeley Award

Gwyneth was given a Society of Authors Cholmondeley Award recognizing a body of work and achievement of distinction

The Cholmondeley Awards for Poets were founded by the late Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1966 to recognise the achievement and distinction of individual poets.

They are honorary awards and submissions are not accepted.

The recipients are chosen by the Awards Committee for their general body of work and contribution to poetry.

The Cholmondeley Awards for Poets
http://www.societyofauthors.org/cholmondeley


Praise for The Meat Tree

"Seren's series of new stories inspired by the Mabinogion may be the greatest service to the Welsh national epic since Lady Charlotte Guest published her translation of the medieval folk tales in the mid-19th century."

"Gwyneth Lewis... provides a satisfyingly bizarre context for a narrative about an unfaithful woman made of flowers who turns into an owl, while Lewis's inspector observes events from a hilariously jobs-worth perspective: 'I'm an experienced enough traveler to know that you lose all dignity on a space trip. But that's usually to do with toilet matters, not being banished to a forest with your student, turned into an animal and forced to reproduce.'"
Alfred Hickling, Guardian


The Meat Tree

The Meat Tree

Gwyneth Lewis publishes her first Novella - The Meat Tree

"Gwyneth Lewis... provides a satisfyingly bizarre context for a narrative about an unfaithful woman made of flowers who turns into an owl, while Lewis's inspector observes events from a hilariously jobs-worth perspective: 'I'm an experienced enough traveler to know that you lose all dignity on a space trip. But that's usually to do with toilet matters, not being banished to a forest with your student, turned into an animal and forced to reproduce.'"
Alfred Hickling, Guardian



Praise for A Hospital Odyssey

"This is a performance that more than confirms Gwyneth Lewis's reputation as one of the most exhilaratingly gifted poets of her generation."

"An epic for our time... What contemporary poet would dare take on the challenge of such an august and demanding form? As Lewis makes clear, in a work that constantly reflects on its own processes and proceeding, writing a (female) epic was for her not a result of choice but of sheer necessity, its creation a matter of life and death..."

"Adventitious rhyming, such as this supple verse form allows, is the natural ally of Lewis's remarkably resourceful wit and her gift for metamorphic imagination."

"This... is virtuoso writing whose end mercifully, is not self-display but the healthful mobilization of the will."
M Wynn Thomas, The Guardian

"Lewis' epic offers up a dash of Beowulf, Dante, the Crucifixion, the bees in the Book of Judges, even 'Orfeo ed Euridice' and 'The Magic Flute'... The narrator... teases us in a literary hide-and-seek, Onegin-like, from behind the mask of her protagonist. What remains is a voice vibrant, lively and clear as a bell - not looking inward so much as in wonder at the world around her. And, pressed from her lines, a rare vintage of wisdom."
Cynthia L. Haven, San Francisco Chronicle

"This is a fascinating, beautifully written poem that describes the epic journey of the soul through the support of one's spouse through cancer treatment. It is a journey of imagination and a highly recommended read."
Professor Sir Martin Evans, Nobel Laureate 2008

"Like all the best tales, this one ends happily. With her vivid medical, mythological and painterly imagery, absorbing ruminations on language and poetry, touching evocation of the power of a marriage - and with Helen's gift of an opal and black diamond ring glinting on her finger - Gwyneth Lewis has surpassed herself."
Ruth Fainlight, Poetry Review

"As a quite extraordinary piece of machinery, which all great poems must surely be, it is more than the sum of its parts that turn and fire in an elaborate harmony; it's an engine well-adjusted to its environment and is as lean-burn as any engine can get; the torque is tightened, that is to say, to maximize performance."

"A Hospital Odyssey marks new ground. In 2010, when our corporate sensibility continues to be brutalized by the destructive reality we inhabit, collections of occasional poems that strike wearyingly conventional targets have an increasing sense of their own solipsistic irrelevance. The job of poetry, implies this book, is never to be cursory; it must travel, as this poem does, from ring to inner ring of experiential truth. Any oeuvre of value tends to lead a poet in seriousness towards epic intention. Gwyneth Lewis has arrived in that place and produced her best book to date."
Tim Liardet, New Welsh Review

"Only poetry could hope to handle fantasy of this order... What is most remarkable in a book of such exuberant invention is that the reader continues to believe in Maris's intense longing for her sick husband."
Elaine Feinstein, The Independent

"A Hospital Odyssey proves vividly original, engaging in its contemporary concerns, unpredictability and wit."
Carrie Etter, Poetry Wales

"Odyssey indeed...This funny-serious 'treatment' of illness, bolstered by a specially-garnered knowledge is one way of dealing with the possibility of a loss otherwise unspeakable."
Nigel Jarrett, Acumen

"An immensely readable modern epic, Gwyneth Lewis's poem is distinctive and compelling."
Poetry Book Society


What is Art + Invention?

SiCa Presents: Gwyneth Lewis from SiCa on Vimeo.

Gwyneth Lewis reading at SiCa Stanford University 10 November, 2009


Gwyneth is currently Joint SiCa/ Stanford Humanities Center Fellow in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University

2008 - 2009 Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in Art and the Humanities

Gwynewth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis gvies a lecture on "The Health of Poetry. A Video of lecture available to watch online.

2008 - 2009 Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in Art and the Humanities
http://www.radcliffe.edu/events/calendar_2008lewis.aspx



Gwyneth Lewis reads two poems



Gwyneth Lewis from Neil Astley on Vimeo.

Gwyneth Lewis reads two poems from Chaotic Angels: Poems in English (Bloodaxe Books, 2005), 'Welsh Espionage' [5] and 'Mother Tongue'. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).


Wales Appoints Its First National Poet

Press Release - Academi, 30 April, 2005

The United Kingdom has a Poet Laureate. Scotland has its Maker. Most states in the US have state poets. Canada has a Poet Laureate. In the USA there's a Poet Laureate Consultant. Now, after a six year campaign, Wales appoints its first National Poet.

Gwyneth Lewis, author of the world's biggest poem (the Wales Millennium Centre bi-lingual inscription), NESTA fellow (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), author of six books of poems in two languages, a Book of the Year winner, librettist, sailor, and probably Wales' best known poet since R S Thomas will be inaugurated as our first National Poet at a special 2.30 pm event at the Hay Literature Festival on May 30th this year.

The appointment of the first National Poet of Wales is made possible by direct funding from the Arts Council of Wales. The appointment is for one year with an option to renew for a second and will be administered by Academi, the Welsh National Literature Promotion Agency and Society of Writers.

Gwyneth Lewis was the unanimous choice for National Poet made by a group advising the Academi at a meeting in Cardiff recently. Members of this group include the National Eisteddfod, the National Library, the Welsh Assembly Government's Culture committee, the Arts Council of Wales, Yr Gymdeithas Gerdd Dafod, Ty Newydd, the Dylan Thomas Centre, the University of Glamorgan and the Association for the Study of Welsh Writing in English.

Wales has a long tradition of valuing highly its poets with the creation of a Bardd Plant Cymru (a Welsh Children's Poet) each year and the chairing and crowning of poets at the annual National Eisteddfod. The National Poet, however, will be the first post which will serve Wales on a national basis and do this through both languages.

The National Poet will act as a cultural ambassador for Wales - marking and celebrating our lives through verse. She will take poetry into places it may not normally go in both the public and private area. Unlike England's Poet Laureate Wales's national Poet will not be required to write verse for specific formal occasions but will, instead, follow her inspiration. Gwyneth Lewis has already written a poem on Wales' Grand Slam Victory and an elegy for Gwynfor Evans.

Gwyneth Lewis said: "It's a huge privilege to be representing poetry in Wales, where we have a poetic tradition stretching back to the sixth century and fully present in the twenty-first." Academi Chief Executive Peter Finch, who has long campaigned for the creation of a National Poet said: "I am delighted that poetry in Wales at last has a national champion. Gwyneth Lewis is the perfect choice." Gwyneth Lewis's inauguration at the Hay festival will be followed by a series of high profile appearances at public events throughout Wales.


Cymru'n Penodi ei Bardd Cenedlaethol Cyntaf

Datganiad i'r Wasg - Academi, 30ain Ebrill, 2005

Mae gan y Deyrnas Unedig ei Poet Laureate a chan yr Alban ei Makar. Mae gan y rhan fwyaf o daleithiau UDA feirdd taleithiol. Yng Nghanada mae ganddynt fardd llawryfog ac yn UDA mae Bardd Llawryfog Ymgynghorol. Ac yn awr, wedi chwe blynedd o ymgyrchu, mae Cymru'n penodi ei Bardd Cenedlaethol cyntaf.

Bydd Gwyneth Lewis, awdur cerdd fwyaf y byd (yr arysgrif ddwyieithog ar Ganolfan Mileniwm Cymru), enillydd un o gymrodoriaethau pwysig NESTA (Y Gwaddoliad Gwladol ar gyfer Gwyddoniaeth, Technoleg a'r Celfyddydau) awdur chwe llyfr o farddoniaeth mewn dwy iaith, enillydd Llyfr y Flwyddyn, libretydd, morwr, a bardd mwyaf adnabyddus Cymru mae'n debyg ers R S Thomas, yn cael ei hurddo'n fardd cenedlaethol cyntaf Cymru mewn digwyddiad arbennig yng Ngwyl y Gelli am 2.30 p.m. ar Fai 30ain eleni.

Mae penodiad Bardd Cenedlaethol cyntaf Cymru yn bosibl o ganlyniad i gyllid uniongyrchol gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Penodiad am flwyddyn ydyw ond bydd modd dewis adnewyddu am ail flwyddyn. Gweinyddir y penodiad gan yr Academi, Asiantaeth Genedlaethol er Hyrwyddo Llenyddiaeth a Chymdeithas Llenorion Cymru.

Dewiswyd Gwyneth Lewis yn unfrydol yn Fardd Cenedlaethol mewn cyfarfod yng Nghaerdydd yn ddiweddar gan grwp a oedd yn cynghori'r Academi. Mae aelodau'r grwp hwn yn cynnwys yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol, Pwyllgor Diwylliant Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, y Gymdeithas Gerdd Dafod, Ty Newydd, Canolfan Dylan Thomas, Prifysgol Morgannwg a'r Gymdeithas dros Astudio Ysgrifennu Cymreig yn Saesneg.

Mae gan Gymru draddodiad hir o werthfawrogi ei beirdd gyda chreu Bardd Plant Cymru bob blwyddyn a chadeirio a choroni beirdd yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol flynyddol. Y Bardd Cenedlaethol, serch hynny, fydd y penodiad cyntaf i wasanaethu Cymru gyfan a gwneud hynny drwy gyfrwng y ddwy iaith.

Bydd y Bardd Cenedlaethol yn gweithredu fel llysgennad diwylliannol i Gymru - gan nodi a dathlu ein bywydau trwy gyfrwng barddoniaeth. Bydd yn mynd â barddoniaeth i lefydd na fyddai fel rheol yn eu cyrraedd yn y maes cyhoeddus a phreifat. Yn wahanol i'r Poet Laureate yn Lloegr, ni fydd gofyn i Fardd cenedlaethol Cymru ysgrifennu barddoniaeth ar gyfer achlysuron ffurfiol penodol. Yn hytrach, bydd yn dilyn ei hawen ei hun. Mae Gwyneth Lewis eisoes wedi ysgrifennu cerdd am Gamp Lawn Cymru a marwnad i Gwynfor Evans.

Meddai Gwyneth Lewis: "Mae'n fraint aruthrol cael cynrychioli barddoniaeth yng Nghymru, lle mae gennym draddodiad barddol sy'n ymestyn yn ôl i'r chweched ganrif ac sy'n dal yn gwbl fyw yn yr unfed ganrif ar hugain." Meddai Prif Weithredwr yr Academi, Peter Finch, sydd wedi ymgyrchu'n hir dros greu Bardd Cenedlaethol: "Rwyf wrth fy modd bod gan farddoniaeth yng Nghymru o'r diwedd ladmerydd cenedlaethol. Gwyneth Lewis yw'r dewis perffaith." Dilynir sefydlu Gwyneth Lewis yng Ngwyl y Gelli gan gyfres o ymddangosiadau amlwg mewn digwyddiadau cyhoeddus ledled Cymru.


Wales Millennium Centre

CREU GWIR FEL GWYDR O FFWRNAIS AWEN

IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING

Wales Millennium Centre

I wrote the words to reflect the cultural ambition of the Centre. They draw both on Wales's industrial past and the institution's location in Cardiff Bay, once the greatest coal port in the world. Each letter is six-foot tall and formed of stained glass, set in glass-reinforced gypsum.

Creu Gwir fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen
(Translation: 'Creating truth like glass from inspiration's furnace'.)

I wanted the words to reflect the architecture of the building. Its copper dome reminded me of the furnaces from Wales's industrial heritage and also Ceridwen's cauldron, from which the early poet Taliesin received his inspiration ('awen'). 'Awen' suggests both poetic inspiration and the general creative vision by which people and societies form their aspirations.

The windows out of which the words are made suggest to me an ideal of poetry: that it should be clear enough to let light in and out of a building, offering enough a distinctively local view of the world; it should speak a truth which is transparent, beautifully crafted but also fragile and, therefore, doubly precious.

In these Stones Horizons Sing
It was important to me that the English words on the building should not simply be a translation of the Welsh, that they should have their own message. The strata of the slate frontage of the WMC reminded me of the horizons just beyond Penarth Head. The sea has, traditionally, been for Cardiff the means by which the Welsh export their best to the world and the route by which the world comes to Cardiff. The stones inside the theatre literally sing with opera, musicals and orchestral music, and I wanted to convey the sense of an international space created by the art of music.


Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru

CREU GWIR FEL GWYDR O FFWRNAIS AWEN

IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING

Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru

Cyfansoddais y geiriau ar flaen Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru er mwyn cyfleu uchelgais ddiwylliannol y sefydliad. Fe'm hysbrydolwyd gan orffennol diwydiannol Cymru a chan gofio mai Caerdydd, ar un adeg, oedd prif borthladd glo y byd . Mae llythrennau'r arysgrifen chwe troedfedd o uchder wedi eu creu o wydr lliw a osodwyd mewn gypsum wedi ei gryfhau gan wydr.

Creu Gwir fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen

Roeddwn i'n awyddus i weld yr arysgrifen yn adlewyrchu pensaerniaeth yr adeilad. Roedd cromen gopr y theatr yn fy atgoffa o ffwrneisi gorffennol diwydiannol Cymru, ac hefyd o Bair Ceridwen, crochan lle cafodd y bardd cynnar Taliesin ei awen. Nid yw'r gair 'awen' yn gyfyngedig i ysbrydoliaeth farddonol, ond mae'n cyfeirio hefyd at y weledigaeth greadigol sy'n creu delfrydau cymdeithasol.

Roedd cael y geiriau mewn ffenestri gwydr yn cynnig delwedd o farddoniaeth i mi: dylai fod yn ddigon clir i daflu golau y tu mewn a thu allan i adeilad, yn cynnig golwg hollol neilltuol a lleol ar y byd; dylai ddatgan gwirionedd sydd yn dryloyw, yn grefftus ond hefyd yn fregus, ac yn fwy gwerthfawr o'r herwydd.

In these Stones Horizons Sing
('Gorwelion yn canu o fewn y meini hyn')

Roedd hi'n bwysig i fi nad oedd geiriau Saesneg yr arysgrifen yn gyfieithiad o'r Gymraeg, ond eu bod yn cyfleu eu neges eu hunain. Roedd strata llechi blaen yr adeilad yn gwneud i mi feddwl am y gorwelion ychydig y tu hwnt i Benarth. Bu'r môr yn gyfrwng i Gaerdydd allforio glo i bedwar ban a mewnforio'r byd at y ddinas. Bydd meini'r theatr yn canu'n llythrennol gydag opera, sioeau cerdd a cherddorfeydd, ac roeddwn yn awyddus i gyfleu'r syniad o ystafell enfawr ryngwladol yn cael ei chreu gan gerddoriaeth.


Poet's Odyssey

Gwyneth Lewis, one of the leading British poets of her generation is about to embark on a challenging four-year voyage around the world in a two-handed yacht. During the voyage she will visit the network of ports which were associated with her native Cardiff during its heyday as the largest coal port in the world. The voyage will be the means for Lewis to explore the nature of seamanship, as well as the culture of great port cities around the world and the trade routes which built them.

Gwyneth will be leaving the UK in the summer of 2002 and heading for Spain. Bilbao was where the first iron ore exports went from Cardiff, and the Spanish community which was subsequently established in Wales sent many soldiers to the Spanish Civil War. During the winter, she will move down to Portugal and, in the Spring of 2003, on to the Azores, from where she and her husband plan to cross the Atlantic. From the Caribbean, they will then go through the Panama Canal, into the Pacific, down to Australia and then on towards the Middle East.

Brought up in Cardiff, where her father worked for the Port Health Authority, Lewis has extensive family links with the sea. Her husband was in the Merchant Navy; one cousin was a ship's Master, another is currently a NASA astronaut, having been a jet pilot in the American Navy. Lewis, therefore, developed a fascination with watching the foreign ships entering and leaving the docks in Cardiff. Going to sea has been a lifelong dream. Having bought a 35-foot yacht with her redundancy money, Lewis, who recently passed her Yachtmaster theory exam, is now in a position to realise that dream.

Lewis was recently awarded a prestigious NESTA Fellowship to help with the project. She will also be working in several media to record the journey - poetry and radio among them. She has been commissioned by Flamingo to write a factual prose book on the voyage.


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