New Call for Wales to Have Poet Laureate; LITERATURE: Poetry Day Plea

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Byline: KAREN PRICE Arts & Media Correspondent

ACADEMI is renewing its calls for a national poet for Wales.

Although there are more poets in Wales per head of population than England, the country does not have its own poet laureate.

Peter Finch, chief executive of the Welsh writers' society Academi, is taking the opportunity today - National Poetry Day - to urge the National Assembly to consider making such an appointment.

"We think a national poet for Wales would be a cultural ambassador for literature and for Wales, " he said.

"We could invent a poet laureate ourselves at Academi but it would not be good enough. We need the lead to be taken by Jenny Randerson (Culture Minister) and the Assembly needs to make the appointment."

Finch said there were many poets who could fulfil the role, including Robert Minhinnick, Menna Elfyn, Gillian Clarke and Tony Curtis.

Some of today's most popular young poets could also be considered, such as Samantha Rhydderch, Lloyd Robson and Owen Sheers.

Sheers would also like to see Wales have its own poet laureate.

"If the poet laureate for Wales could introduce writers not just to people in Wales but to the rest of Britain it would be healthy, " he said.

National Poetry Day aims to raise the profile of poetry and a number of events will take place in Wales.

Today sees the launch of this year's Rich Text Literature Festival at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. …