Wales and the Cultural
Politics of Identity:
and Jeremy Hooker
A discussion of English-language Welsh poetry must obviously focus upon poetry written by people from Wales (a geographical entity) on subjects relevant to Welsh history and culture.But poetry from Wales includes the work of writers from outside of the country who, having decided to live there, write on subjects relevant to contemporary Wales and rely on Welsh‐ based journals and publishers for the dissemination of their work.
In the light of the extraordinary diversity and richness of Welsh writing in English, this essay concentrates upon two writers, Gillian Clarke and Robert Minhinnick, who are of Welsh origins but of different generations, and a third, Jeremy Hooker, who is of English origins.Although Hooker is currently living once again in England, much of his best work to date, the work with which this essay is concerned, was written during the eighteen years in which he lived in Wales.He is now also recognized as one of the leading critics writing on English-language Welsh literature.
Much English-language Welsh poetry, at least prior to 1970, as Oliver Reynolds, a native of Cardiff, implied in "Daearyddiaeth" ("Geography"), is essentially rural, due to a considerable extent to the influence of R. S. Thomas. 1 On one level, Gillian Clarke, although also born in Cardiff, belongs