Books: Modern Welsh Poetry; A New Book of 20th Century Poetry, Translated from Welsh to English Could Open Up Welsh Writing to a Worldwide Audience. Penny Thomas Spoke to Woman Behind the Book, Welsh Poet Menna Elfyn

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), July 26, 2003 | Go to article overview

Books: Modern Welsh Poetry; A New Book of 20th Century Poetry, Translated from Welsh to English Could Open Up Welsh Writing to a Worldwide Audience. Penny Thomas Spoke to Woman Behind the Book, Welsh Poet Menna Elfyn


Byline: Penny Thomas

Why bring out this book? ``It is a major publication. It is meant for a world readership. I have travelled a lot as a poet and when I go to places like The States or Portugal or Spain I want to tell people about the wonderful poets we have in Wales. Now this book will be my bible so that I can show people what we have.''

The blurb on the book says it is not all about Celtic mists and so on. What is it about?

``It's a very international book. There are poems from South America, poems about Iraq. It shows Welsh poets are not hiding away, but are writing about what is happening in the world.''

Was it hard to decide who to leave out? ``It took me and my co-editor John Rowlands three to four years to produce the book.

There were 26 translators and 98 poets. At the end we had to cut 50 pages so yes, it was difficult. We have tried to concentrate more on the end of the century, where there are many young poets whose work may not have been translated before.''

Isn't translating poetry a tricky business? ``Tell me about it. It's a process, we had poets translating and then we would go back to the original poet to make sure they were happy. In the past Welsh language poets have resisted being translated into English. Now I think they accept it is important to be heard, read and understood in other parts of the world.''

Why does that matter? …

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Books: Modern Welsh Poetry; A New Book of 20th Century Poetry, Translated from Welsh to English Could Open Up Welsh Writing to a Worldwide Audience. Penny Thomas Spoke to Woman Behind the Book, Welsh Poet Menna Elfyn
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