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POETRYETC Home

POETRYETC  2001

POETRYETC 2001

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Subject:

Re: A caution

From:

"david.bircumshaw" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 7 Feb 2001 01:53:44 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (97 lines)

[ a somewhat comical typo struck - message here corrected - I hope]

Matthew

There seems to a mild problem of perception on this list about the use of
inverted commas as a stylistic device to indicate distancing.
That was the context of my employment of 'Anglo-Welsh'.

I'm afraid that the flourishing of a moniker like 'Welsh writing in English'
rather suggests that its perpetrators do not know how to. Write in English,
that is, whether Welsh or not.

I respect the work Peter Finch has done over the years, but he is just one
guy, and at the same time he's allowed himself an all too accomodating
attitude to obvious mediocrity. I say this in sorrow, not anger, Wales needs
writers, writers to speak for it.
But they're all dead.

I really don't share your valuation of sports-mania as an indicator of
cultural well-being, while self-deprecatory humour is prevalent throughout
this here isle, it being a country for many of ritual daily denial, like a
Russian queue.

As for the accent, it used to be a language.

But, as I said before, I'd LOVE to be wrong on this, the perception gives me
no pleasure.

regards

david b


----- Original Message -----
From: Matthew Francis <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2001 11:46 PM
Subject: Re: A caution


> David writes:
> >
> >
> But I was thinking of a) the utter of unotherness of industrial South
Wales
> these days, that is it has a popular culture that is largely just as much
> sub-American as
> England's and b) literary Wales has lost its identity, there are a lot of
> 'Anglo-Welsh' poets aren't there who write flat mainstreamy kind of stuff
> (Peter Finch might not like that statement but he's just one guy) but even
> more so Welsh literary culture now may be one of the least distinct in
> Europe: the Thomases are dead, Saunders Lewis and the London-Welsh David
> Jones too. I gather there's some kind of kick still in the North, but no
> really strong voice. Wales 'reads' to me like a culture that has truly
> collapsed under a colonial weight.
> >
> >
> I'm not the best person to reply to this, being still fairly new to Wales,
> but I'd better try anyway. Industrial South Wales has of course changed a
> lot, being largely post-industrial these days. But it still has a great
deal
> of otherness as far as I'm concerned. Some of this has to do with the
> landscape, that will never be quite tamed in the way that so much of
England
> has been. Then there is the accent, the loquaciousness, the dry
> self-deprecating sense of humour, the sports mania (I have just witnessed
an
> entire nation, male and female, young and old, gripped by the collective
> hallucination that they were about to defeat England at rugby), a relaxed,
> couldn't-care-less attitude (about things other than rugby) which was not
> all what I would have predicted in from an area with a tradition of
> Nonconformism. I have been made very welcome here, but I'll always be a
> foreigner. At my badminton club I was partnered in doubles with a boy
about
> 17, on the grounds that we were both English. 'How long have you lived
> here?' I asked him. '11 years.'
>
> In some respects, the otherness has increased, since Welsh is more
prevalent
> than it has been for many years. If the spread of Welsh (encouraged by the
> media, the Welsh Assembly and legislation on bilingualism) seems
artificial,
> it's no more so than the revival of Scots which has been such a fruitful
> influence in Scottish poetry. Anglo-Welsh, by the way, is not the
preferred
> term nowadays; it's been replaced by the rather more longwinded but less
> loaded Welsh writing in English.
>
> Peter Finch may be only one guy, but he isn't the only one who would take
> issue with your comments about contemporary Welsh poetry. For a good
> cross-section, may I refer list members to the Welsh poetry edition of the
> net magazine Slope at http://slope.org/slope/this.html ?
>
> Best wishes
>
> Matthew

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