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Devolutionary Readings

English-Language Poetry and Contemporary Wales


Matthew Jarvis

The September 1997 vote approving devolution, albeit by a tiny margin, was a watershed moment in recent Welsh history. This volume of essays considers the English-language poetic life of Wales since that point. Addressing a range of poets who are associated with Wales by either birth or residence and have been significantly active in the post-1997 period, it seeks to understand the various ways in which Wales’s Anglophone poetic life has been intertwined both with devolutionary matters specifically and the life of contemporary Wales more generally, as well as providing detailed scrutiny of work by key figures. The purpose of the book is thus to offer insights into how English-language poetry and contemporary Wales intersect, exploring the contours of a diverse and vibrant poetic life that is being produced at a time of important cultural and political developments within Wales as a whole.

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3. For Welsh Read British? (Kathryn Gray)


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3   For Welsh Read British?

ABSTRACT Drawing on the video interviews compiled during the life of the ‘Devolved Voices’ research project, this chapter seeks to examine (a) the extent to which Wales’s post-1997 English-language poets – both those who are native Welsh and those who have spent their upbringing in Wales – consider themselves to be, explicitly, Welsh poets and (b) the complexity of these writers’ poetic identities. The chapter also considers the desire on the part of such Welsh and Wales-associated poets to be part of a British poetry scene – emphasizing the impact of both review coverage and notice in prize culture, as well as presenting statistical analysis of the actual impact of our ‘Devolved Voices’ cohort of poets within this economy. In the process, this chapter also illuminates a dramatic gender shift in Welsh poetry in English during the post-1997 era, with women now at the forefront of poetic practice in terms of creative output and notice.


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