Friday, 18 January 2013

Tony Conran (1931 - 2013)

Tony Conran was different.  He was singular. He was special. And long before the end, his lifetime’s work seemed to me, in the uncompromising monumentality of its inner consistency and completeness, like some kind of towering ancient dolmen on our level post-modern landscape. 

His career spanned more than half a century, during which he was a major contributor to the transformation of the cultural life of anglophone Wales. Translator, cultural interpreter, dramatist, but, supremely, poet, he was blessed with originality in all he did. Underpinning his work was his strong vision of the distinctive social character of Welsh culture, traditionally embodied in the very form of classic Welsh-language poetry. This same distinctiveness was, for him, differently exemplified in what he regarded as the best English-language poetry of modern Wales, of which he was himself one of the most distinguished advocates and practitioners.  

Devoted to his radical cultural vision, he was never clubbable, but was s a cherished collaborator with other poets, musicians and artists, and adored mentor of many young creative and critical talents. 

He was prevented by cerebral palsy from communicating easily with others in talk, and so he invested the written word with a unique intensity. And just as his demanding, densely layered poems mesmerised many readers, his lengthy, fiercely intellectual, letters became legendary to his many correspondents. 

His was a lasting, heroic achievement. 
Requiescat in pace. 

M. Wynn Thomas

First appeared on Literature Wales website:

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