Monday, 6 December 2010

Robeson Seminar

The first of this year's Paul Robeosn Seminars in African American Studies takes place this Wednesday.

David Anderson, Swansea University

Unwrapping Nostalgia: Remembering the Plantation Christmas in Post-Civil War Plantation Reminiscences

Wednesday, December 4 pm
Fulton House, Lecture Room 2

Croeso i Bawb / All Welcome

For information on the Paul Robeson Seminar Series see:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Ned Thomas Seminar

Canolfan Richard Burton Centre
Cyfres Seminarau 2010 – 2011 Seminar Series


Arts and Humanities Conference Room
Ystafell Gynadledda Adeilad James Callaghan

All sessions begin at 4 pm
Pob sessiwn i gychwyn am 4

Semester 1
Monday 11 October / Dydd Llun 11 Hydref
Nigel Jenkins, (English, Swansea University / Saesneg, Prifysgol Abertawe)
Gwalia in Khasia: Welsh Nonconformist Missionaries in North East India

Monday 25 October / Dydd Llun 25 Hydref
Professor / Yr Athro Huw Bowen, (History, Swansea University / Hanes, Prifysgol Abertawe)
Wales and the British Empire: A Missing Link

Monday 8 November / Dydd Llun, Tachwedd 8fed
Professor Heaven Crawley, (Geography, Swansea University / Daearyddiaeth, Prifysgol Abertawe)
Demographics and the Changing Face of Wales

Monday 22 November / Dydd Llun, Tachwedd 22ain
Professor David Blackaby and Dr Stephen Drinkwater
(Economics, Swansea University / Economeg, Prifysgol Abertawe)
Wales and the Global Financial Crisis

Monday 6 December / Dydd Llun, Rhagfyr 6ed
Ned Thomas (Mercator Centre Wales / Canolfan Mercator)
Constructing Wales - Projecting Wales

All Welcome – Croeso i Bawb
Next term’s speakers will include First Minister Carwyn Jones among others.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

CREW website Review: Slanderous Tongues

Poet and critic David Lloyd of Le Moyne College, Syracuse reviews Slanderous Tongues: Essays on Welsh Poetry in English 1970-2005, ed. Daniel G. Williams Bridgend: Seren, 2010. Hardback: 220pp, £24.99; Paperbacck: 274pp, £14.99

Contributors to Slanderous Tongues “address what seemed to them the most interesting themes, debates and modes of expression in contemporary Welsh poetry …,” as editor Daniel Williams puts it in his introduction. While the time is right for criticism that considers postmodern Wales and challenges simplistic formulations of identity, nation, and belonging – my reaction to the collection was mixed.

Slanderous Tongues starts off well with Matthew Jarvis’s survey of “Poetry after the Second Flowering,” tracing the development of identity politics and national feeling in Anglophone Welsh poetry since the 1960s. Later essays by Jo Furber (“Gender and Nationhood”) and Hywel Dix (“Class and Poetry in Wales”) address their specific issues thoughtfully....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Learned Society / Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru

"The Role of Societies in the Development of National Identity" Taliesin Theatre
Swansea University 26 October 2010, 2.45pm

The Learned Society of Wales' inaugural event in the area of Arts, Humanities and Social
Sciences will be held in the Taliesin Centre of Swansea University on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, and will address the theme of "The Role of Societies in the Development of National Identity". The schedule for the event will be as follows:
2.45pm: Welcome by the Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University and Sir John Cadogan, the President of the Learned Society of Wales

3.00pm Professor Robert Evans FLSW FBA, Regius Professor of History, Oxford University:'Learned Societies and the Making of National Identity: A European Perspective'

4.00pm Tea

5.00pm Professor Prys Morgan, FRHistS FSA FLSW, Emeritus Professor of History, Swansea University:'Getting Our Act Together: Welsh Society and Welsh Societies , 1700-2000'

We would be grateful if you could circulate this notice of invitation to the event, which is free and open to all, to members of your organization and to any others who might be interested in attending. It would also be greatly appreciated if those proposing to attend could reply to by Thursday, October 21 at the latest, to allow arrangements to be finalised. We look forward to welcoming you to this notable event. Yours sincerely,
Professor M. Wynn Thomas FBA FLSW Vice President for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

"Swyddogaeth Cymdeithasau yn Natblygiad Hunaniaeth Genedlaethol"

Theatr Taliesin, Prifysgol Abertawe26 Hydref 2010, 2.45pm
Cynhelir digwyddiad cyntaf Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru ym maes y Celfyddydau, y Dyniaethau a’r Gwyddorau Cymdeithasol yng Nghanolfan Taliesin, Prifysgol Abertawe ddydd Mawrth 26 Hydref 2010, a bydd yn ymdrin â thema “Swyddogaeth Cymdeithasau yn Natblygiad Hunaniaeth Genedlaethol”. Bydd amserlen y digwyddiad fel a ganlyn:

2.45pm: Croeso gan yr Athro Richard B. Davies, Is-Ganghellor Prifysgol Abertawe a Syr John Cadogan, Llywydd Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru

3.00pm Yr Athro Robert Evans FLSW FBA, Athro Regiws Hanes, Prifysgol Rhydychen:'Learned Societies and the Making of National Identity: A European Perspective'

4.00pm Te

5.00pm Yr Athro Prys Morgan, FRHistS FSA FLSW, Athro Emeritws Hanes, Prifysgol Abertawe:'Getting Our Act Together: Welsh Society and Welsh Societies , 1700-2000'

Byddem yn ddiolchgar pe baech yn cylchredeg y gwahoddiad hwn i’r digwyddiad, sydd am ddim ac yn agored i bawb, i aelodau o’ch sefydliad ac i unrhyw unigolion eraill a allai fod â diddordeb ynddo.

Byddem yn falch iawn pe bai’r rheini sy’n bwriadu dod yn ateb i erbyn dydd Iau, 21 Hydref fan bellaf, er mwyn gallu cwblhau'r trefniadau.

Edrychwn ymlaen at gael eich croesawu i’r digwyddiad nodedig hwn.Yn gywir,Yr Athro M. Wynn Thomas FBA FLSW Is Lywydd y Celfyddydau, y Dyniaethau a’r Gwyddorau Cymdeithasol

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

R. S. Thomas: 10th Anniversary Conference / Cyhadledd coffau 10 mlynedd

A one-day conference arranged by CREW (Centre for the Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales), Swansea University with the R.S. Thomas Centre, Bangor University.

The conference is part of this year's Dylan Thomas Festival [Full Details Here].

Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
Saturday, November 6th

9.15 Daniel Williams. Opening remarks.

Morning: New Directions in R. S. Thomas Criticism

9.30 – 10.30
Tony Brown, Bangor UniversityThe Unpublished R.S. Thomas: The Bangor Archive

Rhian Bubear, Swansea University
The Echoes Return Slow: R.S. Thomas 'song of himself’

10. 30 – 11.00. Coffee

11.00 – 1.00.
Damian Walford Davies, Aberystwyth University
R. S. Thomas and W. B. Yeats

M. Wynn Thomas, Swansea Univeristy
‘The Fantastic Side of God’: R. S. Thomas and Jorge Luis Borges.

1.00 – 2.00 Lunch.

Afternoon: R. S. Thomas Beyond Literature

2.00 – 3.00
Christine Kinsey.
R.S.Thomas: Traversing the Gap between the Word and the Image

3.00 – 4.00
Kieron Smith introduces John Ormond’s film ‘R S Thomas, priest and poet’.
Followed by a showing of the film.

4.00 – 4.30. Coffee

4.30 – 5.30.
Pwyll ap Sion and Menna Elfyn.
Writing with R.S. Thomas – poetry and music in Emyn i Gymro / Hymn to a Welshman

6.00. M Wynn Thomas.
Launch of the volume In the Shadow of the Pulpit on Nonconformity and Welsh Writing in English. A new monograph in the CREW series Writing Wales in English. Sponsored by UWP.

Evening event. This is included within the conference fee.

Tony Brown in Conversation with Gwydion Thomas.

The Essential Information / Gwybodaeth Hanfodol
Conference Fee: £20. This includes tea and coffee but no lunch. Food will be available at the Dylan Thomas Centre.

The Book Launch at 6pm is free and open to the public.

Evening event only: Full. £6. Concessions: £4.20. Passport for Leisure: 2.40.
Those who have paid for the conference do not need to pay for the evening event.

Tickets to be booked at the Dylan Thomas Centre.
0792 463980

Arranged by Daniel Williams, CREW, Swansea University (

Raymond Williams: Wales - Japan 2

Dai Smith and Daniel Williams were in Tokyo at the end of September attending a conference on Raymond Williams. ‘Fiction as Criticism / Criticism as a Whole Way of Life’ took place on Saturday, September 25th. In his opening remarks Shintaro Kono noted that the event was a development of the CREW conference ‘Raymond Williams In Transit: Wales – Japan’ that took place in October 2009. Yasuhiro Kondo delivered a paper on Williams’s neglected novel Loyalties, offering a close analysis of the concept of history informing Williams’s intricate novel. Yuzo Yamada drew on Williams’s criticism to offer a fascinating comparative account of Gwyn Thomas and the mother turned poet, writer, and activist, Ishimure Michiko. During the ensuing conversation Dai Smith drew attention to a further connection between what Yamada referred to as the ‘far West’ of Europe and Japan, in the figure of American photographer William Eugene Smith. Eugene Smith’s famous photos of south Wales in the 1950s were a prelude to his more famous photos of the effects of Minamata disease in the 1970s which was the major subject of Michiko’s work. There are certainly grounds for further comparative work here….

In the afternoon Tony Pinkey of Lancaster University delivered a lecture on the role of Utopia in Williams’s thinking, with particular reference to the third volume of the Welsh trilogy, The Fight for Manod and in relation to William Morris’s notions of Utopia. Daniel Williams discussed Williams’s defense of realism against the poststructuralists in the 1970s, and used that debate to explore Williams’s claim that Border Country was an attempt at writing ‘against the grain of the form’. Dai Smith concluded the day with a spirited account of the exceptionalism of the south Walian industrial experience and of Williams’s own understanding and analysis of it.

On the previous Thursday, September 23rd, Hideaki Suzuki, Fuhito Endo, Takashi Onuki and Shintaro Kono all delivered terrific papers on Raymond Williams’s thought and invited responses from Tony Pinkney, Dai Smith and Daniel Williams. This again was a stimulating and intellectually lively session.

Both events were primarily arranged by Professor Yasuo Kawabata and took place at Japan Women University, Mejiro Campus. It is hoped that further events and projects will develop from in the future.

The symposium was hosted by Raymond Williams Kenkyukai (the society for Raymond Williams Studies in Japan) with the support of the Faculty / Graduate School of Humanities, JWU, and the JSPS/MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.

The information for the event can be found here.

Bu Dai Smith a Daniel Williams yn Tokyo ar ddiwedd mis Medi yn mynychu cynhadledd ar Raymond Williams. Cynhaliwyd y gynhadledd ‘Fiction as Criticism / Criticism as a Whole Way of Life’ ar Ddydd Sadwrn 25 Medi. Yn ei sylwadau agoriadol nododd Shintaro Kono fod y digwyddiad yn ddatblygiad ar y gynhadledd ‘Raymond Williams In Transit: Wales – Japan’ a gynhaliwyd ym mis Hydref 2009. Cyflwynodd Yasuhiro Kondo bapur ar y nofel Loyalties gan ddadansoddi’r cysyniad o hanes yn nofel gymhleth Williams. Tynnodd Yuzo Yamada ar feirniadaeth Raymodn Williams i gynnig dadansoddiad cymharol, hynod ddiddorol, o Gwyn Thomas a'r fam a ddaeth yn fardd, llenor, ac ymgyrchydd, Ishimure Michiko. Yn ystod y sgwrs a ddilynodd tynnodd Dai Smith sylw at gysylltiad pellach rhwng yr hyn y cyfeiriodd Yamada ato fel yr 'Gorllewin pell' yn Ewrop a Siapan, yn ffigwr y ffotograffydd Americanaidd Eugene William Smith. Tynnodd Eugene Smith luniau enwog o dde Cymru yn y 1950aumac yn 1960au a 1970au fe dynnodd luniau enwog o effeithiau clefyd Minamata a oedd yn destun pwysig yng ngwaith Michiko. Mae testun gwaith cymharol diddorol yma....Yn y prynhawn traddododd Tony Pinkey o Brifysgol Lancaster ddarlith ar rôl Iwtopia yng ngwaith Williams meddwl, gan gyfeirio'n benodol at drydedd gyfrol y ‘drioleg Cymreig’, The Fight for Manod, ac at syniadau Iwtopaidd William Morris. Trafod ‘realaeth’ Raymond Williams wnaeth Daniel Williams, gan archwilio honiad Williams fod Border Country yn ymgais i ysgrifennu 'yn erbyn graen y ffurf'. Daeth y gynhadledd i ben wrth i Dai Smith drafod neilltuolrwydd profiad diwydiannol de Cymru a dealltwriaeth Williams, mewn theori a ffuglen, o’r profiad hwnnw.

Ar y dydd Iau blaenorol, Medi 23ain, cyflwynodd Hideaki Suzuki, Fuhito Endo, Takashi Onuki a Shintaro Kono bapurau hynod ddiddorol ar Raymond Williams, gan wahodd ymatebion gan Tony Pinkney, Dai Smith a Daniel Williams. Roedd hon eto yn sesiwn ddeallusol fywiog. Trefnwyd y cyfan gan yr athro Yasuo Kawabata a cynhaliwyd y ddau ddigwyddiad ym Mhrifysgol Merched Japan, Campws Mejiro. Y gobaith yw y bydd rhagor o ddigwyddiadau a phrosiectau yn datblygu o hyn yn y dyfodol.Trefnwyd y digwyddiadau gan y Raymond Williams Kenkyukai (y gymdeithas ar gyfer Astudio Raymond Williams yn Siapan) gyda chefnogaeth y Gyfadran / Graddedigion Ysgol y Dyniaethau, JWU, a ‘JSPS/MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research’.
Ceir y wybodaeth am y digwyddiad yma:

Comparative American Studies Special Issue: The Celtic Nations and the African Americas

Volume 8: Issue 2 of the journal Comparative American Studies appeared during the Summer and is a special issue entitled 'The Celtic Nations and the African Americas'. It is guest edited by Daniel Williams whose introduction to the issue is free to view online for all. The journal contents are as follows:

TI: Introduction: Celticism and the Black Atlantic
AU: Williams, Daniel G.

TI: 'Did you hear about the Gaelic-speaking African?': Scottish Gaelic Folklore about Identity in North America
AU: Newton, Michael

TI: 'Assimilation through Self-Assertion': Aspects of African American and Welsh Thought in the Nineteenth Century
AU: Williams, Daniel G.

TI: 'Me zo bet sklav': African Americans and Breton Literature
AU: Williams, Heather

TI: Dissimilation and Federation: Irish and Caribbean Modernisms in Derek Walcott's The Sea at Dauphin
AU: Malouf, Michael

TI: 'Imaginary hinterlands': Travel and Displacement in the Writings of Denis Williams and Charlotte Williams
AU: Edwards, Justin D.

Review of Rhys Davies

Kirsti Bohata reviews Rhys Davies: Writers of Wales, by Huw Edwin Osborne
Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009, 144pp, £16.99

"Within the constraints of the Writers of Wales series, Huw Osborne has done an admirable job of presenting Rhys Davies in a new and refreshing light. Positioning Davies as a man and writer existing on multiple borders, Osborne provides an outstanding introductory chapter which makes a liminal identity seem a fresh concept rather than the critical cliché it is in danger of becoming, for all its legitimacy. Citing physical, geographical and internal boundaries, Osborne references the ‘internal difference’ of M. Wynn Thomas, the liminal interstices of Bhabha, and makes excellent use of Bakhtin, who argues that the‘realm of culture has no internal territory: it is entirely distributed along the boundaries, boundaries pass everywhere, though its every aspect… Every cultural act lives essentially on the boundaries: … abstracted from boundaries it loses its soil, it becomes empty, arrogant, it degenerates and dies.’ This book makes light work of its theoretical paradigms, yet remains productively informed by them throughout"

Bazm-E-Adab yn yr Eisteddfod / Welsh and Urdu Poetry at the Eisteddfod

On the morning of Friday, August 6th, the Swansea University stand at the National Eisteddfod was host to a dialogue between Welsh and Urdu poetry. Swansea University’s Tudur Hallam (who went on to win the Eisteddfod Chair later that day) was joined by Grahame Davies and by members of the Cardiff based Urdu poetry group Bazm-E-Adab, including the groups’ Chair, Mian Abdul Majeed, Mohammad Husain, and Dr Nafis Ahmad. The cultural dialogue developed as the poets read poems in secession in Welsh and in Urdu, allowing the sounds a words to reverberate around the stand.

The event was arranged by Daniel Williams and Tom Cheeseman and supported by Academi as part of a collaborative exploration of the NEW (Not English or Welsh) literatures of Wales.

Cynhaliwyd deialog unigryw rhwng barddoniaeth Gymraeg a Urdu ar fore Dydd Gwener 6 Awst, yn stondin Prifysgol Abertawe yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. Ymysg y cyfranwyr roedd Tudur Hallam (a aeth ymlaen i ennill y Cadair yr Eisteddfod yn ddiweddarach y diwrnod hwnnw), Grahame Davies, ac aelodau o’r grŵp barddoniaeth Urdu yng Ngaherdydd, Bazm-e-Adab, gan gynnwys Cadeirydd y grŵp, Mian Abdul Majeed a Dr Nafis Ahmad. Datblygodd y ddeialog diwylliannol wrth i’r beirdd ddarllen eu cerddi yn eu tro yn y Gymraeg ac yn Urdu, gan ganiatáu i synau’r geiriau adleisio o amgylch y stondin.Trefnwyd y digwyddiad gan Daniel Williams a Tom Cheeseman a'i gefnogi gan Academi.

Celebrating and Discussing the Library of Wales

On Wednesday, August the 4th, CREW, the Welsh Books Council and Parthian Press arranged an event at the Swansea University stand at the National Eisteddfod to celebrate and discuss the Welsh Assembly Government funded series of classic Welsh Anglophone Literature, The Library of Wales. Proceedings were opened by Swansea University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Davies who celebrated the institution’s connections with the series and discussed the establishment of Welsh Writing in English as a significant field of research in Swansea by Professor M. Wynn Thomas. The Welsh Government’s Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, expressed his admiration for the series and the role of some the key texts of the tradition in his own views of Wales and the world. Daniel Williams, Director of CREW and the Richard Burton Centre, made the case for the significance of the series and the need now to make these texts part of the inheritance of all the people of Wales through the English literature curriculum in our secondary schools. This might be the next stage in the long revolution. This message was reinforced by Dai Smith who discussed, in Welsh, the formation of the series and the importance of literature and culture in the fostering of a civic Welsh identity. The WAG Minister for Education, Leighton Andrews, brought the session to a close with a powerful description of the inclusive cultural vision that informed the series and the need to disseminate these works as widely as possible. Ebbw Vale, due to its history and location, seemed a particularly appropriate place to in which to hold the event, which attracted a good audience and was widely reported in the press and in the blogosphere.

Ar ddydd Mercher, Awst y 4ydd, dathlwyd a thrafodwyd y gyfres The Library of Wales, mewn digwyddiad yn stondin Prifysgol Abertawe a drefnwyd ar y cyd gan CREW, Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru a gwasg Parthian. Agorwyd y drafodaeth gan Is-Ganghellor Prifysgol Abertawe, yr Athro Richard Davies a dathlodd gysylltiadau y Brifysgol gyda'r gyfres a maes Llen Saesneg Cymru. Mynegodd Gweinidog dros Dreftadaeth y Cynulliad, Alun Ffred Jones, ei edmygedd o’r gyfres a’r rôl y chwaraeodd rhai o destunau allweddol y traddodiad yn ei ddealltwriaeth o Gymru a'r byd. Dadleuodd Daniel Williams, Cyfarwyddwr CREW a Chanolfan Richard Burton, yr achos dros arwyddocâd y gyfres a'r angen yn awr i wneud y testunau yn rhan o etifeddiaeth holl bobl Cymru drwy'r cwricwlwm llenyddiaeth Saesneg yn ein hysgolion uwchradd. Atgyfnerthwyd y neges hon gan Dai Smith a drafododd, yn y Gymraeg yn bennaf, y rhesymau dros greu’r gyfres a phwysigrwydd llenyddiaeth a diwylliant wrth feithrin hunaniaeth Gymreig ddinesig. Leighton Andrews, y Gweinidog dros Addysg yn y Cynulliad, a ddaeth a’r sesiwn i ben mewn modd grymus wrth ddisgrifio’r weledigaeth gynhwysol sy’n symbylu’r Library of Wales, a’r angen i ledaenu’r gwaith mor eang â phosibl. Roedd Glyn Ebwy, oherwydd ei hanes a'i leoliad, yn lle arbennig o briodol i gynnal y digwyddiad. Denwyd cynulleidfa dda a cafwyd sawl adroddiad yn y wasg ac ar draws byd y blogiau.

Susan Robeson yn yr Eisteddfod / Susan Robeson at the National Eisteddfod

Thanks to the sterling work of the University’s Welsh Language Officers, Swansea University had much higher profile at this year’s National Eisteddfod at Ebbw Vale than ever before. A successful, packed, Alumni event with Jason Mohammed and the launch of Academi Hywel Teifi with Huw Edwards were among the highlights, and the week came to a magnificent climax with Dr Tudur Hallam of the Welsh department winning the Chair for his long poem in tribute to Professor Hywel Teifi Edwards.

CREW also played a prominent part in proceedings. The Eisteddfod had last visited Ebbw Vale in 1958, and the Gymanfa Ganu (singing festival) of that year is particularly remembered due to the presence of the African American singer and activist Paul Robeson, who was introduced to the audience by Aneurin Bevan. Swansea University had the honour of the presence of Paul Robeson’s granddaughter, Susan, at our tent throughout the week. In the proceeding week Susan has been involved in a range of outreach activities arranged by Sian Williams of the Miners Library at Swansea University, including workshops at the National Maritime Museum in Swansea, at Brynaman and at Big Pit in Blaenavon. Susan was a guest at several events throughout the Eisteddfod week, including the launch of Daniel Williams’s edited collection of essays on the connection between African Americans and the Welsh, and his Institute of Welsh affairs annual lecture on ‘Aneurin Bevan and Paul Robeson: Socialism Class and Identity’. John Osmond previewed the lecture on his blog, and it’s available as handsomely produced bilingual booklet from the Institute of Welsh Affairs. Details of the volume Canu Caeth can be found on the website of Gwasg Gomer, and it’s just been reviewed on the BBCs welsh language site.

Diolch i waith diflino Swyddogion Iaith Gymraeg y Brifysgol roedd proffil Prifysgol Abertawe lawer yn uwch ar faes Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Glyn Ebwy nag y bu yn y gorffennol. Cafwyd sawl digwyddiad llwyddiannus iawn, gan gynnwys digwyddiad ar gyfer cyn-fyfyrwyr gyda Jason Mohammed a lansiad Academi Hywel Teifi gyda Huw Edwards. Daeth yr wythnos i ben gyda uchafbwynt addas wrth i Tudur Hallam o’r adran Gymraeg ennill y Gadair am ei deyrnged i'r Athro Hywel Teifi Edwards.

Chwaraeodd CREW rhan flaenllaw yn yr Eisteddfod hefyd. Mae Eisteddfod 1958, y tro diwethaf i’r wyl ymweld a Glyn Ebwy, yn cael ei gofio yn arbennig oherwydd presenoldeb y canwr Affro-Americanaidd Paul Robeson, a gafodd ei gyflwyno i gynulleidfa’r Gymanfa Ganu gan Aneurin Bevan. Cafodd Prifysgol Abertawe y fraint o bresenoldeb wyres Paul Robeson, Susan, yn ein pabell trwy gydol yr wythnos.

Yn yr wythnos flaenorol bu Susan Robeson yn cymryd rhan mewn amrywiaeth o weithgareddau cymdeithasol a drefnwyd gan Sian Williams o Lyfrgell y Glowyr ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe, gan gynnwys gweithdai yn yr Amgueddfa Forwrol Genedlaethol yn Abertawe, ym Mrynaman ac yn y Pwll Mawr ym Mlaenafon. Roedd Susan yn westai mewn nifer o ddigwyddiadau drwy gydol yr wythnos, gan gynnwys lawnsio Canu Caeth, casgliad o ysgrifau ar y cysylltiad rhwng yr Affro-Americaniaid a’r Cymry a olygwyd gan Daniel Williams, a darlith flynyddol y Sefydliad Materion Cymreig ar 'Aneurin Bevan a Paul Robeson: Sosialaeth, Dosbarth a Hunaniaeth '. Cafwyd rhagolwg o’r ddarlith ar flog John Osmond, ac mae ar gael fel llyfryn dwyieithog gan y Sefydliad Materion Cymreig. Gellir cael manylion am y gyfrol Canu Caeth ar wefan Gwasg Gomer, ac mae adolygiad cynnar wedi ymddangos ar safle Gymraeg y BBC.

[Isod: Alun Ffred Jones, Gweinidog Treftadaeth y Cynulliad, Susan Robeson, Daniel Williams, Richard Davies, Is-Ganghellor Prifysgol Abertawe, Iwan Davies, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor Prifysgol Abertawe, Dylan Williams, Gwasg Gomer]

[Helen Mary Jones, AC a chyfrannwr i Canu Caeth, Daniel Williams, Susan Robeson]

Monday, 11 October 2010

Theorising Wales / Damcaniaethu Cymru

From the 12 – 14 July 2010 the CREW conference ‘Theorising Wales / Damcaniaethu Cymru’ took place at Gregynog Hall near Newtown. The conference was enlivened by a range of papers exploring a diversity of theoretical approaches which addressed issues of gender, language, race, sexuality, (post)colonialism and (post)nationalism.

The keynote papers were delivered by:

Simon Brooks (Cardiff University ) 'Liberal political theory and the failure of Welsh culture in the 19th century'
Glenn Jordan (University of Glamorgan ) 'Mothers and Daughters: Pictures of a Multi-Ethnic Wales'
Gerardine Meaney (University College Dublin ) 'Gender, Ireland and Cultural Change'
Chris Weedon ( Cardiff University ) 'The Cultural Politics of Gender and Difference in Contemporary Wales'
Daniel Williams ( Swansea University) 'Creu’r Diwylliant Mewnol: Iaith a Hil yn Llên Saesneg Cymru’ [‘Constructing the Inner Culture: Language and Race in Welsh Writing in English']

The complete programme can be viewed here:

Delegates attended from across the UK, Europe and as far afield as the United States and Canada. Kirsti Bohata, the conference organiser, couldn’t be present as she had just given birth to CREW’s newest member, Brychan Jacob, a week or so before the conference began. Geraldine Lublin from the department of Spanish, Swansea University, stepped in to run the show, and was assisted by CREW students Kieron Smith and Liza Penn-Thomas.

The conference was organized by CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales) with the assistance of C-SCAP (Centre for the Study of Culture and Politics) and GENCAS (Centre for Research into Gender, Culture and Society. It was made possible generous financial support from the Richard Burton Centre, School of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University.

Cynhaliwyd y gynhadledd 'Theorising Wales / Damcaniaethu Cymru’ ar Orffennaf 12 – 14 yn Neuadd Gregynog ger y Drenewydd. Cyflwynwyd nifer o bapurau yn archwilio dulliau damcaniaethol o fynd i'r afael â rhywedd, iaith, hil, rhywioldeb, (ol) wladychiaeth ac (ol) genedlaetholdeb yn y Gymru gyfoes.

Y prif ddarlithwyr oedd:
Simon Brooks (Prifysgol Caerdydd) 'Rhyddfrydol theori gwleidyddol a methiant diwylliant Cymru yn y 19eg ganrif'
Glenn Jordan (Prifysgol Morgannwg) 'Mamau a Merched: Lluniau o Gymru Aml-Ethnig'
Gerardine Meaney (Coleg Prifysgol Dulyn) 'Gender, Iwerddon a Newid Diwylliannol'
Chris Weedon (Prifysgol Caerdydd) 'The Gwleidyddiaeth Diwylliannol o Rhywedd a Gwahaniaeth yng Nghymru Gyfoes'
Daniel Williams (Prifysgol Abertawe) 'Creu'r Ysbeidiol Diwylliant: Iaith a Llên in Hil Cymru only' ['Adeiladu'r Diwylliant Mewnol: Iaith a Hil mewn Ysgrifennu Saesneg o Gymru']

Gellir gweld y rhaglen gyflawn yma:

Daeth cynadleddwyr o bob rhan o'r DU, Ewrop ac mor bell a’r Unol Daleithiau a Chanada.
Ni allai Kirsti Bohata, trefnydd y gynhadledd, fod yn bresennol gan ei bod wedi rhoi genedigaeth i aelod mwyaf newydd CREW, Brychan Jacob, wythnos neu ddwy cyn i'r gynhadledd ddechrau. Geraldine Lublin o adran y Sbaeneg, Prifysgol Abertawe, a gamodd i’r bwlch, a chafodd ei chynorthwyo gan fyfyrwyr CREW, Kieron Smith a Liza Penn-Thomas.

Trefnwyd y gynhadledd gan CREW (Canolfan Ymchwil i Lên ac Iaith Saesneg Cymru) gyda chymorth C-SCAP (Canolfan ar gyfer Astudio Diwylliant a Gwleidyddiaeth) a GENCAS (Canolfan Ymchwil i Rhyw, Diwylliant a Chymdeithas). Gwnaethpwyd y gynhadledd yn bosibl drwy gefnogaeth ariannol hael oddi wrth Canolfan Richard Burton, Ysgol y Celfyddydau a'r Dyniaethau, Prifysgol Abertawe.

Author-Translator Conference: CREW session now online

On the 29th of June CREW arranged a Plenary Session in the major Author-Translator Conference arranged by Hilary Brown and Duncan Large of the Department of Modern Languages at Swansea University.

The CREW session on ‘Author-Translators in Multilingual Wales’ featured the novelist, poet and essayist Grahame Davies, the novelist Fflur Dafydd and poet Childe Roland.

Grahame and Fflur work in English and Welsh and discussed the process of translating their own works within the charged linguistic context of contemporary Wales. Childe Roland is a Quebecois concrete poet who has lived in Wales since the 1970s and writes in French, English and Welsh, often translating the sound and shape of words as much as their meaning in his work.

Their lectures can now be viewed online at:

The event was co-sponsored by Academi and is one of several events on which CREW and Academi have been collaborating recently on multilingual literatures in Wales.

Ar y 29ain o Fehefin fe drefnodd CREW sessiwn mewn cynhadledd fawr ar Gyfieithu a drefnwyd gan Hilary Brown a Duncan Large, o’r Adran Ieithoedd Modern ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe.Roedd sessiwn CREW ar 'Awdur-Gyfieithwyr yn y Gymru Amlieithog' yn cynnwys y bardd a’r nofelydd Grahame Davies, y nofelydd Fflur Dafydd a'r bardd Childe Roland.Mae Grahame a Fflur yn gweithio yn Gymraeg a’r Saesneg a chafwyd trafodaethau difyr gan y ddau ar y broses o gyfieithu o fewn cyd-destun ieithyddol y Gymru gyfoes. Bardd o Quebec yn wreiddiol yw Childe Roland sydd wedi ymgartrefi yng Nghymru ers y 70au ac yn ysgrifennu yn Ffrangeg, Cymraeg a Saesneg. Bydd yn aml yn cyfieithu sain a ffurf geiriau llawn cymaint â'u hystyr.Gellir gwylio’r darlithoedd yma:
Cyd-noddwyd y digwyddiad gan Academi. Bu CREW ac Academi yn cydweithio’n ddiweddar ar lenyddiaeth amlieithog yng Nghymru.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Successful Writers’ Day at the Dylan Thomas Centre

On Thursday 17 JUNE 2010 the creative writing departments of Swansea University and Trinity University College, Carmarthen, in conjunction with the Dragon Innovation Partnership, held a successful day of discussions and readings to a packed out audience at the Dylan Thomas Centre. This was the first time such an event had been held outside the university, and it provided a wonderful opportunity for students and the wider community of Swansea and Carmarthen to enjoy a day of discussion about writing and publishing, to learn more about the creative writing departments of both universities, and to meet with key figures in the industry. The event featured prominent names from the publishing industry in Wales, such as Dominic Williams from Parthian Books and Gwen Davies from Alcemi Press, as well as featuring top London agent Euan Thorneycroft from AM Heath, who talked eloquently about his role as an agent. The established poet and singer-songwriter Paul Henry also finished the day with a flourish, with a special music and poetry performance, followed by a book signing.

The organiser of the event, Dr. Fflur Dafydd of Swansea University said: “It really was wonderful to see the academic community and wider communities of Swansea and Carmarthen brought together by this event, and the audience was a wonderful combination of aspiring and published writers, book lovers and critics, as well as those interested in the more commercial side of publishing. Hopefully people will have made useful contacts during the day, which will help them make a start in the publishing business, and we hope to be able to run this as an annual event in future.”

The event was sponsored by the Dragon Innovation Partnership, and also featured key contributions from the staff of the creative writing departments of both universities – Professor Stevie Davies, Dr. Jeni Williams, Dr. Fflur Dafydd, and Nigel Jenkins –who talked about their own experiences of publishing in Wales and beyond.

Hay Poetry Jamboree 2: John Goodby's Report

A big thanks from me and Lyndon Davies to all those who performed and turned up to the 2nd Hay-on-Wye Poetry Jamboree, 3-5th June.

Like last year, the good weather had a lot to do with the laid-back spirit and high turnout, but we like to think the varied programme played its part too. Those of you lucky enough to have caught it will have witnessed good sets from Rob Minhinnick and the legendary Peter Meilleur (Childe Roland) to kick things off, the latter ably supported by Sophie McKeand in his rendition of Ham & Jam and A Pearl (brilliantly manic rewritings of Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2 recently published by Hafan Press). Thereafter, things seemed to roll forward in a pretty glitch-free way, with the Friday afternoon session packed with good things from readings from Anthony Mellors (whose set included the immortal ‘Farley’s Rusks’ note from The Gordon Brown Sonnets), Keri Finlayson, and Scott Thurston (reading from Rooms and Internal Rhyme respectively – there were Shearsman-free zones in the Jam, but this wasn’t one of them). After the obligatory improving lecture (me, with ‘Undispellable lost dream’: Welsh modernist and avant-garde poetry’), we moved into top gear with a rousing evening double act of Messrs Halsey and Monk, Alan memorably reprising his time in Hay with the ‘Letters of Change & Exchange’ among others, and Geraldine planting her head firmly in the clouds with a wonderful rendition of the recently reissued Sky Scrapers.

As usual, the post-Jam session wind-downs took place in the garden of Church House in Talgarth, with food brought in – thanks to Chris and Debbie for premises and for the cooking – and plenty of yattering and drinking in the shade of David Greenslade’s yurt (and Georgetta’s devastating Romanian poitin), warming ourselves around a fire fed by slim Faber and Picador volumes, ho ho, as last year’s owl returned to whoo-whoo through the dusk from the trees bordering the stream at the bottom of the garden.

Saturday lived up to most of its promise, with a late morning set from Phil Maillard, Ric Hool and Richard Glyn, reading from his new book Sad Giraffe Café. Despite the news that Randolph Healy had crocked his back and was unable to make it, the rest of the international contingent, in the shape of Claudia Azzola, poet and editor of Traduzionetradizione, and the Italo-Franco-Belgian-Luxembourgeois Jean Portante, were present. Claudia had read on Friday afternoon, translated by Lyndon Davies, and Jean, translated by Zoe Skoulding, read in one of the Jam’s daytime highlights, the Saturday Poetry Wales session, which included contributions from Tilla Brading, Cris Paul, and Carol Watts. Ian Davidson, the Bangor poet, read some of his cool and thoughtful meditations on language, landscape and politics in a set that tempered the heat outside. The afternoon also featured the launch of the latest issue of Angel Exhaust, the long-awaited # 21 Each Aeon Free After the First One – The Welsh Underground special issue, with Andrew Duncan detailing the labours that have gone into the making of this epochal volume, such as the unearthing forgotten masters like Paul Evans and Philip Jenkins, and the commissioning of new material by the legendary-incendiary Aberystwyth trio of However Introduced to the Soles, Niall Quinn, Nick Macias and Nic Laight. By popular request (OK, organisers perogative) Samantha Wynn-Rhydderch was also back after her impressive reading the year before for a longer slot.

2010 was the year the Jam went multi-media. On Friday there had been a screening in the chapel next door of a slew of shorts organized by John, of Swansea’s Elysium Gallery; on Saturday it hosted the Quantum Brother’s nouvelle-vague-meets-Burroughs-meets-disco-and-dub Beginner’s Guide to Radial City. The Brothers’ thrillingly dystopian vision was followed by the materialization in the vestry of the performance artist Kath Ashill, clad in a silver dress, perched beside a table of cakes which, one by one, as we parted the curtains and entered, we were invited to feed her, by hand. (This gloriously sticky ill-by-mouth scenario would later require an antidote of vinegar-drenched chips as Kath lay outside recovering, but no matter; we’d all taken to heart the point she was making about intimacy and consumerism. Maybe.) All of which was a prelude to the culmination of the Jam in two mighty readings, by Elisabeth Bletsoe and Caroline Bergvall. After nuggets from Pharmocopoeia, Elisabeth blasted us with three of the Hardy heroines ventriloquised and earthed in her Landscape from a Dream, in a set so electrifying that at one point a nearby kettle started switching itself on and off. And, after the blue fire and thunder, Caroline’s rendition in cod Middle English of her modern versionings of The Canterbury Tales – The Wife of Bath lewd, thonged and hot to trot was just one of her personae – had us gasping at verbal dexterity that would have left Danny Kaye tongue-twisted. A suitably wry, witty, sensual, comic-cosmic performance to close the poetic proceedings.

After which it was time for the band – Chris Twigg and Chicken of the Woods (think a Bromsgrove bluegrass Tristan Tzara accompanied mandolin and double bass) – and Geraldine kicking away the furniture and getting everyone (OK, the girls anyway) for a Bacchantic fling, before departing to a final meal and drink back at Church House, Lyndon and me swearing we would never do it again / just had to do it again.

Photos are on the Jam website, and mine and Lyndon’s Facebook pages. Anyone who was there who wants to give us feedback, comments, curses, blessings, please do. Any photos, too, please share them with us.

A last thank-you to our sponsors – Academi, Susie W. for organising the 24-hour poetry marathon fundraiser, CREW (the Centre for Research into English Literature and Language in Wales, Swansea University), Chris Ozzard and his tremenjous Blast House support gig. And to all those who helped, too many names missed out here, but Geoff whose Oriel Gallery we used, Steve the Soundman, Penny Hallas for the magnificent art work adorning the walls, and the rest of you - you know who you are.

Peter Lord at Hay on Wye / Peter Lord yng Ngwyl y Gelli

If the CREW blog has witnessed something of a summer hiatus, members of the centre have been very busy throughout the summer months. We’ll try and catch up with all that’s been going on in the next few entries, starting with our Research Fellow Peter Lord at the Hay Literary Festival. Peter introduced his award winning book The Meaning of Pictures to a packed audience.

The book was long listed for the prestigious Berger Prize for British Art History 2010.
The William Berger Prize for British Art History is awarded annually to a scholarly publication that demonstrates outstanding achievement in the field of British Art History. Awarded jointly by The British Art Journal and the Berger Collection Educational Trust, the Berger prize is recognized as the most prestigious award in its field. The Meaning of Pictures was also Longlisted for this year’s Academi Welsh Book of the Year.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Celebration of Writing



The creative writing departments of Swansea University and Trinity University College, Carmarthen, in conjunction with the Dragon Innovation Partnership, are hosting a one day event at the Dylan Thomas Centre to celebrate writing. The free event will include discussions, readings and an opportunity to meet key industry figures. There will be representation from Parthian Books (DominicWilliams) Alcemi Press (Gwen Davies) and a chance to hear top London agent Euan Thorneycroft from AM Heath talk about his role as an agent in the publishing business.

The poet and songwriter Paul Henry will perform his poetry and music and talk about his successful publishing history, and the staff of the creative writing departments of both universities – Professor StevieDavies, Dr JeniWilliams, Dr Fflur Dafydd, and Nigel Jenkins ‐ will talk about their own experiences as teachers and published authors. There will also be an opportunity to buy books and a chance to chat informally to contributors after each session. The programme for the day is available to view at

Sessions start from 10.15 am

This is a FREE event, and all are welcome, but in order to secure a place, please ring the Dylan Thomas Centreon 01792 463980


Ar ddydd Iau, Mehefin 17ain, fe fydd adrannau ysgrifennu creadigol Prifysgolion Abertawe a’r Drindod, mewn cydweithrediad gyda Partneriaeth Arloesi’r Ddraig, yn cynnal diwrnod o sgyrsiau llenyddol a darlleniadau. Fe fydd hyn yn gyfle i’r cyhoedd gael blas o’r hyn sy’n digwydd ar gyrsiau ysgrifennu y ddwy brifysgol, yn ogystal â bod yn gyfle gwerthfawr i glywed cyhoeddwyr ac awduron yn sgwrsio am eu profiadau yn y byd cyhoeddi. Fe fydd ‘na hefyd gyfle prin i glywed yr asiant Euan Thorneycroft o asiantaeth AM Heath yn Llundain, un o brif asiantaethau llenyddol Prydain, yn son am rôl yr asiant o fewn y byd cyhoeddi.

Fe fydd y rhaglen yn cynnwys sgwrs rhwng yr awdur Fflur Dafydd a’r golygydd Gwen Davies o wasg Alcemi, darlleniadau a pherfformiadau gan y bardd a’r cyfansoddwr Paul Henry, sgwrs gan Dominic Williams o wasg Parthian, ac ymddangosiadau gan yr awdur Stevie Davies a’r bardd Nigel Jenkins. Fe fydd ‘na gyfle hefyd i brynu llyfrau ac i sgwrsio’n anffurfiol gyda’r cyfranwyr rhwng sesiynau.

Mae’r digwyddiad yn rhad ac am ddim, ac ar agor i unrhyw un sydd â diddordeb mewn llenyddiaeth. Er mwyn sicrhau eich lle, rhowch ganiad i Ganolfan Dylan Thomas ar 01792 463980. Fe fydd y sesiwn gyntaf yn dechrau am 10.15y bore, ac mae’r amserlen lawn i’w gweld ar:,46759,en.php

Timetable / Amserlen
10.15 – 11.30 Fflur Dafydd and Gwen Davies
11.30 – 12.00 Coffee
12.00 – 1.15 Euan Thorneycroft from AM Heath with Stevie Davies
1.15 – 2.15 Lunch
2.15 – 3.30 Dominic Williams, Parthian
3.30 – 4.00 Coffee break
4.00 – 5.15 Paul Henry

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Second Hay Poetry Jamboree


JUNE 3rd - 5th, 2010

Oriel Contemporary Arts Gallery
Salem Chapel, Hay-on-Wye (near Kilvert’s Hotel)

June 3rd
6.30 - 7.30 p.m. Festival Launch Reception
Art Events: Ongoing Exhibition of Prints and Paintings by Penny Hallas and Stewart Macindoe

June 4th
11.00 – noon Word Cloud, with Susie Wild
2.00 - 4.00 p.m. Keri Finlayson, John Goodby, Anthony Mellors,
Claudia Azzola, Samantha Wynne Rhydderch, Scott Thurston
5.00 - 6.00 p.m. John Goodby, lecture: ‘Undispellable lost dream’:
reading Welsh alternative poetry.
7.30 - 9.15 p.m. GERALDINE MONK and ALAN HALSEY
Art Events: Noon onwards - Elysium Gallery Film Festival

June 5th
11.00 – noon Phil Maillard, Ric Hool, Richard Gwyn
2.00 - 6.00 p.m. Randolph Healy, Ian Davidson, Zoe Skoulding with
Poetry Wales, Jean Portante, Carol Watts.
9.30 - 10.30 p.m. Grande Finale - Chicken of the Woods
Art Events: Noon onwards - Films by The Quantum Brothers;
4.00 - 7.30 Performance by Kathryn Ashill

Entrance to 7.30 events £5 (Concessions £3).
All other events FREE

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Three New Reviews

Three new reviews have recently appeared on the 'Reviews' section of the CREW website:

Eminent historian Prys Morgan reviews
Gower, by Nigel Jenkins

It isn’t easy to capture the essence of a region between the covers of a book, even one as compact as Gower, a kind of micro-Cornwall stretching west of Swansea, a peninsula about fifteen miles long and about five miles across. There have been several ‘Gower books’ over the years and the annual volumes of the journal Gower have been, for over fifty years, combining essays with photographs. This handsomely-produced volume consists of ten essays (one of them introductory) and ten poems by Nigel Jenkins, and about eighty seven colour photographs by David Pearl. This is not a topographical or antiquarian travelogue, and the pictures entirely avoid picture-postcard or calendar views. This is simply (or not so simply) two artistic reactions to Gower....

Sarah Coles, PhD studnet in Creative Writing at Swansea University reviews
Self-Portrait as Ruth, by Jasmine Donahaye

Jasmine Donahaye’s second poetry collection is a confrontation that leaves the reader bruised, exhausted and yet subtly seduced by the strong, female voice that sings here of the poet’s relationship with the Israel-Palestine conflict. It has been described as ‘erotic’ and yet the Eros that haunts each meticulously constructed poem is not one of pleasure, but of the cold mechanics of the genital...

CREW's M. Wynn Thomas reviews
Dannie Abse: A Sourcebook, ed. Cary Archard

Not all writers, it seems to me, lend themselves to the ‘Sourcebook,’ or ‘Reader’ format. Dannie Abse, on the other hand, is a natural candidate for this kind of treatment. Over his long and distinguished career he has excelled in a variety of different forms (including plays), in most of which his writing has tended to be episodic in nature. Indeed it might even be argued that he is particularly well served by the ‘Sourcebook’ approach, because otherwise he would be liable to pay a high price for his fluent, subtle, quietly insinuating diversity: few would otherwise be sufficiently inward with his work as a whole to be able to appreciate the distinctively inflected yet faithfully integrated character of his multifaceted and variegated vision...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Nicholas Royle Seminar

While not directly related to Welsh Writing in English, this seminar may be of ineterest top many of our readers:

English Literature and Language Seminar Series Arts and Humanities Conference Room
Wednesday May 12

Professor Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex

‘Veerer: Reading Melville's "Bartleby"’

This paper forms part of Professor Royle’s forthcoming book Veering: A Theory of Literature (Edinburgh U.P.), and is focused in some detail on Herman Melville's extraordinary short story ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’. Nicholas Royle is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He was formerly Reader in English Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland (1992-9), and Associate Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Tampere, Finland (1989-92). He has published many essays and is author of numerous books, including: How to Read Shakespeare. London: Granta, 2005, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Third edition. London and New York: Pearson, 2004. Co-author (with Andrew Bennett), Jacques Derrida. London and New York: Routledge, 2003, The Uncanny. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press/Routledge, 2003.

Cyfres Seminar yr Adran Saesneg

Ystafell Gynhadledd y Celfyddydau a'r Dyniaethau
Dydd Mercher 12 Mai

Yr Athro Nicholas Royle, Prifysgol Sussex

'Veerer: Melville Reading "Bartleby"'

Mae'r papur hwn yn deillio o lyfr arfaethedig yr Athro Royle, Veering: A Theory of Literature (Edinburgh UP), ac yn canolbwyntio yn fanwl ar stori fer ryfeddol Herman Melville 'Bartleby the Scrivener'. Mae Nicholas Royle yn Athro Saesneg ym Mhrifysgol Sussex. Yr oedd gynt Ddarllennydd mewn Astudiaethau Saesneg ym Mhrifysgol Stirling, yr Alban (1992-9), ac yn yr Adran Llenyddiaeth Saesneg ac Americanaidd ym Mhrifysgol Tampere, y Ffindir (1989-1992).

Thursday, 29 April 2010

CREW at the AWWE Conference: Report

The intrepid foursome set out from Swansea University on the awfully big adventure of their first taste of the annual Association of Welsh Writing in English conference at Gregynog. MA students Kieron Smith and Ed Spence, together with first year PhD researchers Charlotte Jackson and Liza Penn-Thomas, were heavily reliant upon satnav and a copious supply of Haribo to keep them on course. Braving the winding lanes and suicidal pheasants was well worth it as we drove up the lane to the impressive facade that our venue provided. Yet all of us took very little time to settle in to what could have been an intimidating experience. As Kieron says of the whole atmosphere at the conference, it was “friendly, welcoming and not too forbidding.”
Commencing the official itinerary with the long awaited launch of Slanderous Tongues in many ways set the tone for the days that would follow. Editor Daniel Williams explained that part of the projects initial objectives had been to include the work of the fresh young academics that were coming through into the field of Welsh Writing in English, at the time that the collection of essays was commissioned. As Daniel did point out, most of the contributors (and the editor himself) were by now slowly creeping into middle-age! The encouragement that established academics have so freely given to the newer and younger academics over the years could be seen in the thriving research community present in that room. And all of us CREW first timers were struck by how easy it was to find ourselves in conversation with the leaders in the field.

One such leading figure addressed us on Friday night as Dai Smith delivered the first keynote of the conference. His assertion, as series editor, that the Library of Wales was not a canon formation exercise was not a view with which we necessarily agreed. Though his explanation of the method used in choosing the texts for publication was enlightening and interesting. The following day’s speaker Jane Aaron directly equated the anthologising of writers and their works with a process of canon formation. This was a fascinating and entertaining paper tracking the erratic presence of female writers in the anthologies and compendiums of the last 10 decades. The downturn recorded in the ratio of women represented in the collections, since the 1970’s, was a surprising trend. Jane’s paper proved perhaps that the need for a female only press, as Honno is, still very much exists and, furthermore, that critical studies recognizing the valuable contributions of women to the field of Welsh Writing in English continue to be an essential area for research. This felt very much to me as if the speaker was passing on a baton to the younger generation of academics.

One of the most stimulating speakers came on Saturday. For Kieron the “Aftermath of Bertolt Schoene's paper on cosmopolitanism” was definitely the highlight of the conference. Schoene’s controversial ideas on the globalised future of cultural identity proved a unifying force in itself, as Ed explains “he seemed to unify the room into a canon of not agreeing with him”. Being the last speaker on Saturday evening ensured that the debate continued over dinner and beyond. Although Shoene’s ideas were hotly debated for their extremity, other speakers too challenged the definitions of what should constitute a canon of Welsh Writing in English and the way in which we relate to other canons. I was particularly struck by Kirsti Bohata’s paper which highlighted how texts vigorously engage with other writing genres, her example looking at representations of lesbian desire in Anglo-Welsh literature. On Sunday morning Geraint Evans proposed a whole new field of critical enquiry, under the working title of Cambrian writing, which could take under its wing writing about Wales by non-Welsh writers and in other languages apart from English and Welsh.
Both Charlotte and I found that one of the most useful aspects of the weekend were the discussions that followed our first papers at an AWWE conference. Both in terms of the skills we were given opportunity to exercise and the exchange of ideas and suggestions that help to inform our further research, our session was an uplifting end to an inspiring weekend. We look forward to continuing in Welsh Writing in English with excitement, as there are still so many excellent texts to study and new ways of looking at them to be explored. Most of all, there is a sense of community and co-operation within this field that was fully evident to us at this year’s annual conference. It is not a community in which we all necessarily agree with one another but rather where ideas can be expressed, debated and developed.

By Liza Penn-Thomas
Ably supported by Ed Spence, Kieron Smith and Charlotte Jackson.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Wales Book of the Year 2010 / Llyfr y Flwyddyn 2010

Academi has announced its Longlist for this year’s Welsh Book of the Year and CREW (The Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales) is delighted to see its members and associates represented.

Peter Lord’s The Meaning of Pictures (University of Wales Press). Peter Lord is Research Fellow at CREW, and his The Meaning of Pictures has also been long listed for the prestigious Berger Prize for British Art History 2010.

Jamine Donahaye’s collection of poetry Self-Portrait as Ruth (Salt). Jasmine Donahaye completed her PhD with us, and is a CREW Research Associate.

Emyr Humphreys’s collection of short stories The Woman at the Window (Seren) is the third CREW presence on the list. Emyr Humphreys is one of three honorary patrons of CREW. This volume was assembled by Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Emyr Humphreys Research Chair at CREW.

The CREW presence on this year’s longlist builds on past successes. Profesor Dai Smith’s Raymond Williams: A Warrior’s Tale (Parthian) was Longlisted in 2009, and Daniel Williams’s Ethnicity and Cultural Authority (Edinburgh University Press) was Longlisted in 2007.

Mae sawl cyfrol gan aelodau CREW (Y Ganolfan Ymchwil i Lên ac Iaith Saesneg Cymru) wedi eu cynnwys ar restr hir llyfr y flwyddyn (iaith Saesneg) eleni. Mae cyfrol Peter Lord, The Meaning of Pictures (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru) ar y rhestr, yn ogystol a chyfrol a farddoniaeth Jasmine Donahaye, Self-Portrait as Ruth (Salt). Mae Peter yn Gymrawd Ymchwil yn CREW, ac fe gwblhaodd Jasmine ei doethuraieth ar berthynas y Cymry a’r Iddewon gyda ni. Hefyd ar y rhestr mae cyfrol o storiau byrion gan Emyr Humphreys, The Woman at the Window (Seren). Casglwyd y straeon yma at ei gilydd ar gais Emyr Humphreys gan yr Athro M. Wynn Thomas, deiliad Cadair Emyr Humphreys yn CREW.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Gay Pride and Prejudice Since Devolution

The next seminar in the Richard Burton Centre’s series on ‘The State of the Nation: Ten Years Since Devolution’ will be delivered by author and gay rights activist John Sam Jones.

‘A Welcome in the Hillside? Gay Pride and Prejudice Since Devolution’.

Monday 26 April 4pm
Arts and Humanities Conference Room, James Callaghan Building.

John Sam Jones writes about the lives of gay men in Wales - how they interact with their families, their culture and religious institutions, and how they explore sexuality in situations where prejudice is often all pervasive. He has been politically active with Stonewall for more than a decade and is currently a board member of Stonewall Cymru. He has worked as a hospital and prison chaplain, a public health specialist in sexual health and is currently the Schools Adviser for Personal and Social Education in Denbighshire. He lives with his Civil Partner, two dogs and a cat in a magnificent Victorian villa overlooking the Mawddach estuary.

Parthian Books have published two collections of John’s short stories: Welsh Boys Too (2000), which won an Honour Book Award from the American Library Association in 2002, and Fishboys of Vernazza (2003), which was long listed for Welsh book of the year. The Gay Men’s Press published John’s first novel, With Angels and Furies, in 2005. His semi-autobiographical Crawling Through Thorns was published by Parthian in 2008.

Yr awdur ac ymgyrchydd dros hawliau hoyw, John Sam Jones, fydd yn cyflwyno’r semiar nesaf yng nghyfres ‘Cyflwr y Genedl’. Traddodir y ddarlith yn Saesneg.
Dydd Llun, 26 Ebrill, 4pm
Ystafell Gynadledda, Adeilad James Callagahan
Croeso i bawb!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Slanderous Tongues

“It’s been a long time coming / But Slanderous Tongues is gonna come” this Friday at the Association of Welsh Writing in English Conference in Gregynog. Aretha Franklin could have had this volume in mind when she sang:

“Sometimes I had to cry all night long /
Sometimes I had to give up right / For what I knew was wrong /
Yes it’s been an uphill journey/ It’s sure been a long way comin’”

But the volume, edited by CREW's Daniel Williams, is here now. Published by Seren, Slanderous Tongues is made up of engaging, thematic chapters, exploring the field of Welsh poetry in English since 1970 through the prisms of tradition, nationhood, gender, class, comparative studies (American and Irish), translation, formal experimentation, and ethnicity. It includes essays by Hywel Dix, Jasmine Donahaye, Jo Furber, Tudur Hallam, Matthew Jarvis, Nicholas Jones, Daniel Williams and Nerys Willams.

Professor Helen Vendler of Harvard University had this to say about the volume in her report for Seren press:

“The explosive nature of Welsh literature is present everywhere in Slanderous Tongues, as the authors reflect on the tensions between languages, between cultures, between an ardent nationalism and its isolationist twin, between an inherited tradition and the modern world, between a male canon and female expression, between a local point of view and a global one, between the individual’s right of self-expression and the culture’s critique of that selfhood, and between the avant-garde and poetic convention. The eight essays, each one different in orientation, not only provide recent ways to map the development of modern Welsh poetry in English but also raise - and raise intensely - questions about literary culture in general, applicable to poetries beyond that of Wales. Conscious of scholars in Welsh culture who have preceded them, from Raymond Williams to M. Wynn Thomas, they exemplify a welcome sobriety in their approach to such critical matters as nationalism, bilingual translation, American influence, and the place of immigrants in a literature hitherto composed principally by the Welsh-born. This enlivening collection will alert readers to the ferment of imagination and language generating an array of new voices in Welsh poetry in English.”

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Research Seminar: Alan Rice


Dr Alan Rice

Reader in American Cultural Studies, University of Central Lancashire

“Ghostly Presences and the Histories they Unfold: Utopia and Dystopia in the African Atlantic Vistas of Ellen Gallagher’s Bird in Hand”

4pm Wednesday 3rd March, 2010
KH 216

Abstract: The African Atlantic visual artist Ellen Gallagher has created in her signature canvas Bird in Hand (2006) perhaps the most stunning visual depiction of the black Atlantic to be created since Paul Gilroy’s seminal text. This paper will discuss the way the painting interprets multiple chronologies and geographies as it exhibits historical wounded memory whilst seeking redemption in a futuristic Aquatopia made possible by the imaginative leap of Drexciya. This idea, developed musically in Detroit techno, that the dead babies of pregnant women thrown overboard during the middle passage lived to form new mutant sea creatures that survived to build a new civilization enables Gallagher the imaginative scope to create her visual new world order. The paper explicates the way that whilst talking of this futuristic Utopia, she does not lose sight of the middle passage realities that created it or of the commodification of black bodies that has accompanied diasporan Africans since the ending of the slave trade. Using the works (amongst others) of Edouard Glissant, Marcus Rediker, Ian Baucom, Kobena Mercer and Avery Gordon, this paper explores and explicates the wonders of Gallagher’s Utopian vision created in response to the Dystopian realities of slavery and racism.

Mae’r arlunydd Ellen Gallagher wedi creu yn ei chynfas Bird in Hand (2006) y darluniad gweledol mwyaf syfrdanol, o bosib, o’r 'Atlantig Du' ers cyfrol arloesol Paul Gilroy. Gan ddefnyddio gweithiau Edouard Glissant, Marcus Rediker, Ian Baucom, Kobena Mercer ac Avery Gordon (ymhlith eraill), mae’r papur hwn yn archwilio ac yn egluro rhyfeddodau Iwtopia Gallagher a grëwyd mewn ymateb i wirioneddau Dystopaidd caethwasiaeth a hiliaeth.

Monday, 1 March 2010

White Ravens, Owen Sheers

The first of the New Stories from the Mabinogion series is reviewed on the CREW Reviews website.

"In the first line of the introduction to Seren’s 'New Stories from the Mabinogion', Penny Thomas legitimately suggests that “some stories, it seems, just keep on going.” Although the series editor then goes on to painfully romanticise such stories as being “a whistle in the reeds, a bird’s song in your ear”, the opening eight words of this introduction are enough to suggest why Seren have commissioned this series. There is evidently a market for the modern retelling of ancient myths, as Canongate’s recent sequence has shown, .... " Read more

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Dathlu / Celebrating Fflur Dafydd

Cafodd llwyddiant Dr. Fflur Dafydd yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol y Bala ei ddathlu mewn noson arbennig ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe.

Mae Fflur yn ddarlithydd yn Adran Saesneg y Brifysgol a hi oedd enillydd Gwobr Daniel Owen 2009, am ei nofel Y Llyfrgell. Yn ogystal â bod yn nofelydd ac academydd, mae Fflur Dafydd hefyd yn adnabyddus yng Nghymru fel cantores a chyfansoddwraig.

Yn arwain y teyrngedau roedd yr Is-ganghellor, yr Athro Richard B. Davies, y Dirprwy Is-ganghellor yr Athro Iwan Davies a’r Athro Stevie Davies, Cyfarwyddwr ysgrifennu creadigol yn yr Adran Saesneg. Yn y digwyddiad fe fu Fflur Dafydd hefyd yn darllen rhan o’i nofel fuddugol ac fe fu ’r Athro John Rowlands, un o feirniaid Gwobr Daniel Owen 2009, yn trafod y nofel a’i chyfraniad i lenyddiaeth Gymraeg.

Soniodd yr Athro Rowlands mai dyma oedd un o’r nofelau gorau erioed i ennill Gwobr Daniel Owen a bod Fflur gyda’r awduron mwyaf cyffrous a dawnus yng Nghymru heddiw.
Wrth dalu teyrnged i lwyddiant Fflur fe bwysleisiodd yr Is-ganghellor, yr Athro Richard B. Davies bwysigrwydd rôl y Gymraeg ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe, gan ddweud ei bod yn nodwedd neilltuol o’i delwedd ryngwladol.

Cadeiriwyd y noson gan gyfarwyddwr CREW, Daniel Williams, a cafodd y noson ei chloi gan Dr Tudur Hallam o Adran y Gymraeg a gyfansoddodd gywydd i gyfarch Fflur.

Dr.Fflur Dafydd’s recent success at the National Eisteddfod has been marked in an official celebration at Swansea University.

Fflur Dafydd is a lecturer in the English department and won the Daniel Owen prize 2009, for her novel Y Llyfrgell (The Library). As well as being a writer and academic, Fflur Dafydd is also a well-known in Wales as a singer and song-writer.

The tributes were led by Vice-chancellor, Professor Richard B. Davies, Deputy Vice-chancellor, Professor Iwan Davies and Professor Stevie Davies, director of the creative writing programme in the department of English. At the event Fflur Dafydd read extracts from the winning novel and Prof. John Rowlands, one of the judges of the Daniel Owen prize 2009, discussed the novel and Fflur’s contribution to Welsh literature.

Prof. Rowlands said that the novel has been hailed as one of the best ever to win the Daniel Owen Prize and that Fflur is one of Wales’ most interesting and talented writers.
Paying tribute to Fflur’s success the Vice-chancellor, Professor Richard B. Davies, emphasized the importance of the Welsh language’s role at Swansea University, stressing that the language is a vital and remarkable feature of the University’s international image.

The evening was chaired by Daniel Williams of CREW, and Dr Tudur Hallam from the Welsh department brought proceedings to a fitting end by performing a a “cywydd”(Welsh strict metre poem) especially composed for Fflur.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

CREW Seminar: Ian Gregson

Professor Ian Gregson (Prifysgol Bangor University):

‘Writing the Poetic Sequence

Ystafell / Room 216, Adeilad Keir Hardie Building

Dydd Mercher / Wednesday 17th February, 4.00 pm

Ian will be speaking as a practitioner as well as an academic. Ian is a poet and a lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Bangor. He lectures on 19th and 20th Century Poetry, American Literature, Contemporary Literature, The Short Story and Creative Writing. In 1981 he received a Gregory Award for his poetry, which has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, and the London Review of Books amongst others. He has also reviewed poetry for a wide range of journals.

Croeso i bawb! / All welcome!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

AWWE Annual Conference 2010

CREW's Dai Smith is among the keynote speakers at this year's annual AWWE conference.

Canons and Canon-Building: Framing the Literatures of Wales

26th-28th March 2010, Gregynog Hall

Do we need a canon of Welsh writing in English? What might be at stake in the choices made during the establishment of such a canon? The business, meanings and politics of post-devolution canon-formation will be the focus of the 22nd annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English at Gregynog Hall in Powys, Wales, UK from March 26–28, 2010.

This conference will examine the question of canonicity and its complex connections with issues of nationality, gender, class, race and sexuality in a Welsh context. The establishment of Welsh writing in English as an area of serious literary critical study, itself barely a generation old, has coincided with the recovery of other bodies of neglected writing by marginalised writers. Such recovery work, however, has involved the radical questioning of literary value judgements and the recognition of the social, economic, political and cultural influences which make any canon a fabricated construct.

Now just over a decade after Welsh devolution, the republication of out-of-print texts can still be seen as a political necessity in making available a literary heritage which has been neglected and forgotten and which contributes to a sense of national identity. Such republication offers exciting possibilities to literary criticism. But who should be included and on what grounds? What are the risks and tensions involved in the enterprise of canon-building and how might we negotiate them?

Click here for further details.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Research Seminar with CREW PhD students

The first of this term’s CREW research seminars takes place on Wednesday, January 27th at 4pm in Kier Hardie Room 216.

Gareth Evans
'Always observant and slightly obscure': Lynette Roberts and ethnographic practise

Sarah Morse
"But Aberfan Was Different": Reading Ron Berry's Flame and Slag as a a reaction to the Aberfan disaster'.

Appointment of Professor Patrick McGuinness as Honorary Professor.

CREW is delighted to be able to report that the University of Swansea has confirmed the attachment of Patrick McGuinness to the Centre as Honorary Professor.

Patrick is Professor of French at Oxford (St Ann’s College), and is an internationally renowned specialist in French modernist culture and literature, as well as in the poetry of the French Symbolists. However, he also has a deep and longstanding personal interest in the English-language literature of Wales, and has recently established a reputation as one of the leading scholars of the poetry of the remarkable Welsh Argentinean late modernist writer Lynette Roberts. Patrick has edited both her poetry and her journals, and recently co-organized (with CREW) a highly successful conference at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, to celebrate the centenary of her birth.

Patrick is also an award-winning poet, whose first collection was nominated in Wales for the Roland Mathias Prize.

He has enjoyed a very fruitful informal working relationship with CREW over the past few years. The new formal relationship enabled by his appointment as Honorary Professor should allow Patrick’s valuable collaboration with CREW to develop in very interesting and rewarding ways.

Friday, 22 January 2010

CREW Christmas Do

To celebrate the end of term - and Christmas - the CREW postgraduates decided to have a refined office party. The catering skills of the students were exploited to provide enough food to keep us happy for a few days (dipslacement activity is a wonderful thing) and the wine, quotation board, Spotify, Gareth and Daniel kept us entertained.

The board offered a pin-the-tale-on -the-donkey style game as people tried to identify the origins of the quotations, and some of the guests uncannily managed to guess their own, obtuse, utterances.

We also managed to set up a live-satellite link to Cimla,to talk to Rhian who was confined with Swine Flu, who enlightened us with her usual brilliant observations.
Needless to say, it was the 4 occupants of the CREW postgrad office who were the last to leave that evening.
[More pictures to follow]