Critical Commentary

This list brings together items of criticism and commentary which variously address: the contours of the post-1997 field of Welsh poetry in English as a whole; or some distinct section of it/issue relevant to it; or the potential links between post-1997 poetic/literary life and the issue of devolution in Wales; or work which puts post-1997 Welsh poetry in English into larger British or international contexts. Some material which engages with Welsh poetry in English in the context of the 1979 referendum is also included for the purposes of historical perspective, as is some material which deals with the period immediately running up to 1997.

It should be noted that not all of the items in this list have the above issues as their main points of focus: many of the works cited are more wide-ranging, and deal only with post-1997 issues in small part. Nonetheless, even passing engagements are important in establishing the current state of critical debate on issues surrounding the literary life in which post-1997 Anglophone Welsh poetry plays its part.

Please note that this particular listing is not an attempt to produce bibliographies of criticism relating to individual writers. It is also inevitably provisional, and we particularly welcome suggestions of additions that provide insight into the issues with which it is concerned. If you wish to suggest additions, please get in touch with the team using the contact details on the right-hand side of the page.

Note: this page was last updated with new material on 14 May 2013.

Aaron, Jane, ‘Towards devolution: new Welsh writing’, in Laura Marcus and Peter Nicholls, eds, The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 685-99

— and M. Wynn Thomas, ‘“Pulling you through changes”: Welsh writing in English before, between and after two referenda’, in M. Wynn Thomas, ed., Welsh Writing in English, A Guide to Welsh Literature, VII (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003), pp. 278-309

Academi Gymreig/Welsh Academy, ‘The New Rush’, in Annual Report 07/08 (Cardiff: Academi, [2008]), p. 5

Archard, Cary, ‘Poetry Wales at 40: Cary Archard interviewed by Robert Minhinnick’, Poetry Wales, 40/2 (Autumn 2004), pp. 4-8

Bohata, Kirsti, ‘Welsh Fiction in English: 1979, 1997 and After’, in Peter Boxall and Bryan Cheyette, eds, The Oxford History of the Novel in English: British and Irish Fiction, 1940-2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), forthcoming

Conran, Tony, ‘The referendum and the poetry of Jon Dressel’, in Tony Conran, Frontiers in Anglo-Welsh Poetry (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), pp. 159-64 [The referendum here is 1979]

Davies, Diane, ‘Towards Devolution: Poetry and Anglo-Welsh Identity’, in Keith Cameron, ed., National Identity (Exeter: Intellect, 1999), pp. 19-30

Davies, Lyndon, Untitled letter, Poetry Wales, 35/3 (January 2000), pp. 59-60

Donahaye, Jasmine, ‘Identification, rejection and cultural co-option in Welsh poetry in English’, in Daniel G. Williams, ed., Slanderous Tongues: Essays on Welsh Poetry in English 1970-2005 (Bridgend: Seren, 2010), pp. 226-46

Duncan, Andrew, The Failure of Conservatism in Modern British Poetry (Cambridge: Salt, 2003), pp. 252-4 [A section on poetry of the 1980s and 1990s, most interesting for its brief assessment of the impact of 1979 on what it calls ‘Anglo-Welsh’ poetry: p. 253.]

Elis-Thomas, Dafydd, ‘Preface’, in Meic Stephens, ed., Poetry 1900-2000 (Cardigan: Parthian, 2007), pp. i-iv

Evans, P. C., ‘The view from Amsterdam’, Poetry Wales, 36/3 (January 2001), 60-3

Finch, Peter, ‘An introduction by the guest editor of Slope #8’, Slope, 8 (January-February 2001), <>

— and Nerys Williams, ‘Nerys Williams interviews Peter Finch’, Poetry Wales, 40/4 (Spring 2005), pp. 20-4

Gramich, Katie, Twentieth Century Women’s Writing in Wales: Land, Gender, Belonging (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007) [Especially pp. 183-96]

Gray, Kathryn, ‘Wales and the next generation’, New Welsh Review, 67 (2005), pp. 4-10

—, ‘What kind of day has it been?’, New Welsh Review, 87 (2010), pp. 4-5

Gregson, Ian, The New Poetry in Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007)

—, ‘The new women’s poetry in Wales’, Agenda, online supplement to 44/2-3 (2009), <>

Jarvis, Matthew, ‘Divergent paths: poetic divisions in the 1990s’, Poetry Wales, 45/1 (summer 2009), pp. 29-36

—, ‘Repositioning Wales: poetry after the Second Flowering’, in Daniel G. Williams, ed., Slanderous Tongues: Essays on Welsh Poetry in English 1970-2005 (Bridgend: Seren, 2010), pp. 21-59

Kennedy, David, Review of Oxygen: New Poets from Wales/Beirdd Newydd o Gymru, Poetry Wales, 36/2, pp. 61-4

Knight, Stephen, ‘The best poetry column in the world…ever’, Poetry Wales, 34/1 (July 1998), pp. 38-43

McElroy, Ruth, ‘Cymraes oddi cartref?: Welsh women writing home and migration’, Welsh Writing in English: A Yearbook of Critical Essays, 3 (1997), pp. 134-56 [The relevance here is for ‘1970s devolution debates’ (p. 152)]

Milne, W. S., ‘Omnium Gatherum of Welsh Books’, Agenda, Welsh Issue: Carpenters of Song, 44/2-3 (Spring 2009), pp. 133-49

Minhinnick, Robert, ‘A country that said yes’, Poetry Wales, 33/2 (October 1997), p. 2

—, ‘The road ahead’, Poetry Wales, 33/3 (January 1998), pp. 2-3

—, ‘Out of the silence?’, Poetry Wales, 34/1 (July 1998), p. 2

—, ‘Poetry? Get a life’, Poetry Wales, 34/1 (July 1998), p. 72

—, ‘The empty embassy’, Poetry Wales, 34/4 (April 1999), p. 2

—, ‘You say you want a revolution?’, Poetry Wales, 35/1 (July 1999), p. 2

—, ‘Militant millennial musing’, Poetry Wales, 35/2 (October 1999), p. 2

—, ‘The eighteen pillars’, Poetry Wales, 35/4 (April 2000), p. 2

—, ‘Killing the cool: the outlook from Piemonte’, Poetry Wales, 36/1, pp. 2-4

—, ‘The outlook from the Latin quarter’, Poetry Wales, 36/2 (October 2000), p. 2

—, ‘Under a red sky: the outlook from Vertalershuis’, Poetry Wales, 36/4 (April 2011), pp. 2-4

—, ‘Last tango in Cardiff Bay: the outlook from the Bairro Alto’, Poetry Wales, 37/2 (Autumn 2001), p. 72

—, ‘Kulture by the kilo: the outlook from La Tentation’, Poetry Wales, 37/4 (Spring 2002), pp. 2-3

—, ‘Poetry Wales at 40: an editor’s outlook’, Poetry Wales, 40/3 (Winter 2004/5), pp. 2-4

—, ‘The Mattock’, Poetry Wales, 41/1 (Summer 2005), pp. 2-3

—, ‘The Castle’, Poetry Wales, 41/3 (Autumn 2005), pp., 2-3

Phelps, Catherine, ‘Minstrelsy in Malcolm Pryce’s Aberystwyth Mon Amour’, Almanac: Yearbook of Welsh writing in English, 15 (2010-11), pp. 47-69

Pikoulis, John, ‘“Some kind o’ beginnin’”: Mike Jenkins and the voices of Cwmtaff’, Welsh Writing in English: A Yearbook of Critical Essays, 10 (2005), pp. 121-43

Reynolds, S. Rhian, ‘English-language poetry from Wales’, in Ray Keenoy, S. Rhian Reynolds, and Sioned Puw Rowlands, The Babel Guide to Welsh Fiction (Oxford: Boulevard, 2009), pp. 149-55

Rhydderch, Francesca, ‘“A home where they had never lived”: the learning of identity’, Poetry Wales, 33/3 (January 1998), pp. 52-5

—, ‘“Between my tongue’s borders”: contemporary Welsh women’s poetry’, Poetry Wales, 33/4 (April 1998), 39-44

Rowlands, Sioned Puw, ‘Culture, power and the “new Wales”’, Poetry Wales, 34/3 (January 1999), pp. 39-42

—, ‘Towards a minor literature?’, Poetry Wales, 34/4, pp. 54-7

Schwenk, Norman, Untitled letter, Poetry Wales, 34/3 (January 1999), pp. 46-7

Thomas, M. Wynn, ‘Prints of Wales: Contemporary Welsh Poetry in English’, in Hans-Werner Ludwig and Lothar Fietz, eds., Poetry in the British Isles: Non-Metropolitan Perspectives (Cardiff: UWP, 1995), pp. 97-114. [Most pertinent, perhaps, for Section 7, in which the analysis of the situation c. 1995 seems to cross over strikingly with the terms of political science debates about Wales post-1997.]

Thomas, Ned, ‘Parallels and paradigms’, in M. Wynn Thomas, ed., Welsh Writing in English, A Guide to Welsh Literature, VII (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003), pp. 310-26

Wack, Amy, ‘A laureate for Wales?’, Poetry Wales, 35/2 (October 1999), pp. 49-50

Williams, Daniel G., ed., Slanderous Tongues: Essays on Welsh Poetry in English 1970-2005 (Bridgend: Seren, 2010)

Williams, Frances, ‘The end in Brigend’, Poetry Wales, 37/2 (Autumn 2001), pp. 46-8