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Bondo is Menna Elfyn's latest collection in Welsh and English. Her title means eaves in Welsh, referring to poems about getting close to language as sanctuary. Other poems were written episodically over a number of years. These meditative poems began simply as a personal engagement with the grief of Aberfan, expressing solidarity with a nation's wound. Bondo is also the voice which echoes the role of the Welsh bard as remembrancer. Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe's leading poets. Like her previous Bloodaxe titles, Bondo is a bilingual Welsh-English edition. Again, the facing English translations are by leading Welsh poets, in this case Elin ap Hywel, Gillian Clarke, Damian Walford Davies and Robert Minhinnick. It is her first new book since Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems / Perffaith Nam: Dau Ddetholiad & Cherddi Newydd 1995-2007 and the later collection Murmur (2012), a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation.
Drawn from International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong 2013, A Door in Epynt is a chapbook of poetry by Menna Elfyn presented in Welsh, English, and Chinese. A Door in Epynt is also available, along with the chapbooks of other internationally renowned poets, in Islands or Continents (Eighteen-volume Set). Selected poems from this volume are featured in the anthology Islands or Continents: International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong 2013.
Menna Elfyn's collection Murmur is full of murmurings - in English and Welsh - such as the need 'to walk the earth as if there's a baby sleeping next door'. Murmur is a poetry of meditation, from the reverberations of dead poets to murmurs of the heart which force the poet to dwell on the irregular beat of the poet's lot. Distant sounds too are heard from captivity in a sequence of poems about the last princess of Wales, Catrin Glyndwr, daughter of Owain Glyndwr, who was incarcerated with her children in the Tower of London for over two years until their mysterious death. Fittingly enough, mur-mur in Welsh also means wall-wall , so the book's leitmotif is one that stresses the distance between words and worlds - and the way poetry is a language beyond language which we can sometimes only grasp through sound. Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe's leading poets. Murmur is her first new book since Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems / Perffaith Nam: Dau Ddetholiad & Cherddi Newydd 1995-2007 , and includes translations of poems by Welsh folk hero and poet of peace Waldo Williams (1901-71) which challenge the notion of the Celtic melancholy and testify to a 'hesitant hope'. Her own poems have facing English translations by leading Welsh poets: Elin ap Hywel, Joseph Clancy, Gillian Clarke, Damian Walford Davies and Paul Henry.
Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe's leading poets. This bilingual edition of her later poetry includes work from Cell Angel (1996) and Blind Man's Kiss/Cusan Dyn Dall (2001), as well as the first English translations of Perffaith Nam (2005) and a selection of new poems. 'These poems engage as deeply as ever with Menna Elfyn's treasured themes of possession and dispossession, the terrible vulnerability of those things which are precious and her joyously affirmative, inclusive views on how they may be protected. Her characteristic concern for humanity everywhere and her loving but uncompromising view of the conundrums of women's lives are framed here in a more reflective vein, but with her characteristic humour and sideways wit. She is a witty, gentle, compassionate gatekeeper between Wales and the wider world, her work as a poet constantly explaining, excusing and extolling each to the other' - Elin ap Hywel. 'Menna Elfyn is the firebird of the Welsh language, bright, indomitably modern and as indestructible as the phoenix. She gives hope to all writers in lesser spoken languages that great things can rise from the ashes' - Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. 'Elfyn is a poet of healing...both compassionate and celebratory. Like a soul doctor she questions and probes, like St Teresa she endures the darkness, but in the end she sings a song which affirms that flawed humanity is indeed perfectible' - Katie Gramich, Planet.
Welsh is the oldest surviving Celtic language, and the most flourishing. For around fifteen centuries Welsh poets have expressed an intense awareness of what it is like to be human in this part of the world in poems of extraordinary range and depth. And despite the global tendency towards homogenisation, Welsh poets have fought back, drawing inspiration from both the traditional and the contemporary to forge a new and rainbow-like modernism. This wide-ranging anthology of 20th-century Welsh-language poetry in English translation - by far the most comprehensive of its kind - will be a revelation for most readers. It will dispel the romantic images of Welsh poets as bards or druids and blow away any preconceived mists of Celtic twilight. This poetry is full of vitality, combining old craftsmanship and daring innovation, humour and angst, the oral and the literary. The selection brings together poets of every hue: from magisterial figures like T Gwynn Jones, R Williams Parry and Saunders Lewis to folk poets such as Alun Cilie and Dic Jones; from cerebral poets Pennar Davies and Bobi Jones to popular entertainers Geraint Lovgreen and Ifor ap Glyn. There are Chaplinesque poets, rebellious and subversive ones, lyrical voices and storytellers. The variety is enormous: from Welsh performance poetry to song lyrics; from the wry social comment of Grahame Davies to the contemporary parables of Gwyneth Lewis, who writes different kinds of poems in Welsh and English. This exuberant chorus of voices from the margins of Europe proves that poetry in this minority language is far from stagnant. Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation.