Essays

Memoir of Dylan Thomas (Issue: 114)

 (c) Hughes EstateI met Dylan first when I was asked to look after his wife who was expecting her first baby – they had just come to Laugharne from the Chelsea set in London & it must have been about 1937–1938 – from conversation with her, a flashingly attractive Titian-blonde who obviously had led a rather fast life, & meeting him – the two did not seem to add up –
They lived in a big rambling 3 storied house – unfurnished except for a large wooden double bed – in a room on the ground floor – & a living room which was conspicuous in the absence of any conventional furniture – the predominant furnishings were large packing cases which served as tables or chairs, & the biggest was Dylan’s desk on which was a beer bottle with a half burned candle – & scattered manuscripts which spilled onto the floor & spread themselves higgledy piggledy all around.
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The Poet, The GP, The Publican and a Pig Named Wallis (Issue: 114)

'It is in the nature of Dylan Thomas that even at this late date, he is still capable of springing surprises on us. The centenary of his birth, 2014, saw the discovery of a hitherto unknown fifth notebook, containing handwritten poems from 1934–1935, which was auctioned at Sotheby’s.'

So writes Adrian Osborne, in a fascinating look at the recently unearthed 'fifth' notebook of Dylan Thomas.
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One Foot in the Water (Issue: 114)

Kieron Smith explores the spiritual and political aspects of islands in the novels of Tristan Hughes & Fflur Dafydd
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My Artemis, My Ephesus (Issue: 114)

In our Turkish years, when the sun shone on history changing before our eyes, we used to scuba dive at Pamucak Bay, seaward of the ruins of Ephesus. I knelt on the silt sands at the bottom, thirty metres down, when I took my deep diving exams. The sediment was cold under my knees: it puffed like the last breath of civilisations, and drifted into the dark. That mud, washed down by the rivers, the building blocks of the wetlands, the slow accumulation, it cut Ephesus off from the sea and sent it to sleep in history. The mud stretched out before me, in the dim dark of depth, cloaked the many sins of these troubled seas.
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The Price of Butter (Issue: 113)

Liz Jones on losing her home town of Merthyr, post Brexit
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The Ape on the Rock (Issue: 113)

As a PhD researcher at Aberystwyth University, Kirsty Sedgman has studied audiences’ responses to National Theatre Wales’s productions and published her findings in Locating the Audience.

In her latest essay Kirsty expands on her findings and
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Looking for Dorothy Edwards (Issue: 113)

Steven Lovatt visits Rhiwbina in an attempt to explain themes of detachment and unreality in the author’s work
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The Accidental Thread (Issue: 113)

In writing, as with any creative activity, there will always be a gap between what you intended to produce and the final result.
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Power in the Land? (Issue: 111)

Philippa Holloway’s essay ‘Power in the Land’ is part of a group of writers' responses to the X-10: power in the land art collaboration that is examining the impact of the dismantlement of the Wylfa nuclear power station on the community of Angles
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Words Without Music (Issue: 111)

Rock music has long attracted gifted writers, from Mort Shuman (Brel translator and songsmith for Elvis) to Morrissey (pop’s finest poet, prose’s oddest proposal) to Gruff Rhys, whose American Interior project segued ambitiously from printed travelogu
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Violence and Transformation in Pascale Petit's Poetry (Issue: 110)

Violence in the forms of childhood rape and sexual abuse are powerful themes in Pascale Petit’s poetry.
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Bigotry and Virtue: George Powell and the Question of Legacy (Issue: 110)

When the collector, George Ernest John Powell (1842–82), decided to bequeath his artworks, books, antiquities and curios to what was then the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth
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On Writing Pigeon (Issue: 110)

When I think of my novel with his name, I cower. It’s been a painful process. Pigeon was born of the conflict between the language of my pen and its subject
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Fury Never Leaves Us (Issue: 109)

Huw Lawrence looks at veracity and false ‘ethnicity’ in Caradoc Evans’ My People on the centenary of its publication
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One Hundred Percent a Welsh Nationalist (Issue: 109)

One Hundred Percent Welsh Nationalist, Oliver Bevington on David Jones
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The Dent on Private Murphy’s Forehead (Issue: 109)

This memoir explores fantasy, lies and amnesia in the lives of a father and son
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Blurred Boundaries (Issue: 108)

Highly commended in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment.
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Waves on the Hydrocarbon Seas of Titan (Issue: 108)

Runner-up in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment.
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Energy Crisis: A Memoir of Summer (Issue: 108)

Highly commended in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment.
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Heligoland: An Ecology of Exile (Issue: 108)

Second place in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment.
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Banjur Dalung (Issue: 108)

Highly commended in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment
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Scenes from a Hokkaidan Life (Issue: 108)

Winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015, WWF Prize for Writing on Nature and the Environment
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The Financial Lives of the Poets (Issue: 107)

Ben Skelton on poetry and economics.
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The Girl in Red Boots (Issue: 107)

Jo Mazelis' autobiographical account of her close shave with the local paedophile.
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A Borders Bestiary (Issue: 106)

Nicholas Murray on Landscape, Wildlife and Literature in Old Radnorshire.
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An Ugly, Lovely Year (Issue: 106)

Chris Moss on Literary Tourism and the Dylan Thomas Centenary.
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A Summer Corridor (Issue: 106)

Jim Pratt on the year Nancy Whistler and her sister Peggy (Margiad Evans) spent on the River Wye.
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Coastwalkers & Curious Travellers (Issue: 106)

I’ve just read Peter Finch’s Edging the Estuary (2013), not in one go, but, much like the author, in stops and starts, picking up the trail where I’d left off.
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The Phenomenon of the Rain (Issue: 105)

Francesca Rhydderch profiles Korean author Lee Seung-U.
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A Minor Incident on the Way to Buy Toothpaste (Issue: 105)

In the UK, two to three people become paralysed as a result of a spinal cord injury, every single day.
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What Rhymes with Yonkers (Issue: 104)

From the Hills Rebounding, with Lloyd Robson in NYC
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'The White Negro'? (Issue: 104)

Daniel G Williams on Dylan Thomas and the Beats
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'You're Awfully Unorthodox, David' (Issue: 104)

Jasmine Hunter-Evans uncovers Saunders Lewis' lost 1965 film interview with David Jones, 'David Jones: Writer and Painter', which is introduced by Peter Levi.
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Truth and Reconciliation in Burma (Issue: 104)

Twenty-six years ago the Burmese people rose up against their military government. The unarmed demonstrators were cut down, leaving more than 5000 dead.
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Fetch the Critic (Issue: 103)

Kevin Mills makes a creative-critical approach to the poets Ciaran Carson and Christine Evans.
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Molly Drake: How Wild The Wind Blows (Issue: 103)

Charlotte Greig on how the songs of Molly Drake, Nick Drake's mother, brought home her own colonial heritage.
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My Year as an Island (Issue: 103)

John Harrison on surviving throat cancer
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Stand Up, John Rowlands (Issue: 102)

John Barnie on the Welshness of Henry Morton Stanley
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Dark Mermaids (Issue: 102)

We drove past trees to a running track, turned the corner onto the small road that led from one end of the complex to the forest, and waved at a giant of a man in small shorts, who stood, one hand on a pink buggy, the other firmly round his wife’s waist
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Burning Issues: Shetland's Up Helly Aa (Issue: 102)

Shetlanders have had a thing for fire since the 1840s, when the burning of barrels marked the end of Yuletide.
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Bradley Manning and the Life of Brians (Issue: 102)

Pull the camera back. See the brown slick of the river sliding lazily towards the North Sea, the blasted landscape of its Gateshead banks colonised by untidy clusters of car-repair businesses and breakers’ yards...
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Rough Tumbles & Cracked Crowns (Issue: 101)

Kirsti Bohata compares Amy Dillwyn's novel, Jill (1884) with Sarah Water's 1870s-set novel, Affinity
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A Turbulent Priest (Issue: 101)

M Wynn Thomas on RS THomas and the Chuch in Wales
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Four Days in September (Issue: 101)

Memoir by Lloyd Jones in response to The Autiobiography of a Supertramp, WH Davies.
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The Manufactured Coast-scape in Wales (Issue: 100)

Our natural coastline as you've never seen it before: industrial, seen by night, and artificially lit. Roger Tiley's photo-essay reveals his ACW Creative Wales-funded major project.
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Brief as Photos (Issue: 100)

Penny Simpson on the photography of Vivian Maier and Diane Arbus
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Don't Look Back in Anger (Issue: 100)

Julia Forster discovers absence at the heart of six memoirs
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The Nightingale Silenced (Issue: 99)

Margiad Evans' manuscript reveals the 'self-disaster' of her epilepsy
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The Other Wales (Issue: 99)

The warped and wonderful image of fantasy Wales in popular culture
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Alright, Cocker? (Issue: 99)

Rachel Trezise asks when lyrics make poetry
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Spitsbergen (Issue: 99)

The third in John Harrison's series, Islands on the Edge
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Lying Turks and the Pure Tongue of Eden (Issue: 98)

On Wales and the Middle East
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Along the Unthank Road (Issue: 98)

The eerie fiction of Oliver Onions.
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Storms (Issue: 98)

Jay Griffiths experiences the tempest first hand.
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Castro’s Capitol (Issue: 98)

In Havana
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On Atheism and Character (Issue: 98)

Religion itself may be a game of this sort, with God as an imagined
character, a vital illusion.
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Brenda Chamberlain’s The Protagonists (Issue: 97)

On the work of Brenda Chamberlain.
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In Instanbul & Kerala (Issue: 97)

Feasts in Istanbul and Kerala.
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In Cartagena (Issue: 97)

Hay International Writing Fellow reports from Columbia.
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And the Talk Slid North.... (Issue: 97)

I’m in Iceland, at the start of a three-month journey in the footsteps of an eleventh-century Norsewoman called Gudrid.
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Islands on the Edge: Orkney (Issue: 97)

Notes from Orkney
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A Radical English Identity? (Issue: 97)

On the quest for a radical English identity.
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Of Dinosaurs and Theoretical Corsetry (Issue: 96)

Richard Poole on literary criticism in Wales.
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Skipping to the Apocalypse (Issue: 96)

Sarah Howe on three young US women poets.
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Islands on the Edge: St Kilda (Issue: 96)

The name is a puzzle. There was no St Kilda, not even an obscure saint from the roster of dubious Celtic legends.
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On Occupy USA (Issue: 96)

The American Anti-Capitalist Movement
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John Ormond: Poetry, Broadcasting and Film (Issue: 95)

Kieron Smith hails Wales' film-poet
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The Elvis Festival (Issue: 95)

Robert Minhinnick visits The King in Porthcawl
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On Football: One Team in Wales (Issue: 95)

The beautiful game?
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Slate Country Fictions (Issue: 94)

Three 'outsider' novels
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On Reconsidering Derek Walcott's Sea Grapes (Issue: r16)

On the death of Derek Walcott, Robert Minhinnick writes that the poet liberated him to mythologise the things we value that are closest to us
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Dark Formula: Why Reckless Travel Writing Matters (Issue: r14)

Timothy L Marsh examines how honest travel writing truly is, why that’s important, and how his passion for travel writing stems from a ‘hefty cynicism’ towards the industry itself
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Slender Underpinnings, Welsh photopoetry and the collaborative imagination (Issue: r2)

Michael Nott, writing on Welsh photopoetry and the collaborative imagination, explores subjects of landscape, politics, memorialisation and ethnography
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