Essays

The Buddha and the Pear (Issue: 119)

Sometimes we pay too much attention, sometimes not enough. I’d taken the long route home again, back down Penglais hill from the library, not out of curiosity. I was stalling, which I had been doing every day for over a week, since the raid in the flat upstairs. I’d become a bit nervy after that Thursday night, a bit sullied, wondering why people, like the woman in the white baseball cap over there with the bronze foundation, were looking at me, their eyes squinting in judgement, observing me too closely.
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Introduction to Sarah Beryl Jones (Issue: 119)

Sarah Beryl Jones was born on 8 April 1900 in Pontypridd and raised in Resolven, where her father was a mining engineer. She attended Howell’s School for Girls before gaining a BA in Latin and Philosophy and an MA in Philosophy at Cardiff University in the mid 1920s. A DPhil at Oxford was abandoned in 1927, in part due to her frustration with the political climate of the time. Instead, she took up a teaching post in Keighley Girls’ Grammar School, Yorkshire, an area where she remained until her death in 1996.
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University Connections and Professional Lives (Issue: 119)

In 2015, we fortuitously presented papers on the same panel at the inaugural Modernist Network Cymru (MONC) conference, bringing together the work of Kathleen Freeman (1897–1959), lecturer in Greek (from 1919 to 1946) at what is now Cardiff University and her better known former student, Dorothy Edwards (1902–34).
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On Building (Issue: 119)

We like to think that we make buildings, but, in truth, buildings make us. Our selves are controlled, conditioned, formed and performed by the built environment in which they play out. Identity is not a stable commodity. It is a quicksilver material that is remade every time we reflect on ourselves, or glance at a mirror, or catch an inscrutable emotion flash across the eyes of another as they gaze at us.
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Swimming Women (Issue: 119)

Wild swimming is the most free I can imagine being right now, for a brief time between chores, my phone left on the shore, my toddler in someone else’s care. A recent swimming multimedia exhibition, Swimming, at Aberystwyth Arts Centre called to me like a siren’s song. The artists were all women, and their artwork invited me to submerge my mind with them, in wild, cold Welsh water. They are not alone in feeling the joy; wild swimming is hot right now. What can we take from their work? Is it significant that they are all women?
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That Further Shore (Issue: 118)

Highly commended essay collection by Kerri ní Dochartaigh in the New Welsh Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.
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What Grandfather's Secretly Want: In the Shadow of the Mines (Issue: 118)

Highly commended essay collection by Bridget Blankley in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.
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On The Endurance of Art (Issue: 118)

Highly Commended Entry in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection
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Darkness and Light: Liverpool Imagined (Issue: 118)

Runner-up essay collection by Nicholas Murray in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.
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Cave Art of the Anthropocene (Issue: 118)

Runner-up essay collection by Alex Diggins in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.
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They Can Be Heard (Issue: 118)

From the winning essay collection of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.
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All Life is Here (Issue: 117)

How a Fez found in the attic revealed the story of the Withers Brothers and their impact on Valleys cinema.
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Effortless Poetry of the Toddler (Issue: 117)

Hannah Engelkamp on maternal ambivalence and the natural world.
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The Eider Duck's Mating Call (Issue: 117)

A reflection on the agitation of modern life through a musical journey to Scotland. Jane Macnamee's nature diaries reveal when transience must be embraced.
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Everywhere to Everywhere: Edward Thomas, George Borrow and the Open Road (Issue: 116)

An essay by Jem Poster on Edward Thomas and George Borrow
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Quo Vadis? And Why, Exactly? (Issue: 115)

Holidays have their origins in sacred sojourns. Chris Moss finds spiritual guidance in a
suitcase-full of travel-oriented new releases from Welsh authors.
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Memoir of Dylan Thomas (Issue: 114)

I met Dylan first when I was asked to look after his wife who was expecting her first baby
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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.
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One Foot in the Water (Issue: 114)

Islands enjoy a prominent place in the Welsh imagination, so much so that we might call Wales an ‘islophiliac’ nation (Pete Hay).
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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.
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The Ape on the Rock (Issue: 113)

In taxis and nightclubs. On railway bridges and in libraries.
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Looking for Dorothy Edwards (Issue: 113)

It’s essential to the narrative microclimates of Dorothy Edwards’ stories that nothing very much seems to take place in them, but if the phrase ‘to take place’ were interpreted literally, then it might also signi- fy – in the horticultural sense
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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)

There is a choice of two bridges to access Ynys Môn: Telford’s suspension bridge, which provided the first road access, or the later, starker structure of the Britannia Bridge, whose square for- tifications provide a quicker route over the Straits for
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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)

Critics of confessional poetry oscillate between celebrating representations of private pain as long-needed and redemptive for society and denigrating or chastising poets who suffered (or cause their readers to suffer) too much....
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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, he wrote to Principal Thomas Charles Edwards saying that it was all
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On Writing Pigeon (Issue: 110)

‘Look up pigeon in your good field guide, if you have one,’ says Simon Barnes in The Bad Birdwatcher’s Companion. ‘You will probably find that the pigeon does not exist.’
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Fury Never Leaves Us (Issue: 109)

We are one hundred years on from the publication of Caradoc Evans’ short story collection, My People, a book carrying the status of being the opening chapter in the tradition now known as Welsh Writing in English.
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One Hundred Percent a Welsh Nationalist (Issue: 109)

Despite his self-confessed ‘remoteness from politics’, David Jones was, in fact, an ardent Welsh nationalist, albeit an unconventional one, as his life, letters and specifically his poem ‘The Sleeping Lord’ reveal.
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The Dent on Private Murphy’s Forehead (Issue: 109)

Although Eddie Murphy didn’t earn his high school equivalency diploma until he was in his fifties, he always loved to read. Not just the New York Times which he ripped through every day for most of his adult life, but books, good books, books by Ellison
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Blurred Boundaries (Issue: 108)

Montello Priory
Sixty years ago, when my mother, father and I first went to live with Grandma, Montello Priory was a fortress: such a square, solid yet romantic edifice.
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Waves on the Hydrocarbon Seas of Titan (Issue: 108)

7.35 am I sit, watching and waiting with Ed. A comfortable silence. The mind enters a comfortable state of relaxed concentration while watching the horizon for waves.
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Energy Crisis: A Memoir of Summer (Issue: 108)

Solar Power

Summer starts with dandelions.
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Scenes from a Hokkaidan Life (Issue: 108)

1. Mountain

The way of the valley is an immense tongue; the form of the mountain is a body most pure. Master Rujing
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The Phenomenon of the Rain (Issue: 105)

Born in 1959, Lee Seung-U is a leading novelist of Korea. Throughout his career, Lee has meticulously explored the philosophical dimension of human existence.
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A Minor Incident on the Way to Buy Toothpaste (Issue: 105)

The teenage years were over, both sons were safely ensconced at St Andrew’s University and they were happy and healthy. I had untied my apron strings and relaxed my guard.
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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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The Story of Books (Issue: r13)

Wales will soon have a working museum of printing presses, bookbinding, publishing and writing. Chris Moss reports on the latest chapter in Hay-on-Wye’s book story
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