poet laureate

‘Welsh’ Poet Laureate

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I know, it’s the biggest joke in literature and not really worthy of anyone’s attention but I thought it might be a laugh to post a few of this guy’s poems here, so we could all make up our mind just how good, bad or ugly the country’s latest public face of the Taffia is…

Ah, then I encountered a slight problem. The TV presenter someone chose is not only completely unheard of, has only produced a handful of Welsh language poetry books but doesn’t actually produce anything in English. Mmm? Strange then that the language of 80% of the population should be neglected in favour of this ‘bard’. So much for democracy and appealing to the masses. Who actually voted for this bloke? Who choose him? Was it a public vote I wonder? I’d have chosen Rhod Gilbert myself.

Anyway, I shouldn’t be too negative, I’m sure he’ll come out with some absolute gems, just like the last couple we’ve had… can’t remember any, but there you go.

Oh wait, stop press, I did find something this guy has done in English. The Toilet: An Unspoken History (2012), a TV programme which sort of sums up the current Welsh literature scene.

Current National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke said “Ifor ap Glyn is a friend.” Never!

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Dylan Thomas 100

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dtDylan Thomas was a great poet and short story teller – one of the best Wales has ever produced.  In fact his begging letters for money were legendary!  But, in these difficult times should the WAG be giving millions to the arts council to dish out to their friends in order to ‘celebrate’ the poet’s birth?

If you do a random search of the internet you find lots of ‘projects’ where millions of pounds is to be given to the usual hangers-on in order to remind us all how good DT was.

Here’s just a few:

http://www.artswales.org.uk/what-we-do/funding/dt100

http://www.developingdylan100.co.uk/

http://dylanthomas100.org/english/

http://www.literaturewales.org/news/i/143870/desc/a-dylan-odyssey/?

http://www.literaturewales.org/news/i/143892/desc/developing-dylan-cross-art-form-workshops/?

Oh yes and who is getting paid with your taxpayers money to be involved in all this?  Yes, you guessed it, the same old names and faces. You know, the ones you see on the bursary list etc.

Owen Sheers, Gillian Clarke, Joe Dunthorne, Bethan Gwanas, Carol Ann Duffy, Martin Daws, Huw Stephens (Meic Stephens‘ son), Andrew Davies, Clare Potter, Gwyneth Lewis, Huw Williams, Dan Anthony, Jemma L King, Cynan Jones, Eurig Sailsbury, Phillipa Davies and many more.

Welcome

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gt1 copyLiterature Wales is the national organisation that is supposed to be responsible for developing and promoting literature in Wales.

It runs Wales Book of the Year, the National Poet of Wales, writing courses at Tŷ Newydd and numerous other events, most of which they charge an entry fee for.

They also get rather a large wad of taxpayers money to help them do this.

Literature Wales is supposed to represent the interests of Welsh writers in all genres and languages. It is also supposed to offer advice, support and bursaries to writers.

Literature Wales works with the support of the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. It is one of the resident organisations of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Scandal

In early 2013, the UK national press including the Daily Mail and The Telegraph revealed some astonishing facts and figures about how literature is run in Wales.

‘In the past five years the Welsh Books Council and Literature Wales have received more than £42m from the Welsh Assembly and Arts Council Wales, which in turn receive their funding from Westminster.

Welsh authors can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to work on any kind of book, and they keep the money even if their work is never published.’

– By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, Telegraph, 01 Jan 2013

The reports were critical of the cost to British taxpayers, with the Daily Mail stating that the money went to pay for Welsh books that only sold ‘a handful of copies’.

Makes you wonder where all those millions go doesn’t it? Some would even say that this level of funding is in dire need of some serious scrutiny.

We have done a bit of digging around and found that the same names seem to crop up time and time again. It seems taxpayers money is being given to a small, select group of people, in the form of bursaries, prizes, judging and appearance fees, year after year after year.

So please read on and be disgusted. Oh yes, and maybe tell your friends about us too. Just send them this link:

https://literaturewales.wordpress.com/