Publication date: 11/08/2008
The international quarterly Poetry Wales has a new Editor and her first issue is out now. With the appointment of Dr Zoë Skoulding to the post, the editorial base of the magazine moves from south Wales to Bangor. Dr Skoulding, who has lived in the area since 1991, will be editing the magazine from Bangor University, where she is Research Fellow in the School of English and Co-ordinator of part-time courses in literature and writing in the College of Education and Lifelong Learning.
She comments: "I am excited about the future of this magazine, which has built up strong international relationships under Robert Minhinnick's editorship. What do these mean for poetry in Wales? As I read through the submissions that arrive every week, I am more and more convinced that there is not so much a singular 'poetry' of Wales than a multiplicity of poetries with sharply differing perspectives on language and place. Poetry Wales is a magazine in which these voices can be brought into a conversation that has relevance both within and beyond Wales.
"Welsh writing in English can never operate from a certainty about the connection between language and place. Increasingly, this is true of writing everywhere. While in the past, this may have been a matter of nostalgia and regret, in the present and future it presents creative possibilities: the complexities surrounding Welsh poetry in English are at the forefront of debates about globalization and perhaps at the centre of what it means to be European. A bilingual country is inevitably enmeshed in the debates that define Europe, and in those that surround local and national identities as they adapt within global relationships.
"There is also a connection between the situation of English in Wales and English-language poetries elsewhere that gain their creative force from questioning transparency of meaning based on shared values within a place. I want to encourage debate about how different kinds of poetry engage with issues of language and identity."
Dr Fflur Dafydd of Swansea University will join the magazine from September as Welsh-language Editor, with the aim of encouraging more dialogue between poetries in English and Welsh.
The first issue features Wendy Mulford on the poetry of John James; Matthew Jarvis on Wales's experimental poetries; Tiffany Atkinson on how she writes a poem, and Harry Gilonis on how he brought the Canu Heledd into collision with twenty-first century war reportage. Reviews include Andrew Duncan on Lynette Roberts, Carrie Etter on Matthew Francis and Kelly Grovier, and Peter Finch on Peter Riley and Elisabeth Bletsoe.
Poetry featured includes translations from Danish and Polish together with poems from David Annwn, Deryn Rees-Jones, Damian Walford-Davies, Carol Watts, Steve Griffiths and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch. The editorial sets out the magazine's vision as this: "The poems, reviews and features will continue to reflect the diversity of a magazine that has in the past offered a located perspective on ever-expanding horizons. It remains committed to publishing the best poetry from Wales alongside that from elsewhere, and to developing the conversations that might emerge between the two. It also remains open to the kinds of risk and surprise that are necessary to maintain a vital writing culture."