anglophone, or not to
that is the question
that is the question
s a welsh poet who can speak welsh I face a dilemma when i write. do i maintain a tradition that i was taught to respect by schoolteachers by writing in CYMRAEG. or do i ‘rebel’ and write in an english that more reflects the postmodern ‘society’ i live in? a further question to someone who respects innovation as highly as lyrical expression is which reactionary tradition do i rebel against? the tradition of welsh language poetry that has undergone HYNT Y GWYNT A’R GLAW no great upheavals for the last 1500 years and retains the essence of an ancient bardic tradition; or do i rail against the ‘tradition’ that has grown up oppressively in the form of an anglophone hegemony that rules our airwaves, literature and almost every other medium? ESSPEDWAREC.
i have been able to answer this question, but find myself writing predominantly in english, and this reflects -not my beliefs- but my position as someone who has spoken mostly english with family and was brought up in a culture in which welsh speaking was no longer natural (a valley of s-wales). to be ‘true’ i must reflect the circumstances in which i find myself. MYNYDD and to drop welsh in writing like so many poets who can speak the language perhaps is the easiest thing to do. however i find myself troubled by this and my welsh-self attempts to shoehorn itself into the mix, ESGYD inserting phrases and words that are of my ‘mother tongue.’ this, in my work is a kind of pastiche of Pound & Eliot’s high modernist inclusion of the ‘classical languages’ in their work. χοντ! if welsh is such a dead language surely it should be revered in the same way as ancient greek? i find this also gives an aural texture unavailable to monoglot writers.
the battle of tongues will continue in my work—and the work of other poets who speak postcolonial languages. it may escalate to an extent that anglosaxon verbiage is extinguished altogether, at least in my own work... SGLYFATH!
posted: February 10th 2009
Rhys Trimble is a bilingual poet, private tutor and performer working in north Wales. Born in 1977 in Livingstone Zambia and brought up in Gwent and Pontneddfechan in south Wales, Rhys has published poetry in Poetry Wales, Tears in the Fence, Seventh Quarry, Coffee House Poetry, Aesthetica, Skald and various other magazines. Rhys’s first collection is due to be published in 2010; recent works include 'Dancing' with Zoë Skoulding and Alan Holmes on a track for Parking Non-Stop and a self-published chapbook, ‘afanc e.p.’ with another entitled ‘see-sun’ currently being written.