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This report is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

Two recent literary events have prompted me to revisit a time in the late 1960s and 1970s when, at some point in the proceed-ings, every gathering of writers in Wales was sure to debate the health and status of Welsh-language writing vis-à-vis English, the validity and usefulness of translating Welsh literature for the monoglot audience, and the suitability of the term 'Anglo-Welsh' as a label for those Welsh by birth or allegiance who wrote in English.

The Poetry Society's Translation Reading Series brought Michael Schmidt, Patrick McGuinness and Robert Minhinnick to an upstairs bar in the Wales Millennium Centre, where they discussed the 'Ethos of Translation'. They had plenty to say: Carcanet's impressive record as a publisher of literature in translation is well known to readers of PN Review, and Patrick McGuinness now offers advice on the subject to Seren, while, as editor of Poetry Wales, Robert Minhinnick has laboured to transform an introspective magazine into an international journal by introducing scores of poets from overseas, usually in translation. And, besides, all three are highly skilled translators. For stimulating talk the occasion lacked nothing but the size of audience it deserved. Minhinnick was particularly quick on his feet. Perhaps he anticipated challenges to his editorial policy, which has alienated some regular readers of Poetry Wales who would prefer to see the magazine continue as of old, focused principally, if not exclusively, upon the home-grown product, and to the ...
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