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This report is taken from PN Review 206, Volume 38 Number 6, July - August 2012.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
Yesterday evening was as wet and chilly as the second week of May could ever have been. We drove up to Brecon, to Theatr Brycheiniog, for an event organised by Literature Wales, the newly rechristened literature promotion agency, at which the shortlists for Wales Book of the Year 2011, both Welsh-language and English, were announced. It was a well-attended event, as it should have been, given that, before the announcements, the audience was entertained by a bilingual poetry reading. Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy, National Laureates both, supplied the English, and Eurig Salisbury and Ceri Wyn Jones, the current Young Person's Laureate in the Welsh language and his immediate predecessor, read, of course, in Welsh. As usual, simultaneous translation facilities were available. I recalled hearing Yevtushenko reading poems in Russian and being excited by the force of rhetoric in a language of which I had not the slightest understanding, and wondered again whether it is better to listen to a poem read clearly in its proper language without its being overlaid by an inevitably prosy version in another.

Brecon was a wise choice as venue. It is not as conveniently central as Llandrindod Wells is deemed to be for people travelling from the four quarters of Wales, but not as remote as Cardiff for those coming from the west and north. Besides, Brecon was the home of the Roland Mathias Prize and, while that formerly independent literary event has been rolled up and joined to Wales Book of ...


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