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PN Review 275
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This report is taken from PN Review 275, Volume 50 Number 3, January - February 2024.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
Occasionally, glancing idly at books on shelves, we are shaken by sombre reflections. In this way, and with just such a jolt, I recently came across a collection of poems entitled 3 Young Anglo-Welsh Poets, published by the Welsh Arts Council in January 1974. It would have been remarkable at the time if only because grants from the Council’s Literature Committee for the making and selling of books were intended to be handed out to established Welsh publishers. I can imagine Meic Stephens, then WAC Literature Director, arguing forcibly, from his great height, that since the book was the outcome of the Council’s 1973 ‘Young Poets Competition’ it was entirely appropriate the Council should publish it. There were probably protests from the publishing sector, but I don’t recall them now. What I do remember is that judging the competition was difficult. Of course, the intention had been to select an outright winner, but when that proved impossible, the only solution was to share the prize. So it came about that this slim volume (thirty poems in all) launched three new, distinctive poetic voices: Duncan Bush, Tony Curtis and Nigel Jenkins. Looking back, I would still argue that the tripartite division of the prize was a good decision. All three subsequently gained distinction, and further Arts Council prizes, as writers of both poetry and prose, and in December 1998, there was a late celebration of sorts, when they were brought together again for a reading at Blackwood Miners’ Institute in the Gwent valleys. It was a splendid, well-attended evening, and as we wrapped things up ...


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