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This review is taken from PN Review 108, Volume 22 Number 4, March - April 1996.

PUBLIC VOICES
IDRIS DAVIES, The Complete Poems ed. Dafydd Johnston (University of Wales Press)
DAVID GASCOYNE, Night Thoughts (Alyscamps Press)
DERICK THOMSON, Meall Garbh/The Rugged Mountain (Gairm Publications)
VUYELWA CARLIN, How We Dream of the Dead (Seren)

Three of these writers are fairly close contemporaries. Idris Davies (born 1905), David Gascoyne (1916) and Derick Thomson (1921), lived through the social and artistic turbulence of the inter-war years and began publishing poems in the 1930s. Davies's career ended with his death from cancer in 1953, at about the same time that Gascoyne's writer's block was damping down a beacon of creativity that had burned brightly in a remarkably precocious and prolific young manhood: Night Thoughts (1955) was his last substantial new work. Thomson has been a stayer and is as active in his seventies as in previous decades, when he combined his writing with academic endeavours, as Professor of Celtic at Glasgow University, and editorship of the Gaelic quarterly Gairn which he founded in 1952. All three are comfortable in languages other than English. Thomson, having found an anglophone audience, habitually writes Gaelic and English versions of each new poem. Davies was another bilingual Celt and, though his creative medium was principally English, occasionally wrote poems in Welsh. Gascoyne's output includes poems in French and notable translations from French avant-garde writers such as Breton, Eluard and Aragon. All three are of the puritan tendency. They discovered their own routes to disillusionment with the philistinism which they saw eating into every level of society and have ...


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