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'Hugo William’s advice is that voice when I need it, as I often do. My job isn’t to get better as a writer, or to worry about how people will respond, or if they will respond at all. My job is only to do what I can: to show up every day, and start scribbling.'
'The Mabinogion, then, has some fantastical and imaginative tales, and I’m especially drawn to the way it deals with loss and with grief, which I sometimes think that literature, in all its desire to preserve and record, is always really about. '
When I think of reading, I think of enthusiasm, chaos, joy. I think of dropping one book, half-read, on the carpet, because I’ve spotted something on a shelf I suddenly want to read. I think of holding one book in my left hand and another in my right, while making a mental note of another.
When I think of life-changing literature, I think of writing which didn’t change me at all, but made me more who I am. Growing up in the South Wales Valleys, and coming from a working-class background, I thought writing was done by other people in other places.
'When my mum went to visit you in hospital a few weeks before you died, no more than a year into retirement, you said you felt cheated, that you’d never done anything on this earth you wanted to. I want to tell you, you did everything Mrs B.'
'Aquariums, zoos, safari parks, they’re otherworldly places: so many things there have clearly just landed from outer space. So many things there are clearly us. In enclosure after enclosure, tank after tank, I find poem after poem.'
'I found myself trying to get into a prison, past a guard who looked me up on Wikipedia to check that I was really a poet. Inside, I read poems about growing up in the Welsh Valleys, translated into Italian for an audience of grinning prisoners.'
'For the entirety of my twenties, I was rejected. I took it seriously. I treated rejection like a job. I worked at it, and I worked hard. The wages were brown envelopes with my own handwriting on them, thumping onto my welcome mat after I’d sent them.'
10-11-2022

Jonathan Edwards speaks with John Greening about Welsh tradition and the impact of Welsh nationalism in poetry, writing about family in the context of truth and fiction, the impact of winning a major poetry prize and the Bic 4-way pen as the most essential tool in his creative process.

20-10-2022

Penny Boxall seeks inspiration at Laurence Sterne’s Shandy Hall, wondering how to move forward as a writer after the loss of her mother and her previous creative rituals.

Jonathan Edwards considers the poet WH Davies, whose extensive body of work forms a bridge between two worlds - the natural beauty of South Wales, and the gritty reality of early 20th century London and its poverty.

'All of my favourite writers are Dylan Thomas. I say this because his writing is so varied. There are so many of him. I love his comic prose; the incredible sonic and formal ambition and achievement of his poems.'
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