The Writers of Wales Database
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Rona was born in Chichester just after the war. She lived on RAF Stations until she was nine years old. She then moved to Brecon, her grandmother's home. Rona studied singing at Cardiff College of Music and Drama, and subsequently became principal soprano with the Metropolitan Opera de Caracas, Venezuela, where she started writing poetry, including her long narrative poem David of the Mines (Arvon Foundation, 1984). This won the Arvon prize in Sotheby’s International Poetry Competition in 1982. She received her prize from Sir Stephen Spender and he read extracts on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Kaleiderscope,’ where her work was likened to Blake.
In 2009 Rona adapted this work into a play to be performed in 2010 in Swansea. The poem was inspired after staying in a miner's house in Cwm, Ebbw Vale in the 1960s.
Her first collection of poetry is The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988), the subject still grows on Cilwhybert Farm near Brecon, where Rona lived from nine to fourteen years old. It concentrates on her fascination with its multi laid layers, and the animals and people involved both in its life death experiences, seasonal changes, and Rona’s emotional storms of survival. Ted Hughes praised The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988) and Placido Domingo read poems from this work in Germany, and Rona was a guest on Womans Hour.
Rona toured Ireland and appeared on Ulster Television reading from The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988) on their arts programme Spectrum, and read at all the major Universities, both North and South, and in schools and libraries.
In 2009 she was a guest on the Roy Noble Show, discussing a performance of David of the Mines at the Big Pit, Blaenavon. During the 2009 Dylan Thomas Festival she was commissioned to write and perform a lecture entitled 'Dylan Thomas Great Voice'. This combined Rona’s expertise as a voice tutor and poet. She was then asked to perform this lecture at Glyndwr University, in 2009 as part of their BBC sponsored day, 'Spotlight on Media'.
In the past year she has given readings of her poetry at Llantrisant Festival, Mumbles Library, Llandeilo Art Gallery and the Dylan Thomas Centre as part of their ‘Last Thursday Programme.’
Her two-day course on ‘Writing and Performing Poetry’ has run on three separate occasions at the Dylan Thomas Centre. In addition she has run four-day seminars for lecturers at Swansea University on ‘Lecture as Performance.’ This has resulted in the Staff Development Unit booking her to run the day course each term. This is the only course at the University that has a waiting list.
In the summer of 2009 Rona ran a poetry and photography workshop in St. Thomas’ School, Swansea. This resulted in the production of an anthology that contained the pupils' poems and photographs. There was also a public performance of their poems and an exhibition of their work at Sainsbury’s in Swansea.
Rona has just completed her first full-length children’s book Efydd, Bronze Prince of Brenig and is looking for a publisher. The Field, a major poetry collection is in progress. This takes the reader on a walk through real fields hand in hand with Rona’s life, of music, nature, love and travel.
With respect to David of The Mines (Arvon Foundation, 1984)
"…a long narrative poem containing energy and imagination throughout…a work that reminded us of Blake…"
Sir Stephen Spender
With respect to The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988)
"…a rich work full of phrase and phrasing that I enjoyed reading. Keep going along this road, no knowing where you’ll come to..."
David of the Mines (Arvon Foundation, 1984)
The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988)
Efydd, Bronze Prince of Brenig (forthcoming)
The Field (forthcoming)
Of Caterpillars, Cats and Cattle (contributor) (Viking Kestrel, 1987)
Niffs and Whiffs (contributor) (Bodley Head Poetry, 1991)
The Hedge (Counter-Point Publications, 1988)
"Of Welsh and Irish parents, Ms Campbell’s Celtic roots come through every word of her elemental poetry. Her sensuous poetry sings of the elements. A nature poet par excellence, Ms. Campbell’s multiple-meaning images seek out, capture and distil every ounce of the humane from the natural world. Visibly absent from the densely populated planet of The Hedge, men and women are mysteriously and invisibly somehow present throughout the invented world of Ms. Campbell"
Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian
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