National Poet of Wales – Three Continents in Three Weeks

Published Thu 4 Oct 2018 - By Literature Wales
Ifor ap Glyn won’t be home in Caernarfon too much during October this year as he’ll be travelling to Lithuania, China and Cameroon in his capacity as the National Poet of Wales.

Ifor has been invited to take part in international literature festivals and events on three different continents during this month.

”It’ll be a great chance to present Welsh poetry and talk about Wales to new audiences”, he said, “but I’m also keen to learn as much as I can about how literature is received in those different countries. What can we learn from them?”

He’ll travel first to Lithuania first, to the Drusininkai International Literature Festival. Poets from 15 countries will come together to share their work in performances and schools workshops, in the capital Vilnius, before moving on to Drusininkai itself. An anthology of their work, including poems by Ifor ap Glyn, translated into Lithuanian, will be launched during the festival.

Then Ifor will travel to Chengdu, China to take part in the World Poetry Festival. The opening ceremony will be broadcast live on Chinese TV and the festival will include street performances and an event with the intriguing title Burning Poetry. “I’m not too sure what exactly to expect from that!” laughs Ifor.

His travels will culminate with a visit to Cameroon, where he’ll be accompanied by two other poets from Wales, Mike Jenkins and Eric Ngalle Charles. Eric is originally from Cameroon, and this trip has been funded by Wales Arts International. They’ll be doing radio and TV interviews promoting a new anthology of poetry from Wales and Cameroon, Hiraeth / Erzolirzoli (Hafan Books). They will meet the Minister of Education in the hope of persuading him to put the anthology on their national curriculum.’

Ifor has already been to Sweden, China, and Poland this year, in his role as National Poet of Wales. “It’s important to act as an ambassador for Wales whenever the opportunity arises,” says Ifor, “but it’s just as important to showcase our language and literature nearer home, and I hope to share some of this month’s overseas experiences on tour around Wales later this year.”