New poetry film celebrates Raymond Williams’ contribution to literature in Wales

Published Mon 13 Mar 2023 - By Literature Wales
Raymond Williams
Literature Wales is delighted to share a new film bringing together poetry and words by poets Mererid Hopwood, Hanan Issa and Rufus Mufasa, intricately interwoven with striking images of the Welsh landscape in a video created by Hushland Creative.

To mark the author and philosopher Raymond Williams’ centenary, the poets used his influential book, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, as inspiration for poems that explore key words relating to our society today, and their significance within Wales’ diverse cultures. 

The poets enjoyed lectures and talks about Williams and his influence by a group of experts including Euros Lewis, Daniel Williams, Emily Trahir, Robin Chapman and Graeme Farrow, before coming together in workshops to discuss, deliberate and formulate a creative response. 

Literature Wales’ recent Strategic Plan quoted Raymond Williams’ famous words from his book Resources of Hope (1989): “to be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.” This poetry video brings to life a hopeful picture of modern Welsh society in the face of its many challenges. 

Mererid Hopwood said, “Collaborating with this group and having the opportunity to learn more about Raymond Williams has been an enriching experience – from inquiry to reflection to response. Some of this richness is captured in the word ‘tawaf’. In Welsh it means ‘to be still, be silent’, and in Arabic ‘circumambulation’. This is an example of the same sound offering keys to two different doors in the community that has been between us. Thank you for the opportunity.” 

Hanan Issa said, “It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with two of Wales’ most exciting poets as we delved into Williams’ work, discovering new things about the man himself and the ways in which rhythms and meaning transcend language through the power of poetry.” 

Rufus Mufasa said, “Through Raymond’s work, thinking and concepts, I was able to bring my own lived experiences to the surface in a really safe way, and I was shown sincere respect as Raymond would have wanted. I’ve further developed Raymond into my work with children and young people. Exploring translation and indigenous languages we can find our key words, and through creativity we embedded them in ways that reach out to others, creating connections and collecting kindness along the way. Through collecting our key words and this kindness we can shape and celebrate our contemporary Wales.” 

This creative project was funded by Literature Wales, and held in collaboration with Aberystwyth University, Planet magazine, Wales Millennium Centre, Swansea University and WesGlei, with thanks to Hushland Creative for their work on the video. 

Download a pdf of the poems here and enjoy the video itself, below.

Geiriau allweddol : Key Words – from Bill Taylor-Beales on Vimeo.