Established in 2005, the first National Poet of Wales was Gwyneth Lewis who was followed by Gwyn Thomas in 2006. The post reached new heights under Gillian Clarke, who held the position from 2008 to 2016. During her time as National Poet Gillian Clarke has performed to tens of thousands of people around the world, and has gained many notable commissions and residencies. Some of Gillian’s National Poet of Wales commissioned poems are available to read here.
The current National Poet of Wales is Ifor ap Glyn.
About Ifor ap Glyn:
Born and bred in London to Welsh parents Ifor ap Glyn is a multi-award-winning poet, presenter, director and producer. Ifor has won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod – one of the festival’s most prestigious prizes – on two occasions, first in 1999 and most recently at the Denbighshire and District National Eisteddfod in 2013. From 2008-2009 Ifor was Bardd Plant Cymru, the Welsh-language Children’s Laureate.
He lives in Caernarfon and works at Cwmni Da, an independent television and film production company of which he was a founding member. He has won several BAFTA Cymru awards for his work including the Lleisiau’r Rhyfel Mawr and Popeth yn Gymraeg series.
Ifor has represented Welsh poetry around the world in both the Welsh and English language, having performed at festivals such as the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington DC.
“Gillian has taken the role of National Poet to new heights during her tenure, and I’d like to thank her for her tireless efforts in promoting Welsh poetry and literature at home and on the international stage. She has also been instrumental in fostering links with poets from all over the world and helping to bring their work to Wales. These are both paths which I will continue to follow. Writing in Welsh is no bar to connecting with a wider audience, as I have found in the past, from Boston to Brussels and Dublin to Washington, and as the next National Poet of Wales I look forward to promoting what the writers of Wales have to offer in both languages.”
– National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn
Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, said: “After the fantastic work by Gillian Clarke as National Poet, it is exciting to see the role pass to a Welsh-language poet who I am sure will help to celebrate the Welsh language, which is among the greatest treasure of these islands.”
The previous National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke said “Ifor ap Glyn is a friend who will take on the baton with charm, and be an articulate voice for Wales and for poetry. Each National Poet re-invents the role, and I am confident he will speak up for Wales and for poetry. He makes words dance on page and stage.”