Spirit and flesh in twentieth-century Welsh poetry: a comparison of the work of D. Gwenallt Jones and Pennar Davies.
O'r Llanfair sydd ar y Bryn neu Lanfair Mathafarn Chwyth ef i'r synagog neu chwyth ef i'r dafarn. (Llwyd 129)
"From the Llanfair on the Hill" the burial place of the Methodist revivalist and hymnist Williams Pantycelyn, "or Llanfair Mathafarn," the Anglesey abode of his eighteenth-century contemporary, the dissolute poetic genius Goronwy Owen, "blow him to the synagogue or blow him to the tavern" (my own translation). "This wind," wrote Dafydd Glyn Jones, "has blown through Welsh poetry ever since, and--thanks largely to the powerful voices of the two Christian poets, Saunders Lewis and D. Gwenallt Jones, against whom the still small voices of Marxism and Humanism had no earthly chance,--it has blown, almost without veering, from Llanfair ar y Bryn" (47).
Even in 1971 this, in the world of literature, was a most unusual situation. The twentieth century had seen the progressive secularization of Welsh life, not least among its intelligentsia. The University of Wales, its first constituent College having been established in 1872, had taken its earliest strides at the exact time when Darwinism and other humanist ideologies had undermined, to an increasing extent, the older values and orthodoxies. If the liberal theology that became so pervasive among a section of the religious leaders at the turn of the century had been, for some, a means of preserving the integrity of Christian faith in the context of the modern age, for others it was all too easy to pass beyond liberal Protestantism altogether into a full-blown secular humanism. If Christianity was merely humanism with a pious tinge, what reason was there to stay Christian at all? Just as this was occurring among the intelligentsia, the great phalanx of the working class, and not just in the industrial south, was also traveling in a secular direction under the influence of socialism and the labor movement. By the first decade of the century, the older individualism was being superseded by a class-based politics that prized workers' rights much higher than religious faith; the people's utopia became a much more potent symbol than the Kingdom of God. Following the deep tragedy of the First World War, the feeling was that the new Wales would be a secular Wales with religion having been banished to the past.
And so it was, a fact exemplified during the 1930s by the poets and the novelists of the Anglo-Welsh: Rhys Davies, Idris Davies, and Dylan Thomas. It was also true of the most creative artists who wrote in Welsh: T. H. Parry-Williams and Robert Williams Parry being cases in point. (English literature at the time, T. S. Eliot apart, had become almost totally secular in tone). The tradition to which these men belonged stretched back to the sixth century when Aneirin and Taliesin, the first Welsh poets of "the Old North"--what is now southern Scotland and northern England but which was then British territory where an early form of Welsh was spoken--bequeathed to their successors an exquisite heritage that blossomed in the Middle Ages with the poets of the Welsh court, and after the death of the last native prince in 1282, with the work of such accomplished poets of the aristocracy as Dafydd ap Gwilym and others. This technically exacting and aesthetically outstanding body of verse was renewed by the early modern period not least through the hymnody of Williams Pantycelyn and other Dissenting and Methodist poets, but by the nineteenth century, there were signs that all was not well. Although by now hugely popular and an aspect of the culture of evangelicalism, Welsh poetry had become blighted by parochialism, tiredness, and repetition. The genius of the literary renaissance of the early twentieth century was that it both returned to the ancient tradition and was inspired by the latest developments in scholarship and criticism. Informed by the new learning associated with the University of Wales, the younger writers now shook off the baleful influence of antiquarianism and the narrower aspects of Protestant nonconformity and looked beyond England for their models.
The tendency, though, was toward skepticism in the matter of religion. And so it would have continued had it not been for the rather startling conversion of that epitome of modernity, the dramatist and critic Saunders Lewis, to Roman Catholicism in 1932, and the return of the poet Gwenallt Jones to his Christian roots a year or two later. During the following decades there would be other quite remarkable Welsh-language Christian poets as well: the Quaker Waldo Williams, the sacramentalist Euros Bowen, Pennar Davies, and Bobi Jones. Among those who wrote in English, David Jones would be the most obviously committed to a Catholic Christian worldview with the oblique spirituality of R.S. Thomas speaking powerfully to a postreligious generation in more recent years. This article, though, is concerned with the spiritual content of Welsh language verse. It seeks to compare and contrast the ways in which D. Gwenallt Jones (1899-1968) and Pennar Davies (1911-1996) treat some cardinal theological themes--not least the concept of spirit and the flesh.
Jones's affirmation of Christian belief and discipleship, or at least his expression of a Christian muse, became obvious in his first volume of verse Ysgubau'r Awen (Sheaves of the Muse) in 1939. (1) He had already gained fame by winning the chair in the National Eisteddfod of 1926 for his awdl "Y Mynach" ("The Monk"), then gaining notoriety two years later, in 1928, for being refused the National Eisteddfod chair because his poem "Y Sant" ("The Saint"), although the most accomplished in the competition, was too explicitly sexual. Saints were not expected to be sexual beings in the Wales of the 1920s! The religion of these early poems is conventional and stylized, indicative of a decadent medievalism rather than expressions of personal faith. But with the publication of the poem "Ar gyfeiliorn" ("Adrift") in the progressive literary journal Heddiw (Today) in 1936--the year of the Penyberth incident--it had become apparent that Jones was making a highly contextualized confession of faith. Christianity, it seems, was being made relevant to the harsh world of depressed, pre-war, industrialized Wales.
Gwae inni wybod y geiriau heb adnabod y Gair A gwerthu ein henaid am doffi a chonffeti flair, Dilyn yn 61 pob tabwrdd a dawnsio yn 61 pob ffliwt A boddi hymn yr Eiriolaeth a rhigwm yr Absoliwt. Dynion yn y Deheudir heb ddiod na bwyd na flag, A balchder eu bro dan domennydd ysgrap, ysindrins, yslag: Y canel mewn pentrefi'n sefyllian, heb ryd na symud na swn, A'r llygod boliog yn llarpio cyrffy cathod a'r cwn ... (James 72) (Woe unto us knowing the words who know not the Word Having sold our souls for toffee and fairground confetti, Following every drumbeat and dancing after every flute, Having drowned the hymn of Intercession with the rhyme of the Absolute. Men in the South have no food or drink, or a fag, The proud beauty of their land is covered by heaps of scrap, cinders and slag; The village canals are idle, silent and still, While the big-bellied rats rip open the corpses of cats and dogs ...)
The harsh realism of this picture of industrial South Wales ravaged by the Depression, was novel and raw. Most popular Welsh poetry of the time was pastoral, romantic, and lyrical, while the agnostic modernism of T. H. Parry-Williams and others did not engage with the social realities of the day. But this was different, and, coming from the Chaired Bard of the 1926 Eisteddfod, quite unexpected. Moreover its Christian content was explicit:
Gosod, O Fair, Dy Seren yng nghanol tywyllwch nef, A dangos a'th siart y llwybr yn 61 at Ei ewyllys Ef, A disgyn rhwng y rhaffau dryslyd, a rho dy law ar y llyw, A thywys ein llong wrthnysig i un o borthladdoedd Duw. (James 72) (Oh! Mary, place Your Star at the centre of the dark heavens, And show us on your chart the path back to His will, And climb down through the tangled rigging, and put your hand on the helm And guide our perverse ship into one of the harbours of God.)
The publication of Ysgubau'r Awen three years later, which contained this poem and many others in the same vein, established his reputation as a poet of the first rank whose voice--uncompromising, severe with a passion held in check by the trammels of metrical form--as unique. What is more, this was Christian verse of a stark kind.
The themes contained in Ysgubau'r Awen can be listed thus: sin and redemption (which found a focus in the awesome sonnet "Pechod" ["Sin"]: "Pan dynnwn oddiarnom bob ryw wisg / Mantell parchusrwydd a gwybodaeth ddoeth" [James 103] ["When we strip off all our clothes / The cloak of respectability and wise knowledge"]; spirit and the flesh; and Wales itself--that is the concept of Wales within the complexities of the modern world, especially the differences between the rural and the urban or the pastoral and the industrial, in Jones's shorthand, "Sir Forgannwg a Sir Gaerfyrddin" ("Glamorganshire and Carmarthenshire"). None of these themes are mutually exclusive; in fact each intertwines with the other, but perhaps the most memorable expression of the idea of incarnation and the tensions between carnality and spirituality occurs in the sonnet titled "Cnawd ac ysbryd" ("Flesh and spirit"):
Duw ni waharddodd inni garu'r byd, A charu dyn a'i holl weithredoedd ef, Eu caru a'r synhwyrau noeth i gyd, Pob llun a lliw, pob llafar a phob llef ... (James 107) (God has not forbidden us to love the world, And to love man and all his works, To love them with all the naked senses, Every shape and colour, every voice and every sound.)
These lines are often quoted as expressing Jones's most rounded description of the incarnational or sacramental principle, which banishes all duality between the temporal and the spiritual realms and revels in God's affirmation of his own good creation. Jones had an eye for tragedy and a feeling for the bleakness of industrial life. His father, a steelworker, had been burned to death in an industrial accident when a ladle of molten metal had overflowed, and he, the son, had written, searingly, of "yr angau hwteraidd: yr angau llychlyd, myglyd, meddw," (James 139) ("the hootered death: the dusty, choking, drunken death"). He also described the flowers with which the bereaved widows of miners and steelworkers dressed the graves of their menfolk, as "rhosynnau silicotic a lili mor welw a'r nwy"(James 130) ("silicotic roses and lilies as pale as gas"), imagery which is as stunning now as it was when freshly coined over half a century ago. Yet he could also affirm not only sinfulness and tragedy but wholeness and redemption. Though the flesh has been contaminated by the blight of sin and so shares in the inheritance of death, it is yet capable of being restored to become a vehicle for the true praise of God and for his service within human society and the world. The tremendous crescendo in the closing couplet, which follows the description of the death of the body and its resurrection when immortality renews rather than ignores that which belongs to the corporeal realm, sums up what was to be the poet's abiding conviction and the key to his Christian philosophy and practice:
Dwyn ato'r corff, ei ffroen a'i drem a'i glyw, I synhwyruso gogonianau Duw. (lames 107) (Taking to itself the body, its nostrils, sight and hearing, To make sensuous the glories of God.)
For a long time, Jones was an eclectic Christian, both doctrinally and denominationally, though in 1944 he committed himself to confirmation and membership in the Episcopalian Church in Wales. His faith was of a catholic type in which sacramental realities were important. His most accomplished volume of verse, Eples (Leaven), published in 1951, was written during this Anglican phase, and its poems contain resonances of the liturgy and the worship of a Catholic Anglicanism. But Jones, the hot-blooded Welsh nationalist rebel, would never be wholly comfortable in the Anglican Church, and he left--protesting at Anglicizing trends--in 1957 and returned to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists among whom he had grown up. It was as a Calvinistic Methodist that he would practice his radical, catholic evangelicalism until his death on Christmas Eve 1968. (He was, by profession, an academic who spent his career on the staff of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth). This catholic evangelicalism is displayed vividly in his 1959 volume Gwreiddiau (Roots) and his posthumous Y Coed (The Trees), which appeared in 1969. His convictions are exemplified in the poem "Corff Crist" ("The Body of Christ") from the 1959 collection and "Catholigrwydd" ("Catholicity") from Y Coed:
Dwylo yn debyg i'r rhain A bwniwyd ar y Pren: Traed fel ein traed ni A dyllwyd: pen fel ein pen A gariodd y gwaradwyddus ddrain. Y fath anrhydedd, y fath orfoledd, O Gnawd, Oedd cael rhoi corff i Fab Duw; Corff Iddew ym Methlehem, Corff marwol dynol-ryw: Y Corff a weddnewidiwyd yn y bedd Yn Gorff catholig byw. (James 302) (Hands like these hands Were hammered to the Tree; Feet like our feet Were pierced: a head like our head Bore the mocking thorns. Such was the honour, the rejoicing, O Flesh In providing a body for the Son of God; The body of a Jew in Bethlehem, The mortal body of humankind: The Body which was transformed in the grave Into a living catholic Body.)
This is a typical expression of Jones's ideal, a catholicity of the Word, a faith in which God, in his transcendent otherness, took upon himself all the particularity of time and place. Human mortality, enslaved to sin and under the divine judgment, was yet borne by God in the incarnation of his Son and through the sacrifice of Calvary and the resurrection of the body, transformed into something glorious and new.
The same theme is expressed memorably in the posthumously published poem, "Catholigrwydd" ("Catholicity"). Here Jones describes the person of Christ "imprisoned by his flesh and his Jewish bones / Within the confines of his land" This was the Christ who gave himself as a living sacrifice to the Father before being raised up anew in the miracle of resurrection. And the result?
A mwy y mae Caerdydd cyn nesed a Chalfaria, A Bangor bob modfedd a Bethlehem, Gostegir y stormydd ym Mae Ceredigion, Ac ar bob stryd fe all y lloerigion Gael iechydwriaeth wrth odre Ei hem ... (James 302) (And since then Cardiffis as near as Calvary And Bangor every inch as Bethlehem, The storms are stilled on Cardigan Bay, And in every street the afflicted Find healing from the touch of his hem ...)
Flesh and spirit, the particular and the universal, the ordinary and the extraordinary are all harmonized in Christ, the incarnation of God's redemptive love, whose reality is forever known anew in the epiclesis or making present of the Holy Spirit. (2)
When Jones died, Pennar Davies was nearly sixty years old; yet he, like Jones, had made his reputation as a rebel--but in his case during the years immediately following the Second World War. Born in the Cynon Valley in industrialized South Wales, he had been brought up in poverty during the slump, the depression that found such a powerful evocation in Jones's verse. A glittering student career in Cardiff, Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a graduate scholar in English Literature between 1934 and 1936, and doctoral work at Yale had made him into an intellectual and an aesthete somewhat detached from both his family background and the social realities of his generation. He was, at this time, religiously agnostic, although he had been brought up, like Jones, in the chapel culture of Protestant nonconformity. After a hedonistic two years in America--where he took a car journey during a long vacation of 1937 from New Haven to Mexico, from Mexico to California, up the West Coast into Washington and Canada and back again to New Haven via the shores of the Great Lakes, an adventure described vividly in an unpublished manuscript journal--he experienced a startling religious conversion and in 1940 began training for ordination in the Congregational Church. He wrote:
The war, which brought me to a definite and unpopular political commitment also led me to give myself to Welsh rather than English writing and, somewhat to my amazement and to the consternation of friends on both sides of the language fence, to the quaint life of a "Respected" among the unspeakable chapel people. (qtd. in Stephens, Artists in Wales, 125)
Up to then his literary output had been in English; indeed he was an acquaintance of Dylan Thomas and was aligning himself with the Anglo-Welsh. But for Pennar Davies too--or Bill Davies or W. T. Davies as he was then known; Pennar was a pen-name he later took deriving from the village of Aberpennar where he had grown up--the Penyberth incident of 1936 would be increasingly significant. His first collection of poems was published in Keidrych Rhys's Anglo-Welsh anthology Modern Welsh Poetry (1944). (3) Whereas Dylan Thomas and Vernon Watkins were politically and spiritually uncommitted and seemingly oblivious to the searing social injustices round about, Davies's poems sought to challenge the grim realities of the day. In a Welsh language review of the book, Saunders Lewis remarked, "Davies Aberpennar ... yw un o'r ychydig feirdd y gellir canfod safbwynt yn ei waith: y mae ganddo chwerwder a digofaint ac eironi, ac fe hoffasai James Joyce ei 'Poem for Robert Griffiths" (55) ("Davies Aberpennar ... is one of the few poets that one can find a standpoint in his work: he has bitterness and anger and irony, and James Joyce would appreciate his 'Poem for Robert Griffiths'"). But it was in his first Welsh-language collection that the incarnational theme, or the idea of the interconnectedness of spirit and flesh, would be expounded.
In Cinio'r Cythraul (The Devil's Dinner), published in 1946 when Davies, already an ordained minister, was about to embark on what would become his lifelong career as a professor in theological seminaries, at least two poems appear that express the incarnational idea. The first, a lively lyric titled "Golud" ("Richness"), celebrates the ecstasy of young married love:
Y fun hyfrydlais, paid a ffoi. Tyrd, aros, a gad imi roi Llaw dyner ar dy fron. Byth, byth ni chei di unpeth gwell, Er mynd ohonot ti ymhell, Na'm cariad llym a llon ... ... Gwn nad oes gennyf bres na swydd. Ni allaf ddisgwyl bywyd rhwydd. Ac eto nid wy'n dlawd. Mae gennyf gred, mae gennyf gan, Ac asbri glew yr Ysbryd Glan, A'r digywilydd gnawd. (11)
Because of the significance of the rhyme and rhythm for the poem's effect, I shall not even attempt to translate these two verses metrically, but their gist, in prose, is: "My sweetvoiced girl, don't run away, come, stay, and let me put a gentle hand upon your breast. Wherever you go, however far you travel, you will find nothing better than my harsh and happy love:' It is in the final stanza that the red-blooded incarnationalism is most memorably expressed:
I have no money and few prospects Life will not be easy But still I am not poor. I have my faith, I have my song, And the playful exhilaration of the Holy Spirit And the shamelessness of flesh.
The word digywilydd, which means shamelessness or bare-faced impudence in common parlance, can be read literally as "having no need of shame"; it is, in fact, morally positive. So when Davies describes the flesh as being digywilydd, he is striking both chords: the flesh is something to be gloried in and not embarrassed by or ashamed of.
The same playful, flirtatious outrageousness is expressed in his poem "Pwy Biau'r Ias?" ("Whose is the Lustful Urge?"):
Yn gyntaf oll pwy biau'r ias Ond Duw a'n gwnaeth mor frwnt, mot hyblyg? Er mwyn yr ias collasom ras: Yn gyntaf oll pwy biau'r ias? Pwy ond a wnaeth ein cnawd yn fras? Pwy ond a wnaeth ein rhyw yn ddyblyg? Yn gyntaf oll pwy biau'r ias Ond Duw a'n gwnaeth mor frwnt, mor hyblyg? (Cinio'r Cythraul 20) (Whose, first of all, is the lustful urge But God's, who made us so impure, so unyielding? For the sake of the urge we fell from grace: Whose, first of all, is the lustful urge? Whose but His, who made our flesh course? Whose but His who made our sex dual? Whose, first of all, is the lustful urge But God's who made us so impure, so unyielding?)
Unlike Jones, Davies wrote love poetry and tackled questions of sexuality head-on. His muse is less craggy and much more whimsical, more playful, though it too possesses an underlying seriousness of purpose rooted in the Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation and resurrection. His fine poem with its Greek title "Alethea" ("Truth") from his 1957 verse collection Naw Wfft (So What) expresses the apparent paradox between flesh and spirit memorably:
Nid hoff gan rai yw clywed Am nerth a rhinwedd rhyw. Ond Alathea 'ddywed Mai'r Crewr ydyw Duw. Os siociwyd rhai pan ddaethpwyd Ag oglau'r corff i'm llith, Gwyr hi mai'r Gair a wnaethpwyd Yn gnawd ac hid yn rhith ... (20)
Again, a prose rendering of these jolly verses does no justice at all to the rhyme scheme of the original, but it reads something like this: "Some do not like hearing of the strength and pull of sex, but Alethea claims that our God is its Creator. Others were shocked when I brought the odours of the body into my song, but Alethea knows that the Word was made flesh and not a ghost:' This, too, is a young man's poem, written in 1943 though published a decade-and-a-half later when Pennar Davies, by then a respected pillar of Welsh nonconformity, chose to remind his public that Christian faith does not expunge life, verve, and sensuality but transforms them into something even more vital and risque. The Spirit does not bypass the flesh or repress it but animates it, sanctifies it, and renews it according to God's own good design.
Davies's later verse, especially in his volumes Yr Efrydd o Lyn Cynon (The Cripple from the Cynon Valley)(1961) and Y Tlws yn y Lotws (The Gem in the Lotus) (1971)--he published a final, less successful collection Llef (A Cry) in 1985--is remarkable for its wide learning and recondite allusions. Probably the most erudite Welsh litterateur of his generation, he had the reputation (unlike Jones) of being a "difficult" poet through his system of references more than anything else. "I have frequently been accused, at least by implication" he once said, "of something like polymathic exhibitionism because I have not hesitated to share my reading with my readers" (qtd. in Stephens, AIW 126). Even as a young man, he, along with his colleagues in the Cadwgan Circle of Welsh-language poets during the Second World War, attempted to widen horizons by introducing the latest avant-guard ideas into Welsh literature. The most significant poem in Yr Efrydd o Lyn Cynon, "Cathl i'r Almonwydden" ("Song to the Almond Tree"), combines a basic simplicity of style with a plethora of classical symbols and mythological allusions in order to express a theologically based joi-de-vivre. The almond tree, blossoming as it does in midwinter with a lavish white bloom, is a biblical symbol of renewed promise and hope. All five stanzas have a variation on the same climactic refrain: "And I saw an almond tree ..." This is the poem's penultimate stanza:
Och, Iesu, daw pob atgof am dy boenau Fel alaw lawen i sirioli 'mryd, A'r drewdod erch a gododd at dy ffroenau Fel peraroglau godidoca'r byd. Cans gwelais Sarff yn hyfryd ymgordeddu O amgylch Pren y Bywyd uwch y lli A chlywais dy Golomen yn gwireddu A chin fytholwiw dy addewid di. Do, gwelais almonwydden A'i brig ymwthgar, braf a'i choron wen, Y goeden eofn, lew, y per, balchlwythog bren. (10) (Oh, Jesus, then comes the memory of your passion Like a joyful melody to cheer my mind, And the fearful stink that rose to your nostrils Like the world's most exquisite scent. For I saw a Serpent pleasingly twisting Around the Tree of Life above the swell And I heard your Dove fulfilling With an ever-fitting song, your promise. Yes, I saw an almond tree With its proud, protruding summit and its white crown, The bold, brave, daring, sweetyielding tree.)
Seldom has the sheer joy of life been expressed more memorably in modern Welsh verse than in the five rich stanzas of this remarkable song.
The differences between Jones's often granite-like, biblically blatant, and theologically uncompromising muse, which finds a focus in the atonement and the cross, and Davies's more allusive Christian humanism with its emphasis on God's good creation renewed by the Spirit and bound for wholeness and redemption, are more apparent than real. Both take the flesh, and the redemption of the flesh, with the utmost seriousness. For each, the Spirit is not an insubstantial wraith but that power and presence whereby creation is given hope and glory. The fact that each was a highly innovative poet, wholly in tune with the stark realities, and sometimes tragedies, of his generation, says much of the Christian orthodoxy's ability, even in a secular age, to speak relevantly to the human condition. Let us hope that the wind which blew through mid-twentieth-century Welsh poetry and stirred the imagination and commitment of such exquisite wordsmiths as Saunders Lewis, Waldo Williams, Euros Bowen, and these two as well, will continue to blow, and not only from Llanfair ar y Bryn.
University of Wales, Bangor
Allchin, Donald, and D. Densil Morgan. Sensuous Glory: The Poetic Vision of D. Gwenallt Jones. Norwich, England: Canterbury, 2000.
Davies, Pennar. Cinio'r Cythraul. Dinbych, Wales: Gwasg Gee, 1946.
--. Naw Wfft. Dinbych, Wales: Gwasg Gee, 1957.
--. Yr Efrydd o Lyn Cynon. Llandybie, Wales: Llyfrau'r Dryw, 1961.
--. Y Tlws yn y Lotws. Llandybie, Wales: Llyfrau'r Dryw, 1971.
--. Llef Barddas, 1985.
Elfyn, M., and J. Rowlands, eds. The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry in Translation. Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2003.
Griffiths, J. Gwyn. "Pennar Davies: More Than a Poeta Docus." Triskel Two: Essays on Welsh and Anglo-Welsh Literature. Eds. Sam Adams and Gwilym Rees Hughes. Llandybie, Wales: Christopher Davies, 1973. 111-127.
James, Christine, ed. Cerddi Gwenallt: Y Casgliad Cyflawn. Llandysul, Wales: Gwasg Gomer, 2001.
Jones, Dafydd Glyn. "Welsh Poetry Since 19457 Triskel One: Essays on Welsh and Anglo-Welsh Literature. Eds. Sam Adams and Gwilym Rees Hughes. Llandybie, Wales: Christopher Davies, 1971.43-64.
Lewis, Saunders. Rev. of Modern Welsh Poetry, ed. by Keidrych Rhys. Yr Efrydydd 10 (1946): 53-55.
Llwyd, Alan, ed. Cerddi R. Williams Parry: y casgliad cyflawn 1905-1950. Dinbych, Wales: Gwasg Gee, 1998.
Morgan, D. Densil. "Incarnate Glory: The Spirituality of D. Gwenallt Jones." Celts and Christians: New Approaches to the Religious Traditions of Britain and Ireland, Ed., Mark Atherton. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 2002. 146-68.
--. Pennar Davies. Caerdydd: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 2003.
--. "Mae gen i gred, mae gen i gan:' rhai themau ym marddoniaeth Pennar Davies:' Llen Cymru 28 (2005): 160-77.
Rhys, Keidrych, ed. Modern Welsh Poetry. London: Faber & Faber, 1944.
Stephens, Meic, ed. Artists in Wales. Llandysul, Wales: Gwasg Gomer, 1971.
--. Ed. The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990.
Thomas, M. Wynn. Corresponding Cultures: The Two Literatures of Wales. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1999.
(1) The standard text of Jones's work is from Christine James, who edited Cerddi Gwenallt: Y Casglaid Cyflawn. James's work contains a wealth of editorial detail and textual notes.
(2) For an analysis of these and related themes along with extensive translations of the poems, see Allchin and Morgan, Sensuous Glory: The Poetic Vision of D. Gwenallt Jones; and Morgan, "Incarnate Glory: The Spirituality of D. Gwenallt Jones."
(3) Little has been written recently in English about Pennar Davies's poetry, though M. Wynn Thomas has discussed his novels in Corresponding Cultures: The Two Literatures of Wales, pp. 94-100. The best English-language study remains J. Gwyn Griffiths, "Pennar Davies: More Than a Poeta Docus." For translations of some of Davies's and Jones's poems, see M. Elfyn and J. Rowlands, The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry in Translation. My own biographical study, Pennar Davies, is now available in Welsh; for a study of Davies's poetry, see my article, "'Mae gen i gred, mae gen i grin': rhai themau ym marddoniaeth Pennar Davies."
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|Author:||Morgan, D. Densil|
|Publication:||Christianity and Literature|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2007|
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