Yesterday, I had a great day in Cardiff with Gwyneth Lewis. She was a very generous subject with her time and hospitality. I had plenty of burning questions, so we spoke for over 40 minutes specifically relating to my research.
Before getting down to business, Gwyneth took me to the Wales Millennium Centre – and it was sort of surreal to have her pointing out where the builders had first hung ‘F OFf’ during construction. I’ve only ever passed through Cardiff on the train to the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, so it was nice to have places pointed out.
Parts of the interview reinforced my existing research direction, but I also came away with plenty to think about too. And, the interview will be published in the first issue of New Walk magazine in October – I expect readers of that will find Lewis’ thoughts on poetic form and culture enlightening.
Some extracts that particularly connect with my research as it stands:
gender is certainly of interest because I think there are differences of magnetic fields in relation to your language; the polarity is different somehow because of the different social situations.
The only thing I would insist on is being seen in multiple contexts.
Do you think one of these contexts would be in terms of gender?
For sure. Probably just as primary as language, although it is a very difficult area to articulate
[Welsh form in English-language poetry] is a way of speaking both languages at once without relinquishing either, but without becoming incomprehensible to both
The poet’s revenge is to force an assimilation of an area that has been rejected by the centre because what after all is English but an illusion, a force that picks up dust everywhere.
I always think of poems as performances […] You have to be able to put on the clothes and see what happens.