Wrapping Up

I feel like I’m in the final stretch of the MA dissertation now since there are only 19 days remaining. All my chapter drafts have been read and approved, so I’ve printed out everything so far to proof a hard copy. Once that is done, and the re-reading is fresh in my head, I’ll draft my conclusion.

Unfortunately, finishing early means I might have to reduce my consumption of sugar-free energy drinks. If Red Bull gives you wings, stopping drinking Red Bull gives you a plummeting sensation and a minor head ache. Not that I can afford actual Red Bull, mind.

Red Bull

24 days

19781 / 20000 words. 99% done!

Good, right?

Oh wait – I still have to write my conclusion. So, not good.

I knew this would happen, but I have loads of time to ‘prune’ my prose down enough to conclude.

I’m taking some time off the thinking side of things to do pagination, footnotes and pruning. After it has had some time to bed down my conclusion should be clearer.

I’m struggling not to continue to add new commentary and read more material, since the prose is already pretty packed. This video, however, is pretty interesting. I wish more UK universities would make use of social media.

‘greedy for form’

I’m back to work on my final chapter which looks at form in far more detail than I’ve been able to do elsewhere.

The work is fiddly, intensive and at times very difficult – but since so much contemporary poetry is prosaic in that it uses full sentence constructions, the formal technique is what differentiates poetry from prose. As such, this is possibly the most important chapter – hence why it is last, and why it will hopefully tie up all the themes from previous chapters.

792 hours

The draft of chapter 3 is complete today, which means I can have a weekend that is (almost) guilt free listening to music in Victoria Park with people in wellington boots of many colours.

The end feels like it is in sight now. I’m trying to ignore the niggling feeling that my last chapter is the one with the most emphasis on the more fiddly aspects of form and will require hours scribbling nonsensical notes on my copy of Chaotic Angels.

The deadline is 33 days away, or 792 hours.

15616 / 20000 words. 78% done!

What a life....


Tonight I emailed my draft of chapter two off – so now I can sit tight and wait for comments on that.

Something I touched on this chapter is the use of place names – and this is something that provokes a lot of notice in criticism of Welsh writing. It leads me nicely to my next chapter which is provisionally titled ‘Beyond Wales’ – where I hope to stop chasing the tail of language politics at last.

Craig Y Foelallt, Llandewi BrefiCraig Y Foelallt

‘From Craig y Foelallt I can see it all’
Gwyneth Lewis, ‘Welsh Espionage X’

Bangor Pier, Wales

Bangor Pier, Wales

‘The wind on Bangor Pier draws tears
to my eyes as I tread out along each plank’
Gwyneth Lewis, ‘The Pier’

News Flash

I interrupt my morning’s writing to report that 29 words back I passed a milestone worthy of comment…

10029 / 20000 words. 50% done!

This also marks over 3000 words in my second chapter, which is good going.

Why minority languages are important to people other than those who speak them

As usual, Lewis clarifies my thoughts better than I can.

I’ve been conscious throughout my research that a Northern Irish person who doesn’t speak Welsh and is thus incapable of accessing half the influences and inferences in Welsh writing in English may be an inadequate critic. This has been exacerbated by my bewilderment in reading signs around Aberystwyth which are in Welsh, then English – a momentary feeling of foreignness in a town that doesn’t feel far removed from my coastal upbringing in Bangor, Co. Down.

‘Well, we’re all obsessed with language. But what I have been trying to do is explore why minority languages are important to people other than those who speak them. Because I think they show us the nature of language in an extreme situation. I think what can be learned from the decline of the Welsh language is not a minority issue, it’s actually a language issue.’
Kathryn Gray, ‘Gwyneth Lewis in America’, New Welsh Review, 70 (2005), pp. 8-13 (p. 12).[Emphasis mine]

Very true.

‘Dispatch from Aberystwyth’

‘This spying trip so far a great success’

Gwyneth Lewis, ‘Welsh Espionage III, Dispatch from Aberystwyth’, Chaotic Angels, p. 42.

I’m currently in the North Reading Room of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth as part of my AHRC-funded study visit. The building itself is mighty imposing, revealed behind a field of sheep after a steep climb.

While I’m here I’m using the periodicals that have articles and book reviews about Lewis’ work and interviews with her. There are also some multimedia materials (often recorded off BBC Wales, where Lewis worked) and books on more general poetic and Welsh themes.

Some of the reading has already proved useful – especially for the remaining two chapters. One article too offered a reading of ‘Welsh Espionage V’ that is much more convincing than anything else I’ve read so far, and which connects with the reading I’ve already completed in my first chapter. In the re-draft I’ll be sure to make reference to it.

The fish and chips aren’t bad either.

‘I know too little and still feel too much

to be able to make a full report.

Project needs more research. Will keep in touch.’

Gwyneth Lewis, ‘Welsh Espionage III, Dispatch from Aberystwyth’, Chaotic Angels, p. 42.

Seagulls in Aberystwyth
Seagulls in Aberystwyth

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