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Tony Conran’s final group of poem symphonies was published as an Agenda Edition in June 2016.
Here he explores life, love, theology, creation, creativity and even historical themes using a wide range of poetic and imaginative techniques. The three symphonies complement and contrast with each other and show the poet still at the height of his imaginative power. The imagery draws on science, religion, family life (in 'The Magi'), work (in 'Fabrics'), the poetic and creative experience (in 'Everworlds'); displaying humour, wonder and compassion for the human predicament.
In his perceptive introduction to the poetry Jeremy Hooker writes:
‘Three Symphonies draws on their maker’s life-story, but as part of the story of life itself, and with an objectivity that subsumes personal emotion in a larger rendering of human experience in relation to the natural and divine creation. What Conran enacts in these poems is a sacred drama.’
Published with the support of the Welsh Books Council.
WHAT BRINGS YOU HERE SO LATE
2008, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Paperback, 215x138 mm
A single autobiographical poem in the form of an ironic quest epic, divided into four symphonic movements. Conran movingly evokes what it was like growing up as a child with cerebral palsy in wartime Wales, then being a student, poet and Catholic in Bangor, struggling with his place in the social world against the backdrop of the Thatcher years, coming to accept the nearness of death in the third movement and finally undergoing spinal surgery to halt increasing paralysis.
Buy: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
THE RED SAP OF LOVE collected lyrics 1951-2000
2006, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Paperback, 213x137 mm, 237 pages
This outstanding collection traces Tony Conran’s progress over half a century as a lyric poet. From early exhuberance to mature reflexion, it draws together the social and the sacred, the tragic and the hilarious. It includes the memorial poem to the poet RS Thomas.
Buy: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Eros Proposes a Toast
This 'Collected Public Poems and Gifts' includes poems composed for specific occasions and to accompany gifts to friends as well as the moving ‘Elegy for the Welsh Dead’. The poems are modernist and experimental in form while drawing on the Welsh tradition of praise and celebration from which Conran was an acclaimed translator.
Buy: Seren Books
Tony Conran is widely seen as the finest translator of poetry from the Welsh. He was the translator of The Penguin Book of Welsh Verse (1967), for which he wrote an Introduction which was influential in introducing Welsh Bardic Poetry to a much wider audience. The book was extensively revised and expanded when reissued as Welsh Verse by Poetry Wales Press (subsequently Seren) in 1986 and 1992. His fine translations of Waldo Williams’s poetry, Peacemakers, was published by Gomer in 1997.
Conran also translated poetry from other languages including Latin, French and Italian and his Eighteen Poems of Dante Alighieri was published in a fine edition by Tern Press in 1975 with engravings by Nicholas Parry. Tern Press also published a small edition of 4 translations of Dafydd ap Gwilym in a parallel text, again with engravings in 1984.
Seren are planning to reprint Welsh Verse in 2017. Sadly Peacemakers is out of print but second-hand copies are available on Amazon and E Bay. See below for brief information about these works.
1986, 1992 Seren Books
Translations of a selection from fourteen centuries of Welsh poetry, from the epics of Taliesin and Aneirin to today’s poets: Gwyn Thomas and Nesta Wyn Jones. En route he takes in sagas and carols, hymns and strict metres, Romantics and the socially aware. Translations include Cynddelw, Owain Gwynedd, Dafydd ap Gwilym, Anne Griffiths, Pantecelyn, T.Gwynn Jones, Williams Parry and his cousin Parry-Williams, Saunders Lewis, Gwenallt and Waldo Williams. There is also a guide to the intricacies of Welsh metres.
1997, Gomer Press
Tony Conran’s fine translations and introduction to the poems of Waldo Williams illustrate the vision, with both its joy and suffering, of one who was both a great poet and one of the best-loved people in Welsh Wales.
FRONTIERS IN ANGLO-WELSH POETRY
1997, University of Wales Press
This study traces the impact of their social and cultural backgrounds on the lives and work of Anglo-Welsh poets including Gerard Manley Hopkins, R.S. Thomas, David Jones, Dylan Thomas, John Ormond, John Tripp and Raymond Garlick.
VISIONS AND PRAYING MANTIDS
1997 Gomer Press
A compelling compilation of critical and autobiographical essays. His different talents – as poet, dramatist, translator and critic – are demonstrated in these essays to be closely inter-related.
BRANWEN and other dance dramas and plays
2003, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
148x210 mm, 300 pages
A compelling collection of plays, with plots taken from the Mabinogion. Branwen is the one full-length drama in this collection of plays (from 1980-1995). All are in Tony Conran’s distinctive poetic style, using ancient myth and modern politics to illuminate each other; many also use dance and song as the main or a major part of the action.
Buy: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch