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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Poet joins the 'next generation'
Dr Matthew Francis
Dr Francis is simply one of the best
A mid Wales academic says he hopes his inclusion on a list of the 20 best modern poets will be a spur to others.

Matthew Francis, who lectures in creative writing at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, was picked by a panel chaired by poet laureate Andrew Motion.

Dr Francis is included on the Poetry Book Society's list of "next generation poets" for his work over the last 10 years.

Their work will be promoted in bookshops and at literary festivals over the next year.

My work will reach a much wider audience now than I could have hoped
Matthew Francis

Cardiff-based Gwyneth Lewis and Owen Sheers, who was brought up in Abergavenny, are also on the list.

Dr Francis, 47, is the author of two collections of poetry, Blizzard and Dragons.

"This is a fantastic opportunity," said Dr Francis, who works in the university's English department.

"My work will reach a much wider audience now than I could have hoped and the publicity should also attract more creative writing students to the university."

Next generation poets is the successor to 1994's new generation list, which helped launch the careers of some of Britain's best-known poets, including Simon Armitage, Don Paterson and Carol Ann Duffy.

'Published writers'

Dr Francis has been working at the university for a year, having previously lectured at the University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd.

In the past his work has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize and the Welsh Book of the Year award.

Aberystwyth University
Dr Francis lectures in creative writing at Aberystwyth University

"There's an increasingly close link between academia and the literary world," said Dr Francis.

"Students feel that the best way to learn writing is from published writers.

"With luck, some of those in our department will go on to be published writers themselves - there's certainly enough talent there."

Creative writing is expanding at Aberystwyth following the appointment of novelist and poet Jem Poster as professor.

A new PhD begins next year, in addition to the existing BA in English and creative writing and MA in writing process and practice.

A further creative writing appointment is to be made in the department soon.


SEE ALSO:
Under-30s make top UK poets list
05 Jun 04  |  Entertainment
Poet's plea to save manuscripts
06 Feb 04  |  Entertainment


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