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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Wales' new national poet is named
Professor Gwyn Thomas (Picture by Owain Llyr,  Academi)
Prof Thomas is professor of Welsh at Bangor University
A professor of Welsh from Bangor University has been named as the man to follow in the footsteps of Wales's first national poet.

Gwyn Thomas will take over from Gwyneth Lewis, who wrote the inscription on the front of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

The poet, writer and academic said he would use the role to draw attention to the work of Welsh poets.

He said: "It's an enormous privilege, but it will also mean a lot of work."

The national poet holds the role for one year, with their works in English or Welsh read at ceremonial and official occasions.

Gwyneth Lewis became the first national poet in 2005.

Her successor, Prof Thomas, was born in 1936 at Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog, and is now the Emeritus Professor of Welsh at the University of Wales, Bangor.

The first term under Gwyneth Lewis was extremely successful and it helped to raise the status of poetry in Wales
Peter Finch, Academi chief executive

Prof Thomas has published 16 volumes of poetry, several volumes of work as a literary and cultural critic and has also translated the Mabinogion into English.

Prof Thomas is also involved with the film industry in Wales, and has helped pioneer techniques to combine poetry and film.

He said: "I would like to see the media give only five minutes a week on the radio, or television for poets to read their work.

"Listening to the one who has written the words reading them is more worthwhile than an actor or recitor saying them," he added.

Prof Thomas said he hopes to "draw attention to the poets of Wales and their work, and try to show that poetry is a unique medium to respond to the world in which we live".

The national poet role is administered by Academi, the Welsh writing body.

Gwyneth Lewis (picture Tim Brett)
Gwyneth Lewis was Wales' first national poet

Peter Finch, Academi's Chief Executive, said: "The first term under Gwyneth Lewis was extremely successful and it helped to raise the status of poetry in Wales.

"I would like to congratulate Gwyn Thomas for the appointment and we look forward another successful year."

As national poet, Prof Thomas will be reading and discussing his work in public, as well as writing poems for significant national events and occasions.

He will be "in conversation" with his predecessor Gwyneth Lewis at the Lloyd George Museum in Llanystumdwy on 27 July.

A Poet Laureate for Wales?
08 Nov 99 |  Wales

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