March 24, 2013

Interview w/ Poet Byron Beynon

1. Who or what inspired you to write poetry? 
As a teenager I met the poet, critic, and tutor Raymond Garlick who led me to discover the works of George Herbert, David Jones, Idris Davies, Glyn Jones, Dylan Thomas, Leslie Norris and R S Thomas. Listening to him speak about these writers was an inspirational and illuminating experience. Garlick had fascinating recollections of other writers. He met Dylan Thomas a month or so before his death in 1953, and described him to me as gentle, modest, humble, a dedicated poet. He also spoke of Roy Campbell's poetry as having a stronger influence on his own apprentice efforts than anybody else's. Garlick was impressed by Campbell's exact craftsmanship, his striking imagery, the almost crystalline quality of his verse. Childhood and the sense of place, and the celebration of particular landscapes, have also been important to me and my writing. I was brought up an only child in a village by the Carmarthenshire sea in Wales, and my parents still live in the house where I grew up.
2. Do you have a favorite place to write? 
In adulthood I have led a rather peripatetic life, living and working in London, Norway, France, Australia, and several places in Wales. Therefore, wherever I happen to be living, I try to enter that room or place of imagination.
3. Who are your favorite poets, alive or deceased? 
Poets who I continue to read and enjoy include John Donne, Henry Vaughan, the Romantics (especially John Keats) Charles Baudelaire, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Marina Tsvetaeva, Idris Davies, R S Thomas, Dylan Thomas, John Ormond and Tony Harrison.
4. What five words best sum up your personality? 
Self-motivated, caring, reflective, observant, humane.
5. Other than writing, what else do you love to do? 
I have always enjoyed walking (luckily, because I've never driven a car). I also enjoy looking at paintings, listening to music, reading of course, and visiting places associated with writers and painters.
6. What are your current, and/or next projects? 
I have been invited to read at the Presteigne Festival (in mid-Wales) later this year. I am also working on a new collection and a series of essays on Welsh writers who write in English, plus the relationship between poetry and art (after a lecture I gave on the subject). I was co-editor for several years of Roundyhouse poetry magazine, and sometime in the future I would like to edit an online magazine. Maybe as editor or co-editor of a Transatlantic poetry magazine/journal.
7. Where can we reach you? 
I can be reached at

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