|The extraordinary interior of Hedd Wyn's house|
I have to confess that I'd never heard of the Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn, before. But our volunteer Katrina Williams told me about him yesterday. He was a very promising young poet - but killed on the Western Front in World War 1. He was born in north Wales. Here's the blurb from the BBC. Katrina, who is Welsh herself, says it's fascinating to see the 'black chair' mentioned here. You can catch up with this - all being well - on these links:
"The story of Hedd Wyn is one of Wales's enduring tragedies.
A young man with little or no education succeeds in winning
The Chair, one of the main literary prizes at the National
Eisteddfod, but is killed in WWI before he could claim his
prize. To mark the centenary of his death, National Poet of
Wales Ifor ap Glyn reassesses Wyn's life and work.
His journey takes him from Trawsfynydd, where Hedd wyn was
born and raised, to Liverpool, where he was trained to
fight, and onwards to France and Belgium, where he was
killed in action on 31 July 1917.
Ifor visits Hugh Hayley, one of Britain's leading furniture
conservators, to gain an insight into the remarkable
woodcarvings embedded into the ancient oak of Wyn's Black
Chair. In France and Belgium, Ifor retraces the poet's
final weeks, days and minutes. His successful poem, aptly
titled Yr Arwr (The Hero), was finished and sent from the
trenches, and his florid yet absorbing letters from the
front seem to paint a picture of a young man who still felt
the creative urge, amidst all that went on around him.
Featuring fascinating first-hand accounts, interviews
recorded during the 1960s and 1970s with family and
friends, and contemporary archive material from WWI, Ifor
reassesses the poet's legacy. Why does this story continue
to fascinate us so? What would Hedd Wyn have achieved had
he lived? Maybe these are questions that can never be fully
answered, but one thing is for certain, Hedd Wyn's legacy