Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ned Thomas - The Welsh Extremist ( free P.D.F) / Supermarket ( a poem).

When this 'little red ' book of the Welsh ' Seventies first appeared it was widely and favourably recieved.
A tremendous book with so much range, I  remember a battered copy someone gave me back in the 1980's, now long replaced with 1991 re-issue, still rather battered at the edges, but that's what a well thumbed book looks like. This classic of Welsh polemics is is now available free as a P.D.F from Cymdeithas y Iaith's homepage ( The Welsh Language Society) . Still essential and valid.
Niall Griffiiths a writer I admire, said of it " Non fiction, and frightening, not because of its promotion of militancy,heck no, but because of its revelations and clear analysis concerning the insiduous and evil hegemonic takeover of whole countries, and their ways of life. It still speaks on behalf off all oppressed nations and the individual creative effort threatened by the barren swamp of enforced uniformity.As vital now as it was in the 70's, and as important as Franz Fanon's, The Wretched of the Earth. Endorsed by Raymond Williams, and he knew a thing or two.
 A grasp of contemporary theories that were well ahead of their time, a book inevitably tied up with my nations language, a place of roads ,so to speak where for many the issue of identity and language are inseparable.  But Mr Thomas ( who went on to found  'Planet', by the way, one of Wales's leading cultural and literary magazines) in his clarity, manages to pass on his  strong message, realising Welsh themes abut setting them free into an internationalist socialist context. Perhaps it is time that our collective consiousness are reawakened,and radicalised the energy is there, the flame still burns,..
Link here

and interesting piece here as well

He was also a fine poet too.

Supermarket - a poem by Ned Thomas

Sometimes I think I would like a spell in prison
In a humane country, for a political offence;
Somewhere where the library service is efficient
Or Scandinavia, where the wives come in at weekends.

But better still in nineteenth-century Russia
To be exiled from the capital with friends,
And between the talk and drink to write the scriptures
Of our blinding human future without end.

To live rough and die fighting is also an ideal
(Guevara testifies) not yet out of date,
Like the soft cities to the high sierra, our trivial
Existence to the life we contemplate,

And the peasant ways are comely whatever you say
About hardship and early death. Ripe apples are stored
For the winter, no visiting stranger pays
For his wine, and the year goes round as before.

Choosing identities in a mad supermarket
(O packaged metaphor, bring me to a decision)
Good poets go home and wryly dig the garden.
Sometimes I think I shouyld like a spell in prison.

Poetry Wales
Volume 5 Winter 1969

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