The Book of Taliesin

The Book of Taliesin

The great work of Welsh literature, translated in full for the first time in over 100 years by two of its country's foremost poets.

Tennyson portrayed him, and wrote at least one poem under his name. Robert Graves was fascinated by what he saw as his work's connection to a lost world of deeply buried folkloric memory.

He is a shapeshifter; a seer; a chronicler of battles fought, by sword and with magic, between the ancient kingdoms of the British Isles; a bridge between old Welsh mythologies and the new Christian theology; a 6th-century Brythonic bard; and a legendary collective project spanning the centuries up to The Book of Taliesin's compilation in 14th-century North Wales.

He is, above all, no single 'he'.

The figure of Taliesin is a mystery. But of the variety and quality of the poems written under his sign, of their power as exemplars of the force of ecstatic poetic imagination, and of the fascinating window they offer us onto a strange and visionary world, there can be no question.

In the first volume to gather all of the poems from The Book of Taliesin since 1915, Gwyneth Lewis and Rowan Williams's accessible translation makes these outrageous, arrogant, stumbling and joyful poems available to a new generation of readers.

A Poetry Book Society Recommendation

'Rowan Williams and Gwyneth Lewis have produced a scintillating version of the strange and riddling works of the ancient masterpiece... It's a great contribution to the culture of Wales, a fascinating read, and surely will prove to be the seedbed of many novels and poems of the future.
Selected as a Book of the Decade by Catherine Fisher for Wales Arts Review.

'As one would expect from two such distinguished poets, they have produced versions that succeed as poetry, and have allowed Taliesin yet another metamorphosis.'
Matthew Francis, Times Literary Supplement.

'As befits such experienced poet-translators, the results are vivid and contemporary... This is an evocative, provocative resource.'
Fiona Sampson, Guardian Review.

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