A FORMER Aberystwyth University student has won the prestigious Crown at this year’s National Eisteddfod for her collection of poems.
Cambrian News reported “Catrin Dafydd impressed judges Christine James, Ifor ap Glyn and Damian Walford Davies with her poem, not in strict metre of no more than 250 lines, on the theme of Olion (Traces).
The three adjudicators agreed on the five collections of poems which reached the top in this year’s competition.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow judges, Ms James said: “Although not totally unanimous on every poet’s ‘rank’ in the competition, it was pretty clear that we agreed on which were the best.”
And although each one also “fell below their own high standards at times”, the adjudicators also agreed that three of the five were worthy of winning this year’s Crown, with the collection written by Yma – Catrin’s pseudonym – coming top.
“The theme of this collection is the ‘mixed’ Welshness of Grangetown – the area over the river from this year’s Eisteddfod. The poet introduces us to a community of characters set on a ‘map’ of local streets, through a series of dramatic monologues,” the judges said.
“Yma can write tenderly, but as the poem Jentriffiecshyn shows, the poet can also write in a tongue-in-cheek style, raising questions about what exactly happens when Welsh speakers ‘colonise’ areas of the city.
“This is a timely and appealingly hopeful collection by a poet who is an eloquent interpreter for our capital city’s lively and mixed Welshness.”
Originally from Gwaelod y Garth, Catrin graduated at Aberystwyth University, where she was President of the Welsh language union UMCA from 2003-04. She now lives in Cardiff and works as part of the Pobol y Cwm writing team.
She has written five novels, with the latest, Gwales, winning this year’s Fiction Prize in the Welsh Language Book of the Year competition. Her other novels are Pili Pala, Y Tiwniwr Piano, Random Deaths and Custard and Random Births and Love Hearts.
She edited both Tu Chwith and Dim Lol magazines, and in 2011 she was among a group of young poets who set up the Bragdy’r Beirdd evenings in Cardiff.
She is an active member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg and other groups, and is a member of the team promoting Diwrnod Shw’mae Sumae, promoting the fact that the Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales.
Catrin said she is grateful to her partner, Dyfed, for the conversations, the laughter and for encouraging her to keep writing the poems over the long winter months” here.