Category Archives: Cerddi

Llyfr Newydd ‘The Right of a Voice’

The Right of a Voice

Awdur: Rhys Jones, Lolita Ray

ISBN: 9780953868834 (0953868834)

Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Ebrill 2007
Cyhoeddwr: Tregolwyn Publishing, Y Bont-faen
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 210×150 mm, 76 tudalen

Cyfrol sy’n gywaith ffotograffydd Cymreig a chantores o Sweden.

Adolygiad yn Saesneg

This is a gift of a book, an unassuming treasure that could so easily be overlooked in an age that favours glossy over-packaging and cleverness. The Right of Voice is a collection of poems and photographs that were initially brought together as part of a multimedia event in Pontardawe in 2005. The poems, originally written in Swedish, have been translated into English by the poet, and the photographer has selected images that reflect the voice of each poem.

The charm of both the poems and the pictures lies in their very ordinariness and complementariness: alone, they might attract little attention; together, they are arresting. The photographs are deliciously grainy black-and-white, capturing simple yet striking images from nature and society: leaves and seed heads, sunlight and snow, children playing in the street, a mannequin in a shop window. The accompanying poems are similarly broad-ranging and have the same quality of simplicity. It would be fascinating to read them in the original Swedish, to see how the poet has reworked them so that they still read naturally and fluently in English. The only poem about which I had any misgivings in this respect was ‘Clichés’: clichés are notoriously difficult to translate from one language and culture to another and there are some word combinations here that do not, for me, sit comfortably in English. But I mention this only because it stands out in a collection of poems that work so well in translation. I like the gently oblique poems about loss and bereavement, especially ‘Invisible Angel’ with its notion of metempsychosis: ‘Now you walk/Amongst trees and soil/A piece of your life/Is branch and root.’

The tone of the poems is reminiscent of the short stories collected in A Winter Book, written by the much better-known Swedish writer, Tove Jansson, and similarly illustrated and enhanced by monochrome photographs: words and pictures that capture the everyday and convey its depth of meaning. An honest book that comes from the heart.

Suzy Ceulan Hughes

Adolygiad oddi ar, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.