Gwrthryfel / Uprising takes us on a journey to the heart of Cymru. Edited by Merthyr writer Mike Jenkins, co-editor of ‘Red Poets’ magazine, with artwork by Gus Payne, this ambitious anthology of radical poetry explores Cymru’s history, hardships, rebellions and resistances. The book is sponsored by Merthyr Trades Council, the GMB union, and Left Unity Cymru.
It opens with three poems directly about the 1831 Rising, ‘an extremely significant working-class revolt” according to Professor Gwyn A. Williams. A range of historical and current themes are covered in the anthology, by eighty poets including Kitty Jay, Phil Howells, Malcolm Llywelyn, Rebecca Lowe, Alun Rees, Laura Wainwright, John Williams, and many others. There are also a number of poems in Welsh by renowned poets such as Ifor ap Glyn and Menna Elfyn.
It is an anthology of and for our troubled times.
Here, rebellious poets draw from that common history, common culture, and common desire to speak truth to the world, showing that we, the people of Wales, y werin Gymreig, have the fire of dragons in our words. Through these words the reader is taken from coal mines to political discourse, from coronavirus to historic heroes, from mountains to valleys, through towns, villages and cities. Words dug from mines, hewn from quarries, herded from hillsides and forged from furnaces—here be dragons.
Here are 21st century bards using the ancient magic of poetry to bring home the fight—the fight against imperialism, against injustice, against discrimination. Not just in Cymru, but the world over.
Why? Because an injury to one is an injury to all / un yn dioddef, pawb yn dioddef.
— from the Foreword by Peter Jones
Gwrthryfel / Uprising: An anthology of radical poetry from contemporary Wales, edited by Mike Jenkins, £12 inc. p. and p., 180pps., 4 colour illustrations, ISBN 978-1-912710-48-5.