I love these poems about life in post-industrial Wales. I confess my family is from the Rhondda Valley, I know the characters who live in the poetry. It could have been written about any area where 'The pithead baths is a supermarket now', but this is a distinct Welsh voice. And the poems can be funny, ranging from family, relationships and wry observation to anger over the fate of Wales, sometimes all at once. Easy to read, hard to ignore.
'What?!' I said. 'What do you mean, Wales doesn't exist?'
'Sir, do try and calm down,' said Lucille.
'The US Government has simply decided Wales
doesn't exist. You can hardly be surprised.
For God's sake you guys never even made it
to the soccer World Cup finals. But don't worry, sir:
just for the convenience of clients like you, sir,
we've re-created the essential Welsh existence
in a small museum in Kansas. You'll just love it.
Male voice choirs sing Calon Lan,' beamed Lucille,
'as bonneted crones serve cawl-and-Welsh cake surprise,
and there are satellite link-ups with the King of Wales,
Tom Jones and his sister, Catherine Zeta, direct from Wales
via LA. Now, could you please stop crying, sir?'
from In John F. Kennedy International Airport