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Garlick, Raymond

GARLICK, Raymond


Nationality: British. Born: London, 21 September 1926. Education: University College of North Wales, Bangor, 1944–48, B.A. (honors) in philosophy and English literature 1948. Family: Married Elin Jane Hughes in 1948; one son and one daughter. Career: Taught in Wales, 1948–59, and the Netherlands, 1960–67. Senior lecturer in English, 1967–72, and director of Welsh Studies and principal lecturer, 1972–86, Trinity College, Carmarthen. Founding editor, Dock Leaves, later The Anglo-Welsh Review, Pembroke Dock, 1949–60. Awards: Welsh Arts Council prize, 1969, 1973, 1977. D.Litt.: Central College, 1998. Honorary fellow of Trinity College, Carmarthen; fellow of the Welsh Academy. Address: 26 Glannant House, College Road, Carmarthen SA31 3EF, Wales.

Publications

Poetry

Poems from the Mountain-House. London, Fortune Press, 1950.

Requiem for a Poet. Pembroke Dock, Dock Leaves Press, 1954.

Poems from Pembrokeshire. Pembroke Dock, Dock Leaves Press, 1954.

The Welsh-Speaking Sea. Pembroke Dock, Dock Leaves Press, 1954.

Blaenau Observed. Pembroke Dock, Dock Leaves Press, 1957.

Landscapes and Figures: Selected Poems 1949–63. London, Merrythought Press, 1964.

A Sense of Europe: Collected Poems 1954–1968. Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1968.

A Sense of Time: Poems and Antipoems 1969–1972. Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1972.

Incense: Poems 1972–1975. Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1976.

Collected Poems 1946–1986. Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1987.

Travel Notes: New Poems. Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1992.

Recording: Poets of Wales series, Argo.

Other

An Introduction to Anglo-Welsh Literature. Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1970; revised edition, 1972.

Anglo-Welsh Literature. Port Talbot, Alun, 1979.

Editor, Poetry from Wales. Brooklyn, Poetry Book Magazine, 1954.

Editor, with Roland Mathias, Anglo-Welsh Poetry 1480–1980. Bridgend, Glamorgan, Poetry Wales Press, 1984; Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, Dufour, 1985.

Editor, The Hymn to the Virgin. Newtown, Powys, Gwasg Gregynog, 1985.

*

Bibliography: In A Bibliography of Anglo-Welsh Literature, 1900-1965 by Brynmor Jones, Swansea, Library Association, 1970.

Manuscript Collection: National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Critical Studies: "The Poetry of Raymond Garlick" by John Hill, in The Anglo-Welsh Review (Pembroke Dock), summer 1972; statement by the author, in Artists in Wales 2, edited by Meic Stephens, Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1973; Anthony Conran, in Poetry Wales (Swansea), winter 1977, and The Cost of Strangeness by Conran, Llandysul, Dyfed, Gomer, 1982; Tony Bianchi, in Planet (Llangeitho, Dyfed), November 1977; Raymond Garlick, The Writers of Wales series, by Don Dale Jones, Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 1995.

Raymond Garlick comments:

Major themes: Wales and Europe, landscapes and figures, justice and nonviolence, art and time. Preoccupation with English as a language of Wales, clarity of communication, poetry as structure and shape. General influence: Anglo-Welsh poetry from the late fifteenth century onwards. Since 1988 a preoccupation with travel and with making poems out of it, especially out of sites of Greek antiquity.

*  *  *

Raymond Garlick is a central figure in Anglo-Welsh literature. In 1949 he founded Dock Leaves, later The Anglo-Welsh Review, a magazine that was to present the best writing from Wales. He is committed to the concept of Anglo-Welsh literature, and through his editorship and other critical writings he has been a major contributor to the growth of interest and debate about the Welsh tradition of writing in English. His Introduction to Anglo-Welsh Literature is a useful survey of the tradition.

Garlick's Collected Poems 1954–1968 carries the title A Sense of Europe, and the book emphasizes both the poet's seven years of teaching in Holland and his commitment to Europe as an entity, expressing real values and underlying unities. That said, for Garlick his adopted country of Wales is the focus of his ideas and their expression in poetry. He has learned Welsh and lives in the Welsh-speaking town of Carmarthen. His has been one of the strongest literary voices in promoting Welsh nationalism, and he castigates the old enemy England at every opportunity, as in "Waterloo":

   I didn't know before
   that any Dutch were near the place.
   I'd always thought it was
   just French and Prussians face to face—
   and the English of course,
   that other violent race.

As Garlick says at the end of A Sense of Europe, "My poems / are speeches, / clumsy speeches for Wales" ("Clues"). The implications of this self-proclamation are profound: the political poet is invariably more political than poet. Certainly there are "poems and antipoems" in A Sense of Europe that fail as pieces of writing because the poetic structure and invention are swamped by the anger of the politics. In one such poem, "Passion 72," the Welsh Language Society protesters are spoken of in terms of Christ: "The police / are always with us, / Roman, Dyfed-Powys, / and the Passion / unfolds before us / in unchanging fashion." Many readers would find such extremity in the writing to be ludicrous. How much more controlled and effective are poems such as "View from Llansteffan" and "Agincourt." This is the dilemma facing the politically committed writer. Whether or not one is carried along by his anger, however, Garlick is clearly to be viewed as one of the most interesting of poets in Wales.

Tony Curtis

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