Merch Perygl, Cerddi 1976-2011 (Poems 1976-2011)

Ever since the pioneering woman poet Menna Elfyn first burst onto the then male-dominated scene 35 years ago she has never failed to delight, stimulate and amaze her readers. Conscious of the wider political significance of her identity as a woman and a Welsh speaker, she locates her own life and experience within the wider context of the struggle against injustice in any form, not only in Wales but around the world.

This new volume, containing new work as well as a selection from each of her earlier collections, reflects not only the evoultion of her own life but also the changes in Welsh society and the wider world, her poetic journey expressed with increasing confidence in her own strong, utterly female, poetic voice. Her subjects are richly varied, from the warmth and passion of human relationships, to the rending grief of a miscarriage, from celebrating the changing seasons to sharp political satire or a meditative spirituality. The mood too, shifts easily from serene to angry or from elegiac to wickedly funny, and the velvet glove often conceals the sharpest of knives.

Celebrating the richness and flexibility of the Welsh language, Menna Elfyn's work draws on an older poetic tradition but never loses its freshness and vitality. These are highly accessible poems, giving pleasure at first reading, but yielding new depths and subtleties on each re-reading. Merch Perygl provides a wideranging, representative selection of work by this well-loved poet.


  • 'Her poems are a testament to the Welsh language itself as an excellent medium for modern literature of the first order.'

    Robert Minhinnick

  • 'She draws you into her world completely. You will forget to get off your train; your tea will grow cold because of her.'

    Siân Melangell Dafydd

Menna Elfyn


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Publication details:

Merch Perygl, Cerddi 1976-2011 (Poems 1976-2011)
Gomer (2011)

Translation rights:

Dylan Williams