Menna Elfyn's collection of Welsh and English poems is full of murmurings, such as the need 'to walk the earth as if there's a baby sleeping next door'. "Murmur" is a poetry of meditation, from the reverberations of dead poets to murmurs of the heart which force the poet to dwell on the irregular beat of the poet's lot. Distant sounds too are heard from captivity in a sequence of poems about the last princess of Wales, Catrin Glyndwr, daughter of Owain Glyndwr, who was incarcerated with her children in the Tower of London for over two years until their mysterious death. Fittingly enough, "mur-mur" in Welsh also means "wall-wall", so the book's leitmotif is one that stresses the distance between words and worlds - and the way poetry is a language beyond language which we can sometimes only grasp through sound. Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe's leading poets. Murmur is her first new book since "Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems / Perffaith Nam: Dau Ddetholiad & Cherddi Newydd 1995-2007", and includes translations of poems by Welsh folk hero and poet of peace Waldo Williams (1901-71) which challenge the notion of the Celtic melancholy and testify to a 'hesitant hope'. Her own poems have facing English translations by leading Welsh poets: Elin ap Hywel, Joseph Clancy, Gillian Clarke, Damian Walford Davies and Paul Henry. Murmur is a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation.
'Elfyn is a poet of healing…both compassionate and celebratory. Like a soul doctor she questions and probes, like St Teresa she endures the darkness, but in the end she sings a song which affirms that flawed humanity is indeed perfectible’