Richard Gwyn

Richard Gwyn grew up in Breconshire, Wales. Following several years in London, he spent the 1980s travelling, much of which is recorded in his memoir, The Vagabond’s Breakfast, which won a Wales Book of the Year award in 2012. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Stowaway (2018), and three novels. Both his prose and poetry have been widely translated. His work as a translator from Spanish includes The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America (2016). He is Professor of Creative Writing at Cardiff University and is the author of Ricardo Blanco’s Blog.

Photo: Daniel Mordzinski


Breakfast at the Poetry Café: A Conversation in Translation »

Sun 10 March | 10:00 - 11:00 | £4.75/£3.75 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre

Border Crossings »

Reading: Richard Gwyn, Arne Rautenberg, Ken Cockburn

Sun 10 March | 14:15 - 15:15 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Undercroft, St John's House, South Street


The Names

I meet them in transit, in cheerless bars or dosshouses,
on canal walkways, in overgrown cemeteries.
Twitchy, sweating males; women following a dress code
from a fictional culture. Sun-streaked, matted locks,
army vests, cargo pants, pockets stuffed with dope
and string, pebbles, seaweed, chewing gum;
mouths poised in circumvention, never prone to the least
promiscuous truth-telling. Waiting for a dead dog alibi,
waiting, always waiting for drug deals never actioned.
At Saloníki station I watch them swigging wine from
plastic flagons; bodies crowd the shiny marble floor.
And later, at the platform bar, there’s one customer,
left ear missing, scraggy mongrel on a string. Talks
of chicks messing with his head. And without warning
slides from his stool like a sack of pans and comes to earth,
legs splayed, good ear glued to the ground,
muttering names: Ananke, Mnemosyne, Antigone.

Richard Gwyn

From Stowaway: A Levantine Adventure (Seren, 2018)