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Idris Davies Biography

(1905–53), Gwalia Deserta, The Angry Summer, Tonypandy and Other Poems, Collected Poems, Idris Davies

poems concern verse particular

British poet, born in Rhymney, Monmouthshire. At the age of 14 he became a coal miner. When the mine in which he worked was closed after the General Strike of 1926, he studied at Loughborough College and the University of Nottingham, and subsequently worked as a teacher in London and Rhymney. Gwalia Deserta (1938), his first volume of poetry, contained thirty-six poems thematically unified by their often deeply elegiac concern with South Wales in the 1920s and 1930s. The Angry Summer (1943), his best-known work, consists of fifty poems in rhythmically supple free verse and ballad stanzas; the work presents a richly detailed account of the General Strike and its effects on Davies's native mining valleys, disarming humour and bitter irony tempering its often impassioned social concern. T. S. Eliot wrote of these books that ‘they are the best poetic document I know about a particular epoch in a particular place’. Tonypandy and Other Poems (1945) is a collection of more occasional verse. Collected Poems (1972) is edited by Islwyn Jenkins, whose Idris Davies appeared in 1972.

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