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A walk through Rhymney


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:: Stage 1 of 13 :: Rhymney to Tredegar Walk

Idris Davis


It has been strongly argued by some critics that Idris Davies is one of the most important working-class poets to have ever written in English, although as a child his first language was Welsh.

I lost my native language
For the one the Saxon spake
By going to school in order
For education's sake

His poems embrace themes like those of the experience of the mining communities of South Wales during the 'angry summer' of 1926 and the long economic depression of the 1930s

Davies lived a relatively short life between the years of 1905 and 1953. He was born in Field Street, Rhymney and, on leaving school, he went to work underground in the Abertysswg colliery. However, the colliery was closed following the 1926 General Strike but subsequently Davies passed the right exams in night school and trained as a teacher at Loughborough College and the University of Nottingham.

Having qualified, he went on to work as a teacher in London, although he continued to write poems in his spare time - mostly in English but sometimes in Welsh.

Davies had begun writing poetry in the 1920s and several of his works were published during the 1930s in a variety of journals. His first volume of poems, 'Gwalia Deserta' (1938), focused on the impact of the Depression in South Wales. A second volume, 'The Angry Summer' (1943) is one long poem which documents the experiences of the South Wales industrial communities during the 1926 General Strike


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