A Militant Muse
Harri Webb (1920-1994) was not only one of the most popular poets in Wales but also a plangent cultural commentator. He wrote extensively on literary and political subjects for more than three decades, in the Western Mail and several magazines.
Writing from the political left (be it the Labour Party or Plaid Cymru), Harri Webb was impatient with the Welsh Establishment and the London Welsh and his tone was often critical. The hallmark of his essays and reviews was a pungent style designed to provoke. The selection here dates from the post-war optimism of 1948 and an essay on the perennial issue of a national theatre for Wales to 1980 and an article for the Radio Times on pit closures. By this time Webb, deflated by the Devolution referendum vote, had begun to despair that the changes he sought would ever be made. In between these two dates Webb’s essays chart many of the cultural debates taking place in his country, debates to which he made a telling and entertaining contribution.