'Welsh Retrospective' is a selection of poems about his native Wales by one of Britain’s most popular poets. Dannie Abse’s Welsh and Jewish backgrounds have been essential to his writings. Wales and Cardiff, in particular, have haunted his imagination. In this revealing new book he writes movingly about the Cardiff of his childhood, home of his beloved Bluebirds football team, and also about the small village of Ogmore-by-Sea, location of early holidays and for many years his home in Wales. Selected from the whole of Dannie Abse’s writing career, the book includes such well known and well-loved poems as ’Return to Cardiff’ and ’In the Theatre’ alongside many previously uncollected poems. Abse’s range is remarkable. Vivid character portraits of Aunt Alice and Cousin Sidney sit next to tributes to poet predecessors, Dylan Thomas and Vernon Watkins. Some poems draw on Jewish writings, others on Welsh language literature. Welsh Retrospective gives fascinating insights into Dannie Abse’s Wales and his versatility as a poet. His Wales is anything but parochial, his poems effortlessly universal. Every reader will be struck by a poet who has a gift for accepting mortality with wise optimism. The book is edited by Cary Archard who provides an introduction and notes on the poems.
Listen to Dannie Abse read his poem, ‘Return to Cardiff’: