17:00 - 19:00
Professor Matthew Francis
Lectures, talks and seminars
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
The Mabinogi, first circulated in manuscript in the mid-14th century, is a collection of prose tales of love, war and enchantment that may fairly be regarded as the Welsh national epic.
Since the publication of the English translation by Lady Charlotte Guest in the 19th century, it has become popular and influential throughout the world, inspiring many adaptations such as Alan Garner’s Young Adult classic The Owl Service, Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion tetralogy and the recent series of novellas New Stories from the Mabinogion.
Matthew Francis’s treatment is unusual in that it is a narrative poem, part of a growing trend of poetic adaptations of classic texts that includes Ted Hughes’s Tales from Ovid and Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf. He talks about the challenges he faced in adapting this medieval Welsh prose work into an English poem meet the expectations of a contemporary readership.
Matthew Francis is the author of six volumes of poetry, most recently his book-length narrative poem The Mabinogi (Faber, 2017). His first collection, Blizzard, was reissued in 2016, twenty years after its original publication. His poetry has twice been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, and in 2004 he was chosen as one of the Next Generation poets. He is the editor of W.S. Graham’s New Collected Poems, and author of a critical study of Graham, Where the People Are. He has also published two novels and a book of short stories. He lives in Wales with his wife, Creina, and is Professor in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University.