The Poetry of Guto'r Glyn
When Tomas ap Dafydd, Abbot of Basingwerk Abbey, asked the poet Tudur Aled who was the best at the ‘cywydd mab’ (poetry praising the nobility), his answer was Guto’r Glyn and, to this day, the critics have been unanimous in their opinion regarding Guto’r Glyn’s poetic genius.
From the fifteenth century to the present day Guto’r Glyn ( c .1435– c. 1493) has been acknowledged as one of the greatest poets – if not the greatest – to sing in the Welsh praise-poetry tradition, a tradition which reaches back to the sixth century. Guto belonged to the period described by Saunders Lewis as ‘y Ganrif Fawr’ (1436–1536), the ‘Great Century’ when this genre of poetry reached its climax. Poets were held in high esteem, and the best of them were much sought after by patrons who were eager to have their virtues as soldiers and generous hosts publicly extolled in verse.
An on-line electronic edition, to be published by 2012, will include an English translation of the poems and notes on key issues of interest (historical and political background, descriptions of artefacts, literary genres, &c.). The website will also provide an insight to life in fifteenth-century Wales, using Guto’r Glyn’s poetry as a starting-point. A printed edition of his poetry and two volumes of scholarly articles will also be published.
A fuller description of the project