David Lloyd’s father was born and raised in Corris and has driven through many times. He visited his family home, Bryn Hyfryd, last summer. David is a poet, widely published in Wales and the US (he has a story in the current issue of the Lampeter Review), and has written many poems and stories set in/relating to/referencing Corris. He is a well-regarded scholar/critic of English language Welsh poetry and fiction (publishing books, articles and reviews), and is currently working on Brenda Chamberlain (he just gave a paper on Chamberlain’s poetry at an academic conference of Welsh scholars in Canada).
David Lloyd on his Stiwdio Maelor residency:
I spent eleven days as a writer in residence at Stiwdio Maelor during November, 2014. My writing studio was on the second floor, with a window facing the village church, on to a field with grazing sheep and a tractor, and up to Mynydd Braich-goch, one of many mountains often shrouded in mist in this mountainous region. Typically, I wrote and revised each morning at the desk by the window, with a break for lunch, then more writing and reading in early afternoon, followed by walks before a meal at the next door Slater’s Arms or at Tafarn Dwynant in the nearby village of Ceinws. Sometimes we made dinner in the Stiwdio Maelor kitchen. At that time I was working on poems for a new collection, and my writing, revision, and reading related to that manuscript. An extraordinary feature of the residency for me is that my father was born in the village of Corris, where Stiwdio Maelor is located, so I was a five-minute walk from the house in which he grew up. My walks around the village took me past that house, by the site of the chapel my father’s family attended (now a parking lot) and the cemetery where relatives are buried, along streets where he and his parents (whom I never met) walked. I had visited Corris in years past but acquired no real sense of what the village was like, beyond a blur of slate, narrow streets, looming mountains. Stiwdio Maelor provided me with the concentrated time I needed to further my writing – within a stunning landscape, an ancient culture, and a fascinating village. Here’s a poem set in Wales, from my last book, Warriors:
Bomber Over Carreg Cennen
The bomber’s spray is more than the bomber
to children who point at the script near the sun,
knowing this writer writes to them.
For the faster-than-speech bomber,
lines don’t make words; words make barriers.
The world of words doesn’t spin in space
but thrashes like a fish in a barrel.
From crosshairs, mountains are creases
on a child’s blanket; rivulets
are spigots for a spoiled garden,
and the stones of Carreg Cennen only building blocks toppled
by a careless arm.
The patched and repatched walls speak
of pikes and blades, gunpowder, ropes, levers,
throats made hoarse for the casual slash in a ditch,
the cracking of bone and mortar.
But above cares and histories and ruins,
above blood and the smell of blood, above voices,
the bomber confesses nothing,
speaks no language we understand,
tells no stories of the stratosphere,
its making or its going.
No cracks mar that fuselage,
no dents pock the polished heat-seekers, tight with potential,
like all things young and bright and clean.