Bondo is Menna Elfyn’s latest collection in Welsh and English. Her title means eaves in Welsh, referring to poems about getting close to language as sanctuary. Other poems were written episodically over a number of years. These meditative poems began simply as a personal engagement with the grief of Aberfan, expressing solidarity with a nation’s wound. Bondo is also the voice which echoes the role of the Welsh bard as remembrancer.
Menna Elfyn is the best-known, most travelled and most translated of all Welsh-language poets. The extraordinary international range of her subjects, breathtaking inventiveness and generosity of vision place her among Europe’s leading poets. Like her previous Bloodaxe titles, Bondo is a bilingual Welsh-English edition. Again, the facing English translations are by leading Welsh poets, in this case Elin ap Hywel, Gillian Clarke, Damian Walford Davies and Robert Minhinnick. It is her first new book since Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems / Perffaith Nam: Dau Ddetholiad & Cherddi Newydd 1995-2007 and the later collection Murmur (2012), a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation.
'Menna Elfyn is the firebird of the Welsh language, bright, indomitably modern and as undestructible as the phoenix. She gives hope to all writers in lesser spoken languages that great things can rise from the ashes.' – Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
'Elfyn is a poet of healing…both compassionate and celebratory. Like a soul doctor she questions and probes, like St Teresa she endures the darkness, but in the end she sings a song which affirms that flawed humanity is indeed perfectible.’ – Katie Gramich, Planet
'Liberation and enclosure are powerful themes in Menna Elfyn's work. She is a political poet, writing with passion of the Welsh language and identity for which she campaigns. But she makes her claims with realism…a restless, intensely responsive imagination.’ – Helen Dunmore, Observer
Menna Elfyn: 'Handkerchief Kiss'
Menna Elfyn reads her poem 'Handkerchief Kiss' / 'Cusan Hances' in English and Welsh from Perffaith Nam / Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems 1995-2007 (Bloodaxe Books, 2007). The English translation of this poem is by Joseph P. Clancy. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes four poems from Perffaith Nam / Perfect Blemish read by Menna Elfyn in Welsh and English.
Bilingual Welsh–English edition