Poet Gwion Hallam's crowning moment

Reporter:

Dale Spridgeon

AFTER the birth of his first child 14-years-ago Gwion Hallam (pictured) had almost turned his back on composing poetry.

But a recent project working as a poet with dementia patients changed everything for the Felinheli father of four.

Gwion, who is a TV producer and has written and published children’s poetry, received the crown on the pavilion stage, of the National Eisteddfod, at Bodedern, on Monday afternoon.

The crown was presented for a free verse poem of no more than 250 lines, titled Trwy Ddrych (Through a Mirror).

Gwion wrote the poem under the pen name “Elwyn/Annie/Janet/Jiws” – a name inspired by the people he met.

“It was challenging, I had no experience of working with people with dementia, but it was a great privilege to get to know the residents, their families and friends, and very enjoyable” said the poet.

“Hearing the rhymes of their lives reignited my passion for writing again. Sometimes the poems were inspired by stream of consciousness or just things they talked about in their day to day lives, or from their memories.”

The competition adjudicators were M Wynn Thomas, Glenys Mair Roberts and Gwynne Williams, and presenting the adjudication on behalf of the three from the stage M Wynn Thomas said: “The three of us agree that an unusually large number of poems reached a very high standard this year.

“With 34 entries in the competition, eight managed to reach the top class, and the adjudicator said that the general standard may well “outclass previous competitions.”

Wynn Thomas explained: “We had a most wonderful quandary. So many excellent poems, but only one Crown. By a whisker, Glenys would have crowned Coppi.

“But she is also more than happy to agree with us that elwyn/annie/ janet/jiws has dealt with one of the darkest curses of our times in a masterful and subtle way.

“Therefore, the three of us are in agreement that elwyn/annie/ janet/jiws wins this year’s Eisteddfod Crown here in Bodedern.”

Gwion, who lives with his wife Leri and their children, Noa, Moi, Twm and Nedw, works for TV production company, Darlun, and has been filming in Conwy, Lampeter and South Korea over recent months.

Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE, who opened Bryn Seiont Newydd, the home where Gwion worked with people with dementia said: "Everybody at Bryn Seiont Newydd sends heartfelt congratulations to Gwion whose winning poem has shone a light on this condition.

"People like Elwyn, who is mentioned in the poem, are the human stories behind the statistics which mean that virtually every family in Wales now has some sort of connection with dementia."

Email:

dale.spridgeon@nwn.co.uk

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read