Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis

Wales’s first National Poet (2005-2006), Gwyneth Lewis has published six books of poetry in Welsh, her first language, and in English.

Her first collection in English, Parables and Faxes, was praised by Gillian Clarke as “outrageously imaginative, witty, and musical… The poems are funny and bold, surreal and beautiful…A daringly fresh voice that Welsh writing desperately needs.”  Her second book in English, Zero Gravity (Bloodaxe, 1997) covered new territory for poetry, its title sequence being part space documentary, part requiem for a sister-in-law. The poem draws on the experience of watching her astronaut cousin repair the Hubble Space Telescope.  Joseph Brodsky has called these poems “felicitous, urbane, heartbreaking…(they) form a universe whose planets use language for oxygen and thus are inhabitable.” 

The British poet Peter Porter has written that Lewis of her many gifts required for good poetry: “command of form, with improvisation enlivening tradition; supple rhythm; originality of subject matter and the right eye to pin down detail; humor, both sardonic and direct; and, above all, commitment to human feeling.” In addition to poetry, Lewis has written three libretti for the Welsh National Opera.

Lewis studied creative writing at Columbia and Harvard, before receiving a D. Phil. in English from the University of Oxford, having written a thesis on eighteenth century literary forgery.  She was made a Harkness Fellow and worked as a freelance journalist in New York for several years, returning to Cardiff to work as a documentary producer and director at BBC Wales, where she won a BAFTA.  She is currently a freelance writer, and has been appointed the 2008-2009 Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow at the Radcliff Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard.


Poems by Gwyneth Lewis

'One day, feeling hungry'


Midwinter Marriage











Poetry Center Reading:

Spring 2009

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