Gwerful Mechain (fl. 1462-1500), who lived in Mechain in Powys, is perhaps the most famous female Welsh-language poet after Ann Griffiths (1776-1805), who was also from northern Powys. Little is known of her life.
Her work, composed in the traditional strict metres, including cywyddau and englynion, is often a celebration of religion and sex, sometimes within the same poem. Probably the most famous part of her work today is her erotic poetry, especially Cywydd y Cedor ("Ode to the Pubic Hair"), a poem praising the vulva. It is a work in which she upbraids male poets for celebrating so many parts of a woman's body, but not the genitals. "Let songs about the quim circulate," she adjures her readers. As to the pubic hair: "Lovely bush, God save it."
Her year of birth has also been said to have been 1460.
Howells, Nerys Ann (ed.) Gwaith Gwerful Mechain ac Eraill, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, 2001, ISBN 0-947531-26-2
- A short biography
- Text of Cywydd y Cedor at Wikisource
- English translation; another English translation
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