Tony Conran (7 April 1931 – 14 January 2013) was a Welsh poet and translator of Welsh poetry. His own poetry was written in English but was very much influenced by Welsh language literature and Welsh culture and history. To some extent there are parallels in Conran's writing with that of R. S. Thomas, but Conran was a greater experimenter and was allied far more with the Modernist movement.
He was born in Kharghpur, Bengal, India, but being spastic, he was brought to the UK in 1933 and largely brought up by his grandparents in Colwyn Bay, being separated from his parents by the Second War. He was educated at Colwyn Bay High School, took his degree at Bangor and other than a brief spell working at a factory in Essex, Conran spent most of his working life in Bangor, North Wales. Until 1983, he taught at the Bangor University, where he was tutor in the English Department. Academically, he took a particular interest in Welsh poetry, both in Welsh and English; also in traditional folksong and ballads. After retiring from academic life, Conran continued to develop his own poetic art, often combining dramatic presentation of his work in conjunction with visual and performance artists.
Conran's first collection of original poetry was Formal Poems (1958). His numerous other collections include Stelae and Other Poems (1965), Spirit Level (1974), and Life Fund (1979). He has also written many critiques of Welsh literature, including a collection of essays entitled The Cost of Strangeness (Gomer Press, 1982). In 1967, he produced a celebrated collection of Welsh language poetry in translation, Welsh Verse (Penguin). This collection was re-published in 1982 by Poetry Wales Press with an extensive and influential introductory essay by Conran. He has also edited a collection of poetry by South Wales poet Idris Davies.
Some of his poetry was set to music by the Dutch composer, Lowell Dijkstra.
- Blodeuwedd (1988)
- Castles (1993)
- All Hallows (1995)
- A Gwynedd Symphony (1996)
- What Brings You Here So Late? (2008)
- The Independent obituary, 17 March 2013. Accessed 20 March 2013
- Biography on CREW Welsh Writers Online
- Translated Penguin Book - at Penguin First Editions reference site of early first edition Penguin Books.
- Lowell Dijkstra
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