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Meic Stephens obituary

Literary editor, arts administrator, translator and poet who promoted Welsh cultural causes

Meic Stephens, who has died aged 79, was one of the most productive and influential figures in Welsh writing in English. After a few years teaching in Ebbw Vale, and one as a journalist in Cardiff, in 1967 he joined the newly designated Welsh Arts Council, which he served as literature director for 23 years. He had no background in arts administration, but in the early 1960s, while still teaching, he had established his own publishing imprint, the Triskel Press, and in 1965 launched Poetry Wales.

Under his editorship the magazine was committed to the causes of Welsh nationhood, the Welsh language and building bridges between what were then known as Anglo-Welsh writers and those who wrote in the senior language of Wales. It became the principal vehicle of “the second flowering” of Welsh writing in English (the first having been in the 1930s). Among the new voices it introduced in the late 1960s and 70s were Gillian Clarke and Robert Minhinnick; it also resuscitated lapsed talents such as those of John Ormond, Leslie Norris and Harri Webb, bringing them to impressive maturity.

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