A Welsh pilgrimage inspires Edmund to learn Welsh

A Welsh pilgrimage inspires Edmund to learn Welsh

Edmund Dixon lives in Lancashire and has been learning Welsh since 2017. He started learning on a Taster course at Nant Gwrtheyrn and has since continued to learn. He’s a published poet who writes as Aziz Dixon. Many of his poems are inspired by RS Thomas, the Welsh landscape, place names and the Welsh language. Read a selection of his poetry here.

This is his story in his own words.

“I was born and raised in London. When I was eight years old (a long time ago!) I would visit Wales with my father. We’d climb Cadair Idris every summer. In 2015 I found my love for poetry and started to write. Then we came on a two-week pilgrim to north Wales, from Treffynnon to Bardsey. I studies archaeology at university and understanding the language, history and the story behind place names is important to read the landscape. I otherwise feel like I’m walking blindly. This is when I first came across Nant Gwrtheyrn.

“It was on this journey that I also first discovered RS Thomas. I’ve been learning to write poetry with Gillian Clarke at Tŷ Newydd near Cricieth; and she said that as a poet I needed a touchstone poet, mine is RS Thomas. It’s so interesting how he relates to being Welsh.

“I came on a Taster course to the Nant in 2017 – it was bendigedig and I feel in love with the place. Then between 2018-2019 I attended face to face weekly lessons at Flint, on a Wednesday, but it was a long trip. During the lockdown I registered for an Entry level online course with Mathew – one of the tutors at Nant Gwrtheyrn. I’m really grateful, it’s a strong group and many of us have carried on learning together over the past year. This week I’m doing an Entry level exam.

“In my spare time I sing with an online choir in South Wales with choirmaster Jonathan Perry – we sing and practice our Welsh. During the Christmas period we learnt some lovely carols (plugain). I also read Welsh and bilingual books. It would be a dream to move to Wales one day, when I’m fluent and if I could… but now I’m enjoying learning with Nant Gwrtheyrn and it’s fantastic that I can do it virtually.”