Former Penweddig head wins Eisteddfod chair

By Dylan Davies   |   News editor   |
Friday 6th August 2021 6:55 pm
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Gwenallt Llwyd Ifan has been named the winner of the Chair at this year's Eisteddfod Amgen

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A TREGAON poet and former Headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig has won the chair at his year’s National Eisteddfod.

Gwenallt Llwyd Ifan was named the winner of the AmGen Eisteddfod Chair on Friday evening.

He won the Chair for his poem in complete cynghanedd, up to 200 lines on the subject of ’Deffro’ (Awake). Gwenallt receives a beautiful Chair, designed and created by Eisteddfod craftsperson, Tony Thomas.

The judges this year were Jim Parc Nest, Guto Dafydd and Caryl Bryn.

The winner of the Chair at the 2019 Conwy County National Eisteddfod, Jim Parc Nest delivered the composite adjudication, saying: "Close to the opening of the awdl, the poet delivers a striking line: ‘Un ar erchwyn hanes yn chwilio am awch eiliad.’

“He talks about a runner reaching the summit of the Gwylwyr mountain, standing to stare at the dawn sky. By the end of the poem the same runner finds another dawn, the dawn that marks the awakening of Welsh nationalism.

"Between the two dawnings there is a series of oppressive nights or sunsets, and the drawing is consistently skilful and exciting.

“All three of us agree that Gwyliwr’s poem meets the standard of merit this year.

"Due to the interval imposed on us, this chairing will be historic.

"And hopefully it will not be repeated ever again.

"But we hope that the thrill of the chairing will be as exciting as ever for the winning poet, because of the standard of his or her poem.”

Originally from Tregaron, Gwenallt Llwyd Ifan worked as a biology teacher in north Wales for a few years, and while living in Denbigh, he attended John Glyn Jones’ cynghanedd classes.

He has won several chairs for his poetry and in 1999, he won the Chair of the Anglesey National Eisteddfod for his ode ’Pontydd’.

He is the captain of the Tal-y-bont Talwrn y Beirdd team. He is also a member of the Ceredigion Ymryson y Beirdd team.

In 2009, he was appointed Head of Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig, Aberystwyth. Following his retirement from the post in 2018, he became a tutor of Science, Chemistry and Biology on the teacher training course at Aberystwyth University.

Many of his poems have been published in various publications and collections. He published his first volume of poetry, DNA, in 2021.

At the 2019 National Eisteddfod, he won the John Glyn Jones trophy, his old bardic teacher’s memorial trophy for the best englyn of the week.

His other great interest is fly fishing. He has represented Wales numerous times on lakes and rivers throughout these islands and abroad and has been the British and Irish international champion on two occasions.

He is a keen runner and is often seen running the trails in the Tal-y-bont area.

He is married to Delyth and they have two children, Elis and Esther.

The Chair was created at the Eisteddfod’s workshop in Llanybydder by craftsperson, Tony Thomas, out of ash wood.

With the traditional Maes Eisteddfod postponed again this year, organisers, the Gorsedd and the broadcasters have been working together to create ceremonies which are both dignified and safe.

Christine James, Gorsedd Recorder, said: “Naturally, the circumstances this year have forced us to make a number of changes: a small audience, a limited number of Gorseddogion, and some things have had to be done in a slightly different way - with the ceremonies held in the evenings, and on different days.

“But there are many familiar elements too: the Archdruid procession, the Gorsedd Prayer and the Corn Gwlad.

"And the dignity and splendour is just the same, as is the thrill of revealing whether anyone has reached the judges’ high standards this year!”

The winning poems will be published on the Eisteddfod website following the ceremony and the Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau, which includes the full adjudication for this competition and the winners of all the other composition winners at this year’s Eisteddfod will be published Saturday morning, 7 August.

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