An emeritus professor at the Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies at the University of Wales has released a book of poetry on Strata Florida.

Dafydd Johnston is an internationally recognised scholar of medieval texts written in the Welsh language, including the definitive work on the period’s most famous and accomplished poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym who is closely associated with the abbey of Strata Florida in west Wales.

Dafydd is also a trustee of the Strata Florida Trust.

His main research interest is medieval Welsh poetry, and he has specialised in textual editing, including three major editions – Gwaith Iolo Goch (1988), Gwaith Lewys Glyn Cothi (1995) and Gwaith Llywelyn Goch ap Meurig Hen (1998) – as well as two groundbreaking thematic collections: Medieval Welsh Erotic Poetry (1991) and Poets’ Grief (1993).

In 2005 he published a comprehensive study of late-medieval Welsh literature, Llên yr Uchelwyr: Hanes Beirniadol Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg 1300–1525, a volume which was shortlisted for the Welsh Book of the Year Prize.

Now he has written The Poetry of Strata Florida.

The 12th century Strata Florida Abbey (Abaty Ystrad Flfur) is a captivating, evocative and internationally important site – affectionately known as the Westminster Abbey of Wales – in Pontrhydfendigaid.

Strata Florida is rich in historical detail and is deeply significant to Welsh heritage. The Cistercian monks who founded the abbey made it an important centre of trade, religion and culture in the 12th and 13th centuries, with connections spreading far across the Welsh landscape.

One of the foremost early Welsh historical sources, the Brut y Tywysogion, was written at Strata Florida and the site has many important connections with Welsh culture and identity.

Almost from its inception, and throughout the Middle Ages, the abbey was engaged in the production and transmission of manuscripts which inscribed the poetic traditions of early Welsh literary culture. This book gives an account of that enterprise, exploring what we know of the authors, offering outstanding examples of their work and placing them in their cultural and political milieu.

This account also describes how this vital tradition was maintained through the succeeding centuries of the modern era with national as well as local poets continuing to produce new works, in both the English and Welsh languages.

This spiritual place, an icon of Welsh cultural identity, still captures the imagination and inspires new poetry.

The Poetry of Strata Florida is available from the Strata Florida Trust in Welsh or English; email [email protected]