Neil Kinnock assesses the poetry of fellow Welshman Idris Davies, a miner from Rhymney, whose verse evokes the hardships of the 1920s and 1930s in the south Wales valleys.
Neil Kinnock is a long standing admirer of the poetry of fellow Welshman, Idris Davies. Born in 1905, Davies's two major poetic sequences draw on his experience of life as a miner and the economic hardships in the 1920s and 1930s. The socialist principles at the heart of Davies' writing chime with the South Wales valleys Kinnock knew half a century later. In the fifties Pete Seeger's setting of "The Bells of Rhymney" turned Davies into a folk hero, while TS. Eliot's description of his verse as "the best poetic document I know about a particular epoch in a particular place" has consigned Davies' voice to a small patch of Wales. To counter-balance these views, Neil Kinnock returns to Rhymney, Davies' birthplace and the source of much poetic inspiration, to meet those who knew the poet and his poetry, arguing that the breadth and depth of Davies' writing is the universal message of Everyman, Everywhere, in a wretched, angry world.