Future Generations Commissioner announces new poet in residence
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has announced the new poet-in-residence as the world marks Earth Day 2021.
Sophie Howe has tasked award-winning Taylor Edmonds, from Penarth, with exploring the theme of ‘Wales to the World’ in the year-long collaboration.
Taylor, who was born and grew up in Barry, says she wants to produce poems that are “hopeful and immersive, with a focus on joy and empowerment for Welsh communities”.
She wants to focus on Wales’ culture, including the Welsh language, and its role in the world.
The poet will be highlighting the Well-being of Future Generations Act in her work, puts a responsibility on public bodies, including Welsh Government, to take action that will not only benefit people today, but people not yet born.
Taylor is the commissioner’s second poet-in-residence, in collaboration with Literature Wales and Wales Arts International, after Rufus Mufasa completed her post in 2019.
The work of the 26-year-old poet explores themes that include womanhood, queerness, empowerment, connection, magic and folktales, and nature,
She has also recorded a love letter to her seaside hometown in a BBC Sesh video entitled Home Survives Hate.
Taylor said: “I’m looking forward to exploring how poetry can help create a better world for future generations – at a time when we’ve been forced to think about the future in a way we never have before.”
She studied creative writing at the University of Gloucester and Cardiff University and has won the Literature Wales’ and Firefly Press’ 2020 Rising Stars Award.
Taylor, a member of Where I’m Coming From, a platform for underrepresented writers in Wales, said she was inspired to become a poet after discovering Somali-British writer, Warsan Shire.
She cites other favourites as Vietnamese-American poet and novelist Ocean Vuong, and writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde.
“I was the child curled up in the corner reading at family gatherings, and sharing early poems on Tumblr,” said Taylor.
‘Writing has helped me navigate challenging times in life and given me the confidence to be secure in my voice and identity. Poetry can be a great source of comfort and connection – it reminds us that we’re not alone.
“Writing is powerful – for self-expression and well-being and as a way of communicating experiences and raising awareness of important issues.”
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, said: “The Well-being of Future Generations Act offers a huge opportunity for long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations in Wales and one of those ways is through using culture as a driver for change.
“Poetry has a power to make people listen and we think Taylor’s is the perfect voice to communicate with empathy and urgency, some of the issues facing people in Wales.”
Taylor is currently running an Instagram series of free, monthly ‘Writing for Joy’ workshops.
Earth Day, the international day of environmental action, is this year themed Restore Our Earth and takes place on Thursday, April 22.