Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eluned Phillips RIP

Another incredible woman utterly unknown to me until I read her obituary was Eluned Phillips, the Welsh poet who has died at the age of 94. The Independent writes that she:

" ... was unusual among Welsh writers of her generation in that she embraced a bohemian lifestyle which took her to pre-war London and Paris, where she made the acquaintance of such major artists as Augustus John, Dylan Thomas, Edith Piaf, Jean Cocteau, Maurice Chevalier and Pablo Picasso, the last of whom showed her the unfinished Guernica with the paint still wet on the canvas. She even made it to Casablanca, where she might easily have fitted in among the habitu├ęs of Rick's Bar. Nearer home, she was only the second woman to win the Crown, one of the major literary prizes awarded at the National Eisteddfod, and this she achieved on two occasions: first in 1967 and again in 1983."

I have probably said it several times, but I am constantly amazed at the achievements of women who lived in circumstances circumscribed by the general limitations on women in their particular time and place. Phillips is another to add to that group. Do read a little more here. The obit concludes:

"She explained that she had written her memoirs in English (and on a computer acquired in her 90th year) so that her many friends all over the world could read about the life of "a simple country girl with itchy feet". The book ends with her standing mischievously in the wet concrete of the Millennium Centre then under construction in Cardiff Bay and the typically spirited advice she gave to many a young writer: "Try to make as many footprints in the concrete as you can – and treasure them."

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