Letter: Poetic licence

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TONY HEATH cites me as declaring that RS Thomas is "set apart" from Dylan Thomas because of "a greater maturity" ("Welsh academics line up for battle of the poets", 3 May) despite not having spoken to me. He then crudely attempts to turn the whole debate on the relative merits of these two major poets, based on a very reasoned piece in New Welsh Review, into a cultural "battle" between Welsh-speaking academics supporting RS Thomas and English-speaking academics in South Wales supporting Dylan. Why? Apparently to demonstrate the fact that New Welsh Review, "a journal subsidised by the Arts Council of Wales" is, according to "some writers" elitist and sectarian (ie nationalist). Do these unnamed writers exist?

There is, of course, no "battle" at all; in fact all three academics quoted, on both sides of the debate (including myself), are members of the editorial board of the New Welsh Review and I strongly suspect that my colleagues would both support what I did say to the Western Mail: that Wales is fortunate in having produced in one generation two such remarkable poets.

Tony Brown

University of Wales

Bangor, Gwynedd