Waldo Williams

Waldo Williams (1904 – 1971, W) was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire and was one of the leading Welsh-language poets of the 20th century. He was also a notable Christian pacifist, anti-war campaigner, and Welsh nationalist.  He studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he graduated in English in 1926. He then trained as a teacher and worked in various schools Wales and England.  A pacifist, he was a conscientious objector in WWII, leading to his dismissal from a headmastership.  During the Korean War (1950–1953) he refused to pay his income tax on pacifist grounds, as a protest against the war and forced military conscription – a protest which he continued until compulsory military service ended in 1963, and all the men conscripted had been released.  He was twice imprisoned as a result of his refusal to pay income tax.  His greatest work, ‘Dail Pren’ (The Leaves of the Tree), was published in 1956.

Published works

  • Dail Pren (The Leaves of the Tree, 1956)
  • Cerddi Waldo Williams (The Poems of Waldo Williams) (1992) is a selection of his poetry
  • Waldo Williams: rhyddiaith (Waldo Williams: Prose) (2001) is a selection of Waldo’s prose writings in both Welsh and English
  • Cerddi’r plant (Poems for children, 1936) is a volume of poetry including work by Waldo Williams and E. Llwyd Williams
  • The Old Farmhouse (1961) – Waldo Williams’s translation into English of Yr hen dy ffarm by D. J. Williams (1953)
  • Waldo Williams: Cerddi 1922–1970 (Poems 1922–1970) (2012), ed by Alan Llwyd and Robert Rhys – a comprehensive collection of Waldo’s poetry

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