Cynghanedd and the Cadair

This is something that has been going round in my head for a while…

I know that people go out and buy the novels that win at the Eisteddfod Cenedlaethol every year, and that they are something of a general topic of discussion. But what about the poems that win the cadair?

After camping next door to Aneirin Karadog (boast!) in the summer I was curious about what he actually wrote. A web search gave articles about the poem, but not, as far as I could see, how to get hold of the poem itself. The same thing when I noticed that Osian Rhys Jones, this year’s winner, works in the Web department of Cardiff University not far from me (although I’ve never met him).

How do you actually get hold of these poems, and do people in general read them?

I have had a vague interest in understanding what is cynghanedd, since trying the lessons that some enthusiast occasionally runs via Twitter, last year. (A few other SSIWers were following them too.) I had an eBay watch on ‘Cynghanedd i blant’ by Mererid Hopwood (out of print now) which I figured would be about my level. I finally got hold of it a couple of weeks ago - it’s quite good to understand the absolute basics.

Now, I think it would be nice to get hold of a book that maybe introduces some well-known examples and does a little bit of beginners analysis to help understand and appreciate it. But my first attempts at searching for something like that don’t look very hopeful either.

Is this a reasonable thing to want to do, and I wonder if anyone has got any leads? @Novem maybe, have you looked into this kind of thing at all?

1 Like

I have a copy of Clywed Cynghanedd by Myrddin ap Dafydd - it’s aimed at beginners of cynghanedd and is very good, but it’s entirely in Welsh which some (but by no means all :wink: ) learners may find daunting. Worth seeing if a local library has it and have a peek before you commit to buy (unless it’s on ebay ridiculously cheap!)


… and once you’ve mastered the rules, ‘Yr Odliadur’ by Roy Stephens (a rhyming dictionary) also comes in really handy! :wink:


I have both those books & like them both (I was one of the people who did the Twitter cynghanedd course by @cynganeddu). The full text (almost) of Clywed Cynghanedd is also available online, if you search.

For examples and some more guidance, I would also recommend the little book “Sut i Greu Englyn,” by Alan Llwyd. It came out just a few years ago so should be in print. An Englyn is the most common short poetic form that uses cynghanedd, so it’s a good place to start. Like Clywed Cynghanedd, it’s entirely in Welsh, but the examples are set off so clearly that you can see them.

A fabulous fabulous fabulous book in ENGLISH about cynghanedd is Mererid Hopwood, “Singing in Chains.” I think it comes with a CD – kind of forgotten what’s on that.


Wow, thank you both! I think I’ll start by looking in the library. It would be nice to understand what it’s all about - although I haven’t got any ambitions to actually try and write any!!

I wonder whether anyone knows about the second question - who actually reads the poems that win the Cadair?

I’m sure lots of people do!

You might want to have a browse here too -

1 Like

I’ve bought several of the annual volumes of the Eisteddfod winners (from – don’t read everything in it, but do read some!

1 Like

@johnwilliams_6 recommended a book in English about cynghanedd to me - Mererid Hopwood, Singing in Chains. Fabulous title! I’m yet to get it yet. I have a very ancient copy of Cerdd Dafod which makes my brain melt a bit because it’s all in proper grown up Welsh, but the actual explanations of the forms are excellent because you can just see what he means.

I have no idea though about how you go about obtaining the winning poem though!


The winning compositions in every Eisteddfod competitition – including the competitions for learners – are published each year in the Cyfansoddiadau for the event. When the audience exits the Pavilion after the Chairing, there are people selling them on the path of the Maes. Quite exciting, like breaking news! You can continue to buy them thereafter for years to come.

Here’s the one for last year on Ynys Mon:


Brilliant, thanks, so glad I asked! There’s browsing matter for a while to come… :slight_smile:


Haia! Bit late to the party as @siaronjames’ Clywed Cynghanedd by Myrddin ap Dafydd is what I would have suggested for the cynganeddu :smile: I’m currently using it (the website version) to get creativity points at school as part of a programme and its been pretty entertaining so far. Definitely recommend :slight_smile:


I don’t know about “the” poem, but there is some of his work on this page:

As far as I can see, there is the complete text of all the material from the 2017 series of “Y Talwrn” linked from here:

And from here, you can hear some of them being recited (clips from the programme):


Glad to hear you’re managing to smuggle some Welsh into your school work!!
(Any chance of us getting to hear any fruits of the creativity, I wonder?!)


Ehhh… Maybe one day :smile:


A naive question, sorry, but I presume it’s a book in English discussing cynghanedd in Welsh? (You see people writing stuff in English too sometimes, following rules of cynghanedd.)
I guess it would be worth reading either way - Mererid Hopwood is great - but it would be good to know.
Thank you!

Yes, that’s right - with pretty much all of the examples being in easy to understand Welsh - and definitely worth reading


Brilliant, thanks! I think that might be the next stop… :slight_smile:

I’ve also been trying to understand how cynghanedd works recently. I’ve been reading Mererid Hopkin’s book Singing in Chains. I found this really helpful and liked the way she talked you through each step but still found it very difficult to grasp properly. I have been looking out for her book for children - Cynghanedd i Blant - but it’s out of print. However I found this online resource taken from the book and I think it’s great. Apologies if it’s already been mentioned but I wanted to share it. :slight_smile:


How lovely! That looks like just about the contents of the book, in interactive format - and it looks nice for kids! Will have a closer look sometime.

I think Singing in Chains (and cynghanedd in general) is a bit of a long term project for most of us - as Mererid Hopwood says! I thoroughly enjoyed the first few chapters, but have to admit that I then got distracted by more pressing bits of life. To be continued…


I have attended and enjoyed one of @HarrietEaris 's courses in which she covers cynghanedd and other forms of Welsh poetry with great authority and infectious enthusiasm.

This is one of her posts on the forum. Harriet Earis course

I know she offered another course further North recently but, if interested, you could contact her through her own website from which you can see that she is a wonderful harpist, too. Harriet’s website