Young Welsh poet in residence recites poems to make social change in Wales

After reciting poetry at the Global Climate Change Conference, Taylor Edmonds will expand her Writing For Joy initiative to encourage social change

Taylor Edmonds is reciting poetry at COP26. Image Credits: Maria Privitera Murdoch

Empowered by her recent visit to Climate Change Conference (COP26), a young Welsh poet is spending the next year helping the Welsh Government achieve its aims of improving knowledge of the Welsh language and Welsh culture.

Poet Taylor Edmonds, 26, is a part-time freelance writer who wants to make her residency with Future Generations Commissioner for Wales help advocate for social change by encouraging Welsh communities to find space to express themselves through words.

Taylor recently narrated her poem, Riverside Guardian at the COP26 in Glasgow on November 12 as part of her residency. The programme is an initiative taken under the Future Generations Act which aims to bring positive change by working with communities to improve poverty, health inequalities and climate change in Wales.

The Welsh poet says, “I pursued a new artistic challenge and went with an unfinished poem to the panel but conversing with many people inspired me to complete my poem. I closed the event with a narration of my raw poetry.”

I closed the event with a narration of my raw poetry.

Taylor Edmonds

The writer said that poetry makes people feel emotional in a way that reports and statistics don’t which helps humanise social experiences. “I think poetry encourages cultural change as it makes people more empathetic towards others,” said the Future Generations resident. 

The young poet started a virtual literary initiative, Writing for Joy, which helps people understand writing as an exercise that can be used to experience mindfulness. Taylor says, “It’s an exercise technique that helps people self-reflect.”

The initiative strives to empower diverse Welsh communities and bring them together to create a safe space for self-expression and social change.

Part-time writer, Taylor will re-start Writing for Joy’s online live streaming workshops on Instagram in January. She said, “In the long run, my goal is to create an online self-based course that people can download and do in their own time. It would include journal writing or any kind of writing that helps you keep in touch with yourself and can help you feel more mindful.”

Poet, Taylor Edmonds talks about making social change in Wales
In conversation with Taylor Edmonds about making the social change on Zoom. Image Credits: Shubhangi Dua

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe said, “Taylor’s year-long collaboration with the Future Generations Commissioner will see the young poet finding new ways to communicate the goals of the Act, one of which is a Wales with a vibrant culture and thriving the Welsh language”

Top 6 progress recommendations by Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, in achieving a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language at

  1. The target of a million speakers and an increase in those who speak Welsh daily to 20% by 2050 is an ambitious policy, but more action across all public bodies is needed to achieve this target.
  2. The Welsh language must play a full part in the latest technological developments to ensure that it remains a modern language used in all aspects of everyday life.
  3. Welsh Government is continuing to show political will and determination to improve and promote the Welsh language but more needs to be done to address the loss of Welsh language skills when young people move beyond statutory education. 
  4. Areas such as broadcasting and online streaming sites are non-devolved, but demand for Welsh culture and language is increasing. Welsh Government should further explore opportunities to use these platforms to share Welsh culture and language with wider audiences across the world.
  5. Welsh Government are able to show some evidence on how they are supporting the cultural economy but need to ensure they are applying principles of sustainable development across all policies in this area. 
  6. Our natural environment is a key part of Wales’ tourism offering. Welsh Government must therefore demonstrate how its Tourism Strategy and support for major events are enhancing biodiversity and contributing to carbon reduction.
My Magnolia Tree, a poem written and recited by the founder of Words for Joy for BBC Wales