As the world marks Earth Day 2021, Wales' new poet-in-residence for the Wellbeing of Future Generations Commissioner has been announced.

Taylor Edmonds, 26, is tasked with bringing to life the aims of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, a Welsh Government law that requires public bodies in Wales to consider the impact of their decisions on people who are not yet born, as well as those alive today

The legislation made Wales the first country in the world to include culture in its definition of sustainable development, with the law promoting “a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.”

Taylor will be in post for a year with a brief to create works on the theme “Wales to the World”.  Among the issues she’ll  explore in her poetry are poverty, health inequality and the climate crisis.

The Barry-born poet says that she wants to produce poems that are “hopeful and immersive, with a focus on joy and empowerment for Welsh communities.”

 “I’m looking forward to exploring how poetry can help create a better world for future generations - at a time when we’ve been forced to think about the future in a way we never have before", said Taylor.

The National Wales: Taylor says her art explores themes around womanhood, queerness, nature and magic, taking influence from folktales. Taylor says her art explores themes around womanhood, queerness, nature and magic, taking influence from folktales.

Last year she won Literature Wales and Firefly Press's Rising Stars Award, and in 2019 she recorded a video love letter to  her home town of Barry, entitled 'Home Survives Hate'  for BBC Wales' TV series The Sesh.

Taylor was inspired to write poetry after coming across the work of Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, whose poems were famously recited by Beyonce on her album Lemonade. Other influencers include feminist writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde and the  novelist Ocean Vuong.

Taylor says her love of words and writing started early.

“I was the child curled up in the corner reading at family gatherings, and sharing early poems on Tumblr.

“Writing has helped me navigate challenging times in life and given me the confidence to be secure in my voice and identity. Poetry can be a great source of comfort and connection - it reminds us that we’re not alone.

“Writing is powerful - for self-expression and well-being, and as a way of communicating experiences and raising awareness of important issues.”

As poet-in-residence, Taylor will work alongside Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, who is responsible for ensuring Welsh institutions comply with the future generations legislation.

READ MORE:

Ahead of next month’s Senedd election, Ms Howe published a manifesto for the future which set out her policy recommendations for the next Welsh Government.Among the proposals are exploring the possibility of a shorter working week, delivering 20 per cent tree canopy cover for every Welsh town and city, and piloting Universal Basic Income.

The Commissioner also warned against responding to future trends such as climate change and automation in ways that perpetuate, not alleviate, existing inequalities.

On Taylor's appointment, Ms Howe said:

“The Well-being of Future Generations Act offers a huge opportunity for long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations in Wales, and one of those ways is through using culture as a driver for change.

“Poetry has a power to make people listen and we think Taylor’s is the perfect voice to communicate with empathy and urgency, some of the issues facing people in Wales.”

Taylor Edmonds is currently running a free monthly series of 'Writing for Joy' workshops from her Instagram account.