The Book of the Bardic Chair
Foreword by Ronald Hutton
Edited by Kevan Manwaring
‘It’s quite possibly the druidic bargain of the decade’ The Druid’s Voice
‘It continues to sum up a remarkable achievement, produced by an extraordinary city and community.’ Ronald Hutton
The Bardic Chair is awarded as a prize in competitions of artistic merit, held in a festival of the arts known as an eisteddfod. Born of the Celtic Tradition, initially in Wales, Bardic Chairs are a growing phenomenon – transcending cultural barriers – not just around the British Isles, but around the world. This book explains the background of Bardic Chairs, lists all the current ones on record, and explains how to set one up. If you ever wondered what a bard is and why they are as relevant as ever this book will enlighten and inspire.
Featuring the Bardic Chairs of…
*Wales*Cornwall*Brittany*Isle of Man*Channel Islands
From the global to the local, the 2008 edition focuses on the Bardic Chair of CaerBadon (Bath, Somerset) as an example of the most successfully revived English Chair to date – featuring the 12th Bard.
· Profile of each of the Chaired Bards, Ovates and Druids.
· Winning Poems
· List of Modern Bardic Chairs in Britain and beyond.
· The Modern Bardic Chair Movement
· How to set up and run a Bardic Chair
· How to run a Bardic Circle
· Contacts and Resources
· Essays on Bath, the City of Sulis
· Young Bard competitions
Contributions by Ronald Hutton, Caitlín Matthews, RJ Stewart, Moyra Caldecott, Graham Harvey, Tim Sebastion Woodman, Philip Shallcrass (Greywolf) & many more
A recent review of The Book of the Bardic Chair, (RJ Stewart Books, 2008) edited by yours truly
This book is many things - a history, a directory, a guide, a sourcebook, and a work in progress. I have read the 08 edition, but it is evident the intention is to update this work as the bardic chair movement grows. The book is both a record of that development, and a means for furthering it. There's such a rich and diverse selection of writing here. It includes a history of bardic chairs, and overview of chairs around the world, a detailed history of the chair of Caer Badon, insights into the works of chaired bards, including samples of their creations, suggestions for how to run chairs and details of bardic gatherings.
Reading it, I felt sorely tempted to try and set something up - even though I don't realistically have time. Kevan's writing is persuasive, and the subject matter inspiring. He expresses not only why such gatherings are important, but makes it feel eminently do-able. One of the things I especially loved is that he presents the bard path as a thing in its own right - rooted in Celtic culture, but not exclusively that, and certainly not ‘druid level one'. Spiritual but not proselytising, competitive but not exclusive, the chairs are as much about the wider community and inclusion as they are about a few talented people strutting their stuff on the day. The bardic movement is a peace movement, and a green movement, it is for community, earth, connection and inspiration and we need more of this.
For anyone drawn to the modern bard path, this is well worth reading. For those exploring the modern history of paganism, it's going to be a valuable resource. For anyone seeking inspiration, there are all kinds of gems gathered here. It's a book I know I will be going back to, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it evolves in future editions.
Bryn Colvin, The Druid Network
ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY via www.rjstewart.net