The poetry in Wales started in about the 6th century. It is a very important part of the Welsh culture and thus of the Eisteddfod. During the national Eisteddfod, there are two trophies to win in poetry: the chair and the crown. They are two different competitions.
To compete for the chair, you need to follow very strict rules. These rules can be learnt in evening lessons in Cardiff or Carmarthen for example. Only about ten people compete for the trophy. For the crown, about forty people take part in the competition. The rules are less strict and the poetry is more open. Every year, a theme is proposed. The one who wants to compete has to follow this theme.
Some “Stomps” are organized during the evenings. Each poet has a few minutes to read his poem in front of the audience, who are the judges. They decide who will be in the following round.
Until the 19th century, the poetry in Brittany belonged to the ordinary people, the leaders of Brittany started giving up the language in the 10th century. The poetry was transmitted orally. The popular songs collected at the end of the 19th century by de La Villemarqué in the “Barzaz Breiz” are examples of this poetry.
In the Breton poetry, the rhymes are not only at the end of the verse, but also inside the lines, as in Welsh poetry.
Today, poetical expression is still present in Brittany . Unfortunately it is not well known by the people because it is not heard on radio or television, or seen in newspaper. Poetry is written in both Breton and French languages.