Taliesin, one of the earliest recorded British poets from the 6th century, is reputed to have lived, and been buried near the village of Taliesin, approximately seven miles north of Aberystwyth.
Dafydd ap Gwilym, probably the most famous of the medieval poets, was born nearby and is buried at Strata Florida Abbey to the south of Aberystwyth.
Today, poetry takes new forms but the traditional strict metre called cynghanedd (shown below in English) is unique to Wales and is still practised by young and old. It is often sung to the accompaniment of the harp (called Cerdd dant).
The National Library, high on the hill above Aberystwyth, and one of only six copyright libraries in the UK, is keeper to most materials relating to the Welsh people and their culture. The earliest recorded Welsh poetry can be seen in the Black Book of Carmarthen and the permanent exhibition A Nation’s Heritage also displays various artefacts that bring alive the long history of this small country.
However, today, culture in the area ranges from that provided by the University as a centre of excellence to the more spontaneous forms provided within the rural communities surrounding Aberystwyth and in the town itself. It ranges from eisteddfodau (musical and literary competitions unique to Wales) and concerts in village halls to informal gatherings for song, poetry or story telling in the local pubs.
It is worth noting that most Welsh people enjoy singing and will often oblige if a tune is requested.
The Arts Centre on the hill above Aberystwyth provides a variety of entertainment as well as a platform for the visual arts.
The four venues of the Art on the Town group, which are the Arts Centre, the National Library, Ceredigion Museum and the School of Art, provide a lively programme of exhibitions.