Dylan Thomas: A Centenary Celebration
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Dylan Thomas: A Centenary Celebration is a collection of specially commissioned essays celebrating the poet's life and work, and exploring his lasting legacy. Edited by his granddaughter, Hannah Ellis, the book is arranged thematically and includes a wealth of material: essays from noted biographers such as David Thomas and Clive Woosnam explore Thomas's lasting legacy both at home and abroad, and Welsh poet laurete Gillian Clark reflects on the impact of the seminal "play for voices," Under Milk Wood. The book also includes an essays by poet Owen Shears and BBC Radio 6 presenter Cerys Matthews, as well as numerous testimonies and poems from the likes of former president Jimmy Carter, Phillip Pullman, and actor Michael Sheen.
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea in 1914. Becoming a journalist after leaving school at 16, he caught the attention of the literary world with "Light breaks where no sun shines" in 1934. In 1937 he married Caitlin Macnamara, and their relationship was documented in the 2008 film The Edge of Love. In the 1950s, Thomas travelled to America, gaining fame through his readings. In 1953 he became gravely ill in New York and fell into a coma from which he did not recover. There are a number of theories surrounding his death, though most assume he died of alcohol poisoning.
With a foreword by comedian and former Monty Python's Terry Jones, Dylan Thomas: A Centenary Celebration is a rich and personal reflection on the lasting legacy of Britain's greatest poet.
ignored, denigrated or patronized Thomas, from George Steiner onwards. VI An echo of the bad faith revealed by comparing the critical reception of Celan and Thomas – poems that ‘work from words’ are fine as long as they aren’t in English – is evident in the way British poets, as well as critics, still tiptoe so gingerly around Thomas, as if recognizing that the ambitiousness of his work, the large claims it implicitly makes for poetry as an art, throw their own self-denying ordinances into
Dylan. He once told me that when Dylan was in London he only drank beer in half-pint measures and he would go home to sleep quite early. I got to meet many biographers and scholars studying Dylan’s life and work. Many I struggled to gel with, but not John Ackerman, the author of Welsh Dylan. He was not only a brilliant academic but an excellent poet; he was also very kind, gentle and would find the time to speak with fans and students, with a real knack to make them feel at ease. My wife
at Harvard University in 2012, and Director of the Centre for Research into the Literature and Language of Wales from 2007 to 2010. He is also saxophonist with the jazz-folk sextet Burum, who have recorded two albums: Alawon: The Songs of Welsh Folk (Fflach, 2007) and Caniadau (Bopa, 2012). Rowan Williams was born in Swansea in 1950 and educated at Dynevor School. After studying Theology at Cambridge, he did research at Oxford in Russian religious thought, and taught in Yorkshire, Cambridge and
around looking for matches. ‘This is the place the children slept when they first ran away from their nasty family’, he said, pouring a mound of matches on the floor. I didn’t think they looked like a leafy mound to serve as a bed but did not like to say so. He then made an outline with matches of the witch’s cottage made from sweets to tempt Hansel and Gretel. What about the cauldron or oven to cook them, I demanded. He placed his beer glass in the house which didn’t convince me. ‘What about
and that this constituted not a little of his appeal. One game the couple played involved Hughes calling out ‘a line of Thomas or Shakespeare’, and Plath completing the passage. As in Hughes’s case, the fascination was non-intimidating and highly productive. Plath’s poems are densely intertextual with Thomas’s; in fact, according to Gary Lane, ‘Dylan Thomas is the vocal colossus of Plath’s The Colossus’. In one extreme case, ‘The Snowman on the Moor’, Thomas’s style breaks in at the poem’s