(1914 - 1953)
“I sang in my chains like the sea”

Dylan Marlais Thomas is remembered as a roistering drunkard with a turbulent personal life, but he was also a poet who was captivated by words, by their sound and rhythm, by their richness and their possibilities for multiple meanings.  As he once wrote “A good poem is a contribution to reality”, and Thomas’s oeuvre ensures that his contribution remains significant today.

Thomas learned an appreciation for the colour and sound of language from his father, who read Shakespeare aloud to his son from an early age.  Leaving school in 1931, a stint as a reporter for the South Wales Evening Post was not particularly successful, although he used this time to fill numerous notebooks with his poetry, much of which was to form the basis of his first two published collections.  Moving to London in 1934 Thomas won the Sunday Referee's Poet's Corner Prize, which included their sponsorship of his first book, 18 Poems which was published in December that year.  Initially it received little recognition but by the spring of 1935 critics had begun to review it very favourably, one writing "This is not merely a book of unusual promise; it is more probably the sort of bomb that bursts not more than once in three years."  Barely two years later his second collection, 25 Poems, was published and included the seminal poem “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”.  During the 1940s and 50s Thomas gained his reputation for self indulgent theatricality but this time also saw him and his wife, Caitlin, settle in Laugharne where he was to write most of his later poems.  In addition to his poetry, Thomas also wrote radio pieces, prose and plays – most famously Under Milk Wood, which was published shortly after his death. 


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Under Milk Wood