The Legacy of Dylan Thomas
Often revered as one of Wales’ greatest poets, Dylan Thomas lives on through his timeless and often moving collection of work. Taught in schools across the world, Thomas has become a familiar writer to many. From Under Milk Wood to Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, Thomas’ words have echoed across each of our lips at one time or another. But there’s more to the story than these beloved classics. These articles feature experts who bring to light some of Thomas’ lesser known works as well as providing fresh interpretations of pieces now over half a century old.
Thomas has also gone on to inspire many. From visual art exhibitions to the opera, many modern creative minds are channelling Thomas’ work to create art that is at once new, and true in spirit to the original work. Each of these artists discovers more about their own identity as an artist through Thomas. These adaptations are breathing new life into old words, and introducing a whole new generation to Dylan Thomas. The younger generation can now see his work not as just “required reading”, but the beauty in the. multitude of ways it is manifested in these modern works of art. It is these new pieces, created in the centenary of his birth and afterward, that cement Thomas’ legacy in the literary canon, even to this day.
These articles provide a holistic view of the impact Dylan Thomas had, and still has, on the literary world.
John Idris Jones delves into Dylan Thomas’ archive and asks: is Thomas a great poet?
John Metcalf OBE talks to Carl Griffin about his seventh opera, Under Milk Wood and, in particular, his approach to creating the libretto and the importance of sound. Under Milk Wood has been five years in the making and will premiere in the UK at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea 3 April 2014, for a three-day run before touring around Wales.
Peter Gaskell reviews Vernon Watkins on Dylan Thomas and Other Poets and Poetry, a revealing account of the genesis of an artist.
Adam Somerset reviews Llareggub by Peter Blake, a collection of illustrations in reference to Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood.
Steph Power reviews Under Milk Wood: an Opera by John Metcalf, a heartfelt and highly entertaining adaptation of the Thomas classic.
Gary Raymond reviews the BBC Wales’ televised production of Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.
Steph Powers reviews the BBC National Orchestra of Wales concert in honour of the Dylan Thomas centenary, featuring the world debut of Burtch’s Four Portraits of Dylan.
In celebration of the centenary of Thomas’ birth, Adam Somerset looks across a range of media to see how others remember the bard.
In the first of four exclusive extracts in the lead up to this year’s Dylan Day, leading Thomas expert Professor John Goodby explores several aspects of what we know about Thomas, and what we only thought we knew. As with so much relating to Thomas, writes John Goodby in the introduction to his hotly anticipated new book, Discovering Dylan Thomas, the story of the discovery of the fifth notebook is both entertaining and intriguing.
In the second part of our series in the lead up to Dylan Day, Professor John Goodby explores the influences on Thomas, what we can learn from them, and how they helped form his work.
In the third part of our series in the lead up to Dylan Day, Professor John Goodby explores the intertextual elements in Thomas’s work.
In the latest part of our series in the lead up to Dylan Day, Professor John Goodby examines how Thomas’ work fits into the canon of English poetry and the English tradition.
In celebration of #DylanDay 2017, Professor John Goodby remembers the unveiling of the fabled Dylan Thomas Fifth Notebook in 2015.
Adam Somerset provides an analysis of the Thomas portrait by Augustus John featured in the National Portrait Gallery.
Editors John Goodby and Lyndon Davies introduce a ground-breaking new anthology of Welsh poetry that showcases a strong tradition of innovative poets experimentalism, The Edge of Necessary: Wales and Innovative Poetry. In this first extract, the two trace the lines of the Welsh tradition, and the emergence of an anti-establishment school of work.
In Part 2 of this extract from The Edge of Necessary: Wales and Innovative Poetry, editors John Goodby and Lyndon Davies trace the emergence of the modern poetry scene in Wales, charting the evolution of innovative poetry and citing the work of some of the most significant poets of Wales of the last fifty years.
The Personal Life of Dylan Thomas
In the case of the much-beloved Welsh poet Thomas, sometimes the myth outshines the man. Many tales are told about Dylan Thomas, tending towards the horizontal rather than the vertical in pubs. Other tales note of a distinctive difference between Thomas in his day-to-day life and his persona as a poet. Even more tales are told about the complexities of his marriage and his affair. But what is fiction, or has been exaggerated with the passing years, and what is fact? What was Thomas, the man, really like?
These interviews and articles explore the personal life of a deeply flawed yet talented writer whose life was cut short all too soon, from the perspectives of those who knew him, some intimately, others at a glance. Together they form an image of Dylan Thomas, not as a great poet, or as a symbol of Wales, but simply as a human being. Following the 100th anniversary of his birth, Thomas is remembered in all the intricacy and complexity of his life.
After all, while “death of the author” may be a valid lens through which to read, Thomas’ personal life, just like the personal life of every other writer, shapes their identity. In doing so, it also shapes the content, form and allusions within their art. Whether or not we choose to ignore it, the lived experience is still there. This personal narrative provides context for Thomas’ writing so that we may better understand it.
Peter Gaskell reviews A Pearl of Great Price, the collection of love letters from Thomas to Pearl Kazin during their affair in 1950.
Sarah King discusses Ceri Richards’ body of work in visual art at the Martin Tinney Gallery and how it reflects and builds upon the poetry of Thomas.
Professor Walford Davies is one of Wales’ foremost literary critics and a world authority on the life and works of Thomas. In the first of a new series of interviews from Jasper Rees centring on the life and work of the poet in his centenary year, Davies talks about his admiration for the work of Thomas, his first introduction and his views on the national celebrations.
In the second of Jasper Rees’ interviews centred around the celebrations of Thomas’ centenary, for National Eisteddfod Archdruid, T James Jones discusses the poets’ ‘Welshness’, as well as his own translations of Under Milk Wood into Welsh.
Continuing our series of interviews with significant figures in the world of Dylan Thomas, Jasper Rees talks to John Goodby, poet, critic and Professor of English at Swansea University. Goodby’s book The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall (Liverpool University Press) was published in 2013. His new edition of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) is published in the month of the centenary of Thomas’s birth.
Meeting Dylan – To celebrate Dylan Thomas at 100, Jasper Rees collected statements from those who met the poet.
Gwen Watkins met her husband Vernon Watkins when they were both working at Bletchley Park during the war. Thomas was supposed to be his closest friend’s best man but did not show up at the wedding, in London, seventy years ago this month. Vernon Watkins wrote Thomas’s obituary in The Times and edited his posthumous work. He died in 1967. Their creative relationship is encapsulated in Gwen Watkins’s book Dylan Thomas: Portrait of A Friend (Y Lolfa). She still lives in the Mumbles.
On the anniversary of the iconic poet’s death, Tony De Sarzec examines Thomas the drinker, and weighs the myths and evidence, asking the question: what killed Dylan Thomas?
To celebrate this year’s International Dylan Thomas Day, we republish Gary Raymond‘s 2014 essay on the creation of the myth of the man, and the importance of that myth to the industry that has come from it.
Continuing our series of articles leading up to #DylanDay on May 14th, Hannah Ellis writes a very personal reflection of the iconic poet, her grandfather Thomas’ legacy, and what International Dylan Day means to her.
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Header Image Courtesy of Dean Lewis