Dylan Thomas

Orfeas Katsoulis | Jan 11, 2024

Table of Content


Dylan Marlais Thomas (born October 27, 1914 in Swansea, died November 9, 1953 in New York) is a Welsh poet and writer.

Childhood and youth

He was born in Swansea, South Wales, the son of English literature teacher David John Thomas and a farmer's daughter, Florence Williams. He had a sister, Nancy, eight years older.

His father read him poetry by Shakespeare, among others, which led to a strengthening of the poet's love for the works of: Edgar Allan Poe, W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins. As a four-year-old boy, he recited excerpts from Shakespeare's works, and by the age of eight he was already writing his own poems.

In 1925, he began attending Swansea Grammar School. He was editor of the school newspaper, which published his first poem. In 1931, at the age of 16, he left school to take a job as a reporter for the South Wales Daily Post newspaper, writing reviews of local cultural events and articles about local artists. His sharp tongue and uncompromising opinions meant that his articles had to be censored and moderated. By this time he had already written quite a few poems and short stories, which he enjoyed reading in public. He also became involved in working for the local theater - as an author and actor.

In 1933, Thomas' poems were first published in the nationally circulated magazine Adelphi and in London's The Sunday Referee, meeting with a good reception.

Impressed by Thomas's poems, Pamela Hansford Johnson wrote to him - an abundant, intimate correspondence between them began. When their meeting took place in London in 1934, they became inseparable. Thomas went to live with Pamela's family for almost two months. There was even talk of marriage, but the relationship fell apart after two years - Thomas proved to be too irresponsible a partner.

The move to London brought a real boom in Thomas' writing. His works were published by all respectable magazines. He finally found a publisher for his first volume of 18 Poems (18 poems), which was published on December 18, 1934. Critics spared no praise. His next collection, 25 Poems (25 poems), came out the following fall.

Mature years

In the spring of 1936, Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara, his future wife. By the end of the year, the couple moved in together, and on July 11, 1937, without a formal engagement and against their parents' wishes, they married. In May 1938, the Thomases settled in the seaside town of Laugharne in Wales.

Even before the move, Thomas made his first recording for the Welsh branch of BBC radio, under the title Life and the Modern Poet.

In 1939 a daughter, Llewelyn Edouard, was born to Thomas, and the poet's works were first published in the United States. Before the outbreak of war, a collection of poems and short stories, The Map of Love, 1939, was still published, while a volume of autobiographical short stories, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, was published in 1940.

The war reduced the public's need for poetry and literature, and was also associated with the mass conscription of young men into military service. Since "being a poet" was not enough, Thomas became heavily involved in working for the radio in the hope of avoiding conscription. He succeeded not for professional reasons, but for health reasons - he appeared before the draft board after a night of alcoholic libations: sweaty, battered, trembling, stuttering. He boasted that he had missed an unpleasant duty (he was not a patriot, he cared little about politics, and he also abhorred killing), which was not understood by the Laugharne community. The Thomases, as a result of their irritations with their fellow residents, moved out to the countryside in southern England in the summer of 1940. That's when their marital problems began.

In 1941, Thomas was hired full-time on the radio as a frontline report writer and voiceover artist. In 1943, his second daughter, Aeronwy Bryn, was born. During this time, the Thomases moved frequently, sometimes living together, sometimes - due to mutual irritations - separately. The threat of bombing in major cities prompted them to move to the countryside to New Quay, Wales, in late 1944. They moved out of there as early as 1945 after a disturbed neighbor tried to blow up the Thomases' house. By then, however, some of Thomas' most beautiful poems had been written, published in 1946 in the volume Deaths and Entrances - including Poem in October and Fern Hill.

From 1945 to 1947 the Thomases lived in Oxford, and in the spring of 1947 they went to Italy for a few months. At the beginning of 1948 they lived briefly in South Leigh, but after six months they returned to Laugharne, to a house that Thomas's wealthy admirer Margaret Taylor had bought for them. Thomas's parents also moved into the house across the street - his mother kept a watchful eye on her son's drunken antics and cared for him when necessary.

In 1949, Thomas' third child, a son, Colm Garan Hart, was born, but this did not ease the tension between the couple. Meanwhile, an offer came from America from a Jewish cultural organization led by John Brinnin. Thomas was asked to give a series of lectures. Faced with ongoing financial problems, the offer seemed tempting - on February 21, 1950, Thomas arrived in New York. For three months he traveled between New York and California, giving lectures at dozens of educational institutions. In the evenings he relieved his stress in bars, drinking, pranking and getting into casual romances, which did not bring him glory. When his wife found out about Thomas' antics, she felt humiliated and lost any remnants of trust in him. They quarreled more frequently and violently.

Caitlin accompanied her husband on another trip to America, in early 1952. A volume of Collected Poems was published in November, described as Thomas' greatest literary achievement. The book won literary prizes from The William Foyle Poetry Prize and the Etna - Taormina International Prize.

In December 1952, Thomas' father, with whom he renewed a close relationship after returning to Langhorne, died. This was a great blow to the poet, and his father's prolonged illness and the emotions associated with it resulted in one of his most beautiful poems, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Thomas' sister also died the following year.

A trip to America

Another trip to America in mid-1953 was in connection with the promotion of Collected Poems. It was also at this time that Thomas' play Under Milk Wood, whose creation was inspired by small-town Laugharne life, was first staged.

That year Thomas also made several television appearances, and Time magazine devoted a long, unflattering article to him, summarizing his infamous drunken exploits. The poet sued the magazine for defamation.

Another visit to America began in October 1953. It was marked by travel between New York and California and work on the libretto of an opera for which Igor Stravinsky was to write the music. Rehearsals for Under Milk Wood were underway, and Thomas had also signed a lucrative contract for a series of lectures he was never to give again. Exhaustion from work and an unhealthy lifestyle - abuse of alcohol and possibly drugs - caused a severe attack on November 4. The next day, Thomas fell into a coma. Until his wife's arrival on November 8, his lover, John Brenner's assistant Liz Reitell, kept vigil at his bedside.

Thomas died at 12:30 am on November 9, 1953. The funeral ceremony took place in New York. The greatest writers of the time were present, including E. E. Cummings, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams. His wife brought his body to Wales, where it was buried on November 24, in Laugharne Cemetery. After her death in 1994, she was laid to rest next to her husband.

As a poet, Dylan Thomas moves readers with vivid language that is imaginative and rich in tone. He draws inspiration from Welsh folklore, the Bible, and the concepts of Sigmund Freud. The theme of the cyclicality of nature's phenomena and the connectivity of man, its particle, runs through his work. In these phenomena Thomas saw some mystical plan.

His works were translated into Polish by Tadeusz Jan Dehnel, J. Frühling, J. Pietrkiewicz and Stanisław Barańczak, among others.

Thomas' home in Laugharne, Boat House, now houses the Dylan Thomas Museum. Several monuments and sites dedicated to his memory are also located in Swansea, his hometown.

Dylan Thomas had a huge influence on subsequent generations of poets. In particular, on the poet-singer Robert Zimmerman, who used Thomas' name as his artistic pseudonym and later made a formal name change to Bob Dylan.


  1. Dylan Thomas
  2. Dylan Thomas
  3. ^ Jim Jones did very little farming at Fernhill, as his neighbours noted: "Big in his ways—no work in him—left Fernhill farm to ruins—they were in a poor way—received £1 a week compensation—but there was nothing wrong with him." See Thomas, D. N. (2003) Dylan Remembered 1914–1934, vol. 1, p. 213. Jim and Annie rented Fernhill from Frances Maria Blumberg, the daughter of Robert Ricketts Evans, the so-called Fernhill hangman. They left Fernhill about 1929 and moved to Mount Pleasant, a ramshackle cottage up the lane from Blaencwm. See Thomas (2003), ch. 5.
  4. ^ In his 1989 biography of Thomas, Ferris claims that two of Thomas's friends had stated that they met him in London in 1932, though his late 1933 visit to the city is the first for which evidence exists.[87]
  5. ^ Davenport was, for many years, literary editor of The Observer newspaper. "From July to November 1940 Dylan Thomas and his family stayed at 'The Malting House' 78 High Street, Marshfield, near Chippenham in Gloucestershire, with the critic John Davenport and his American painter wife, Clement, who kept an open house for musicians and writers. The composers Lennox Berkeley and Arnold Cooke, the music critic William Glock and writer Antonia White, joined them."[117]
  6. ^ The reason for being graded unsuitable for military service is vague. His mother said it was due to "punctured lungs", while Vernon Watkins believed it was "scarred" lungs. Neither statement is corroborated by Thomas's autopsy, although Milton Helpern found some emphysema, probably caused by chain-smoking.[121]
  7. a b c d Academy of AmericanA.A. Poets Academy of AmericanA.A., About Dylan Thomas | Academy of American Poets, poets.org [dostęp 2021-02-26] .
  8. Dylan Thomas, [w:] Encyclopædia Britannica [online] [dostęp 2022-09-30]  (ang.).
  9. a b c Neurotic Poets - Dylan Thomas, neuroticpoets.com [dostęp 2021-02-26] .
  10. Ferris, Paul (1989). Dylan Thomas, A Biography. New York: Paragon House. ISBN 1-55778-215-6.
  11. «Dylan Thomas: ‘Rimbaud de Cwmdonkin Drive’, por Juan Arabia».
  12. Aware, archive of women artists, research and exhibitions [1]

Please Disable Ddblocker

We are sorry, but it looks like you have an dblocker enabled.

Our only way to maintain this website is by serving a minimum ammount of ads

Please disable your adblocker in order to continue.

Dafato needs your help!

Dafato is a non-profit website that aims to record and present historical events without bias.

The continuous and uninterrupted operation of the site relies on donations from generous readers like you.

Your donation, no matter the size will help to continue providing articles to readers like you.

Will you consider making a donation today?