IT IS THE BIRTHDAY OF DYLAN THOMAS

 

 

Dylan Thomas

 

The great Welsh poet Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on 27 October 1914 and died, controversially some would say, at the age of 39 in New York.  Today would have been his 100th birthday. (Picture credit: The Guardian).

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Poetry is in the main a foreign land to me.  I try and I try but rarely enjoy it, and Dylan’s offerings are little different: to me, heavy and difficult to appreciate.

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HOWEVER, his play for voices – Under Milk Wood – is one of the gems of my life, something without which my existence would have been considerably the poorer; a simply vast pleasure and  inspiration.  I bought my first copy while at university in Swansea in the 1960s, and have never let those words be far from me ever since. 

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You’d like an example?  In this one small book there are far, far too many to choose from, but here are the play’s opening words, spoken in a low, soft voice, and taking the listener into the small, fictional town around which the play is set, Llareggub – “Bugger All”, spelt backwards:

“To begin at the beginning:  It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.”.

That get to you at all?  It completely flattens me.

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So, its his birthday and I want to celebrate him – and in doing so, here are some things to pass on.  Last night (Saturday 26 Oct), on BBC4 at 7pm, there was an excellent rendering of Under Milk Wood from across the world by an all Welsh cast – worth seeing.  Here’s a really excellent and comprehensive BBC link to their recent Thomas output, including this programme.

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And yesterday the play opened in The States on Broadway, on the same stage that it was first performed on, just after Dylan’s death in 1953 – any of you Easterners into this stuff?  The BBC link has footage of Jimmy Carter talking about his love of Dylan’s work.

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A good biography is Dylan Thomas A New Life (ISBN 0 75381 787 x), and I’m currently reading a book by his wife, Caitlin, someone I have always found fascinating – My life with Dylan Thomas: double drink story (ISBN 978-1-84408-518-7).

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So, remembering genius.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

12 Responses to IT IS THE BIRTHDAY OF DYLAN THOMAS

  1. Sonali Dalal says:

    some programmes are not available in my country 😦

    Like

  2. Sonali Dalal says:

    I just checked the link you shared. A treasure!! i will go through it soon. Please do share such subjects 🙂

    Like

  3. Sonali Dalal says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have never heard of him!! I will surely check out the link you have shared. I am caught by the para you shared. Took me there.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you for your 3 comments, my friend, this seems really to have hit you! I’m glad you were caught by the words, Dylan was an astonishing master of words and Under Milk Wood is full of wonder. Yes, some – maybe all – of the programmes will not be available in India, but the BBC’s World Service might have something – although I have no idea if it has catch up facilities. And I’m sure you can get the book of Under Milk Wood, even if it has to be ordered from abroad. Do you have access to Amazon.com, for books, etc?

      I’m very glad that Dylan Thomas has caught your imagination. Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Genius indeed. The reading of UMW by Richard Burton is (of course!!) amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paula graham says:

    Genius indeed. I saw a film about his short life and loves..and , dare I say it..drink. Would not have been an easy person to live with ..a genius rarely is!!!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Re genius, I absolutely agree. I enjoy a drink, good quality beer and cider are my thing – the cider being default, I’m a Somerset lad after all – but Dylan’s drinking would leave me standing, even in my younger and very stupid years – and it would have killed me long before now.

      Like

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