The Life and Work
One: I am a Welshman;
two: I am a drunkard;
three: I am a lover of the human race,
especially of women.
A quote by one of the best-known British poets of the mid-20th century, he is remembered for his highly original, obscure poems, his amusing prose tales and plays, and his turbulent, well-publicized personal life. His name, Dylan Thomas.
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914 in Swansea, Glamorganshire (Wales). He was educated at Swansea Grammar School and spent most of his childhood writing poetry and bunking school. His father was the senior English Literature Master at Dylan’s school, but not even his father could prevent him from skipping school and writing poetry. It has been said that Dylan had an extremely wild imagination and that it was “Freed” by him playing in a near by park as a young boy. His ambition from those early imaginative years was to be a great poet like Keates and the other great poets before him. Although his poetry was described as obscure even from the early days of his life, he had a very specific style of writing poetry. He wrote about his surroundings in the beautiful welsh countryside and little town that he grew up in. Before the publishing of Thomas’ first book in 1934, he worked as a reporter between 1931-1932, for The South Wales Daily Post, in Swansea. Then he worked as a free-lance writer from 1933 at this time he also took part in the local theatre and expressed his acting skills. One of his first plays was a part in the Merchant Of Venice and it was said whilst he was involved in the theatre he spent most of his free time in the nearby pub-this was supposadely the beginning of his life long drinking problem.
Thomas’ first book, 18 Poems was published as the result of a prize. Thomas was only 19 when this volume of poetry was released. He wrote nearly 30 poems in late 1933 and early 1934, of which 13 were published in this volume. Between May and October 1934, he completed another five for inclusion in the book. The Thomas’ poems first appeared in the Sunday Referee in 1933 in a feature column called the Poets’ Corner, edited by Victor Neuburg and Runia Sheila MacLeod. Neuburg began to award prizes to poets whose work was judged to be the finest printed in the column over a period of six months. The prize was that the Sunday Referee would publish the winning poet’s work in book form. Dylan Thomas became the second recipient of the prize, which he won for the second of seven poems he published in Poets’ Corner, the poem, The Force that through the Grass Fuse Drives the Flower. The editors had some difficulty getting Thomas’ manuscript accepted by a publisher, until David Archer of the Parton Bookshop agree d to have the book printed. Five hundred copies were printed, but only 250 were bound and issued in December 1934. The remaining half, constituting the second issue, were bound and put on sale on February 21, 1936. It was praised by few because it was so obscure.
In 1934 he went to live in London for a while and loved living the bohemian life style but he always came back to the welsh countryside where he would be inspired to write great poetry. His favourite place as a child and an adult to return to was his Aunts farm in the west of the welsh countryside called “Fern Hill”. This was to be the inspiration for one of his greatest poems of his career. Fern Hill is a wonderfully crafted description of how Thomas’ childhood imagination run