Dylan Thomas

gigatos | February 8, 2022


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

Childhood and youth

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

His father read to 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, 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, in which his first poem was published. 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 liked to read in public. He also became involved in working for the local theater – as an author and actor.

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

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

Moving to London, Thomas”s writing flourished. His works were published by all respectable magazines. He finally found a publisher for his first volume of 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 had 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 had made his first recording for BBC Radio Wales, under the title Life and the Modern Poet.

In 1939 a daughter, Llewelyn Edouard, was born to the Thomases, and the poet”s works were first published in the United States. A collection of poems and short stories, The Map of Love, was published before the outbreak of war, and 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 it also involved the mass conscription of young men into military service. Since “being a poet” was not enough, Thomas became heavily involved in radio work in hopes of avoiding conscription. He was successful not for professional reasons, but for health reasons – he appeared before the draft board after a night of alcoholic libations: sweaty, battered, trembling, and stuttering. He boasted that he had avoided an unpleasant duty (he was not a patriot, cared little about politics, and abhorred killing), which did not meet with understanding in the Laugharne community. As a result of their rivalry with their fellow residents, the Thomases moved to the countryside in southern England in the summer of 1940. This is when their marital problems began.

Thomas became a full-time radio personality in 1941 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 and sometimes, because of mutual irritations, separately. The threat of bombing in major cities prompted them to move to rural New Quay in Wales in late 1944. They moved out of there as early as 1945 after a disturbed neighbor tried to blow up the Thomas house. By then, however, some of Thomas”s 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. In early 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 opposite – his mother kept a watchful eye on her son”s drunken antics and cared for him when necessary.

In 1949, Thomas” third child was born – a son, Colm Garan Hart, 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 constant financial problems, the offer seemed tempting, and 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 engaging in casual romances, which did not bring him much glory. When his wife found out about Thomas”s antics, she felt humiliated and lost any confidence she had in him. Their quarrels became more frequent and violent.

Caitlin accompanied her husband on another trip to America, in early 1952. In November, a volume of Collected Poems was published, described as Thomas”s greatest literary achievement. The book won The William Foyle Poetry Prize and the Etna – Taormina International Prize for literature.

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

A trip to America

Another trip to America in mid-1953 was to promote Collected Poems. It was also during this time that Thomas”s play Under Milk Wood, whose creation was inspired by small-town Laugharne life, was first staged.

Thomas also made several television appearances that year, 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 signed a lucrative contract for a series of lectures that he was never to give again. Work exhaustion and an unhealthy lifestyle – alcohol and possibly drug abuse – 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 watch at his bedside.

Thomas died at 12:30 a.m. on November 9, 1953. The funeral ceremony took place in New York City. Some of the greatest writers of the day were present, including E. E. Cummings, William Faulkner, and 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. A recurring motif in his work is that of the cyclical nature of phenomena and the interconnectedness of man, its particle. In these phenomena Thomas saw some mystical plan.

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

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

Dylan Thomas has had a profound influence on 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.

Works published in Polish


  1. Dylan Thomas
  2. Dylan Thomas
Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.