Dylan Thomas

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born October 27, 1914 in the Welsh seaport of Swansea, Wales. Thomas attended the Swansea Grammar School, where he received all of his formal education. As a student he made contributions to the school magazine and was keenly interested in local folklore. Having declared at the age of eight that he was a poet, he began writing early and published his first book of poetry, 18 Poems (1934), when he was not yet twenty years old. After leaving school, Thomas supported himself as an actor, reporter, reviewer, scriptwriter, and with various odd jobs. When he was twenty-two years old, he married Caitlin Macnamara, with whom he had two sons, Llewelyn and Colm, and a daughter, Aeronwy. After their marriage, Dylan and Caitlin moved to the fishing village of Laugharne, Carmarthenshire.

By 1938 Thomas’s reputation was growing the United Kingdom, yet he was still basically unknown in the United States until a poem of his appeared in the 1938 anthology New Directions in Poetry and Prose, and two of his earlier poetry volumes were published by James Laughlin under the title The World I Breathe (1939).

During World War II, Thomas wrote radio scripts for the Ministry of Information and documentaries for the British government. After the war he became a commentator on poetry for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Thomas continued writing poems, stories, essays, and plays, and in 1950 made the first of four reading tours through the United States, during which he gave more than one hundred poetry readings. In these appearances he half recited, half chanted the lines in what became known as his famous “Welsh singing” voice and inspired generations of modern poets to begin reading their poems in public.

Following the extraordinary success of his just-published Collected Poems, Thomas began his final tour of the United States on October 16, 1953. He collapsed at the Chelsea Hotel and fell into a coma on November 5. He died four days later in St. Vincent’s Hospital at the age of thirty-nine. Thomas was buried in the graveyard of St. Martin’s Church, Laugharne, Wales.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Poetry by Dylan Thomas

This gem of lyric prose has enchanted both young and old for over half a century and is now a modern classic. Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), one of the greatest poets and storytellers of the twentieth century, captures a child’s-eye view and an adult’s fond memories of a magical time of presents, aunts and uncles, the frozen sea, and in the best of circumstances, newly fallen snow.
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Under Milk Wood

Theater by Dylan Thomas

Under Milk Wood is the masterpiece “radio play for voices” Dylan Thomas finished just before his death in 1953. First commissioned by the BBC and broadcast in 1954, it has been performed and celebrated by Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Elton John, Tom Jones, Catherine Zeta Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O’Toole, and many others. In Under Milk Wood, Thomas gave fullest expression to his sense of the magnificent flavor and variety of life.…
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Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The Original

Poetry by Dylan Thomas

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas contains poems that Thomas personally decided best represented his work. The year of its publication, Thomas died from swelling of the brain triggered by excessive drinking. (A piece of New Directions history: it was our founder James Laughlin who identified Thomas’ body at the morgue of St. Vincent’s Hospital.) Since its initial publication in 1953, this book has become the definitive edition of the poet’s work.…
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The Poems Of Dylan Thomas

Poetry by Dylan Thomas

Edited by John Goodby

With a contribution by John Goodby

The reputation of Dylan Thomas as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century has not waned in the six decades since his death. A Welshman with a passion for the English language, Thomas’s singular poetic voice has been admired and imitated, but never matched. This exciting, newly edited, annotated volume offers a more complete collection of Dylan Thomas’s poetic works than any previous edition. Edited by the leading Dylan Thomas scholar John Goodby, The Poems of Dylan Thomas contains all the poems that appeared in Collected Poems 1934–1952, edited by Dylan Thomas himself, as well as poems from the 1930–1934 notebooks and letters, amatory verses, occasional poems, the verse script for “Our Country,” and the poems that appear in his radio “play for voices,” Under Milk Wood.…
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Selected Poems 1934 -1952

Poetry by Dylan Thomas

One of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Dylan Thomas prepared this collection of ninety poems shortly before his early death in 1953. These are the poems he felt best represented his work, and this collection honors the 50th anniversary of the poet’s death. In addition to the textual corrections in this revised edition (originally published as The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas in 1953 by New Directions), a short chronology of the poet’s life and an index of titles’ and first lines have been added as well as the unfinished poem “In Country Heaven.…
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Eight Stories

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

Collected here are eight particularly enjoyable Dylan Thomas stories, stories hailed by The New Statesman as “the unself-conscious classics, compassionate, fresh, and very funny… radiating enthusiasm and delight in the telling.“ The Los Angeles Times also praised the collection: ”His prose, his images, his stories all pulsate with life, with a beat and variety that captivate, invigorate and clarify… What strikes one most, finally, about these stories is their generosity. With a little distance from thier alluring world, we’re aware of Dylan Thomas mining this material from inside his self, excavating, polishing, and setting it asparkle before us.…
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On The Air With Dylan Thomas: The Broadcasts

Nonfiction by Dylan Thomas

A book full of surprises and delights, On the Air with Dylan Thomas presents all of Thomas’s BBC radio work (with the exception of “Under Milk Wood”, which is available separately). Thomas served his broadcasting apprenticeship as a teenager with his friend Daniel Jones. They set up a “station” between the second and first floors of the Jones’ home “Warmley,” dubbing it the Warmley Broadcasting Company. Then, starting in 1943 and continuing to his death, Thomas often sat behind a BBC microphone, variously giving radio talks, introducing poetry selections, participating in round-table discussions, reading dramas, essays, and poems.…
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The Collected Stories of Dylan Thomas

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

This gathering of all Dylan Thomas’s stories, ranging chronologically from the dark, almost surrealistic tales of Thomas’s youth to such gloriously rumbustious celebrations of life as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Adventures in the Skin Trade, charts the progress of “The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive” toward his mastery of the comic idiom. Here, too, are stories originally written for radio and television and, in a short appendix, the schoolboy pieces first published in the Swansea Grammar School Magazine.…
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Rebecca’s Daughters

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

Rebecca’s Daughters is the nearest Dylan Thomas ever came to realizing his ambition to write a film scenario in such a way that it would not only stand ready for shooting but would, at the same time, give the ordinary reader a visual impression of the film in words. A romantic adventure story set in mid-nineteenth-century Wales, Rebecca’s Daughters has a dashing hero who is not what he seems; commonfolk oppressed by the landowners; and finally, justice triumphant over greed and misused privilege.…
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The Doctor And The Devils

Theater by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas’s principal works for film and radio provide a rewarding experience for those readers who know him only through his poetry and stories. The Doctor and the Devils is the scenario for a feature-length film. This tale of murder is based on the famous case of the Scottish body-snatchers Burke and Hare, who thrilled newspaper readers in the mid-nineteenth century and whose crimes are still relished among homicide buffs today.…
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Quite Early One Morning

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

In England and America Dylan Thomas made his art and personality widely known through public readings, radio broadcasts and recordings. Many of the 25 short stories, autobiographical sketches and essays in Quite Early One Morning, a volume planned by Thomas shortly before his death, were read by him on such occasions. They are alive with his verbal magic, his intense perception of life, his gargantuan humor and with the very ring of his voice.…
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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

The “Young Dog” of the title is of course Thomas himself, and this volume of autobiographical stories by the great modern poet, who died at 39 while on his third lecture tour in the United States, shows his waggish humor at its best, his exuberance and verbal magic in spectacular display. It also shows him a spinner of tales and a creator of memorable characters. There is the grandfather who marches off in his best clothes to be buried in the next town, the sardonic “senior reporter” on a provincial newspaper, servant girls who know how to deal triumphantly with a fast-talking dandy, a twenty-year-old farmer preaching wildly to boys in a deserted barn, a group of respectable worthies who play at literature behind closed blinds, and always the observant and unfazed young Thomas.…
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Adventures In The Skin Trade

Fiction by Dylan Thomas

This collection of the poet Dylan Thomas’s fiction––and what an extraordinary storyteller he was!––holds special interest because it ranges from the early stories such as “The School for Witches” and “The Burning Baby,” with their powerful inheritance of Welsh mythology and wild imagination, to the chapters he completed before his death of the alas unfinished novel Adventures in the Skin Trade. Adventures is the story, written in a shrewd, sly, deadpan vein of picaresque comedy, of young Samuel Bennet, who runs away from his home in Wales to seek his fortune in London.…
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Under Milk Wood

Theater by Dylan Thomas

Here, in the masterpiece completed just before his death in 1953, Dylan Thomas gave fullest expression to his sense of the magnificent flavor and variety of life. A moving and hilarious account of a spring day in a small Welsh coast town, Under Milk Wood begins with dreams and ghosts before dawn, moves through the brilliant, noisy day of the townspeople and closes as the “rain of dusk brings on the bawdy night.…
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[It is] the work Thomas himself had considered most representative of his voice as a poet and, now, of his legacy — a legacy that has continued to influence generations of writers, artists, and creative mavericks: Bob Dylan changed his last name from Zimmerman in an homage to the poet, The Beatles drew his likeness onto the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Christopher Nolan made “Do not go gentle into that good night” a narrative centerpiece of his film Interstellar.

—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

The language is enchanting and the poetry shines with an unearthly radiance.

New York Times

…altogether a rich sampling of a man whose sensuousness reached far into both comedy and mysticism.

Newsweek

The greatest radio play ever.

The Telegraph

My favorite poet is Dylan Thomas.

—Jimmy Carter

His prose, his images, his stories all pulsate with life.

The Los Angeles Times

A dazzling obscure writer who can be enjoyed without understanding.

—Robert Lowell

Thomas really found himself and artist who could achieve poetry by prose.

The London Sunday Times

It would be hard for any work of art to communicate more directly and funnily and lovingly what it is like to be alive.

—Randall Jarrell

A dazzling combination of poetic fireworks and music-hall humor.

The New York Times

Under Milk Wood is lyrical, impassioned and funny, an Our Town given universality: by comparison with anything broadcast for a long time, it exploded on the air like a bomb, but a life-giving bomb.

The Nation

Dazzlingly inventive and diverse… glorious, sweet and funny… Another fine addition to the Dylan Thomas shell providing insight into the man and his art.

Booklist

Dylan Thomas threw two purses to the world. One was filled with poems, the other with the golden glitter of his wit and fantasy. That second purse contains his finished prose and his unfinished film scripts. Even a little half-sovereign is rare enough, and here is one that sparkles and shimmers with the best.

—Constantine Fitzgibbon

His prose, his images, his stories all pulsate with life, with a beat and a variety that captivate, invigorate, and clarify.

Los Angeles Times
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