Author Profile: Dylan Thomas

Inspiration

I am so excited to look into Dylan Thomas this week. His poems are quite original. The poem “Do Not Go Gentle” is widely quoted as inspiring and motivating.

I remember that when I first read it, I was a teen and felt so awkward and couldn’t seem to get anything right. I was always making bad decisions and felt like no matter what I did, nothing mattered.

When I read this poem, I felt stronger and was able to face my terrible sense of hopelessness. I don’t know if they still teach the poem in high school. It is rumored that schools are very different now.

Background

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet. He was the son of a Literature professor. He dropped out of High School to go to work as a newspaper reporter and published his first book of poetry while still a teen.

Thomas worked later at the BBC where he wrote radio scripts and other pieces. He kept writing poetry and published several more books before the war hit.

It was the middle of WWII, and he was in the worst place imaginable–London. Air raids kept on while he and his wife tried to stay alive. I see what is happening in the Ukraine now and imagine it happening to our dear Britain and it breaks my heart. Yet, there was Dylan Thomas writing and living.

Dylan Thomas died at 39. It is said that his work is more reminiscent of the Romantics than of the other poets of his time. The way that he uses meter doesn’t remind me so much of the Romantics, but the heightened emotional content and intense method of connecting images do. In my humble opinion, he was an original and a genius.

The link labeled BBC News Biopic explains that many people think that he died because he drank all the time, but according to his friends and colleagues in Wales, he was a light drinker and very “modest.” He apparently developed that reputation here in the States because he wanted to appear larger than life and felt that drinking a lot of whiskey would help that image. He died from drinking too much on that one fateful night. To think he did that to cultivate his image. Nowadays, people call it establishing a brand!

Two Poems

Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, 1939.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


My Hero Bares His Nerves, 2003.

My hero bares his nerves along my wrist
That rules from wrist to shoulder,
Unpacks the head that, like a sleepy ghost,
Leans on my mortal ruler,
The proud spine spurning turn and twist.

And these poor nerves so wired to the skull
Ache on the lovelorn paper
I hug to love with my unruly scrawl
That utters all love hunger
And tells the page the empty ill.

My hero bares my side and sees his heart
Tread, like a naked Venus,
The beach of flesh, and wind her bloodred plait;
Stripping my loin of promise,
He promises a secret heat.

He holds the wire from the box of nerves
Praising the mortal error
Of birth and death, the two sad knaves of thieves,
And the hunger’s emperor;
He pulls the chain, the cistern moves.

Links

Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night

BBC News Biopic

Promise to do more research.

Happy writing!

Location Miami, Florida USA E-mail helen@lemushelen.blog Hours M - Th 8 - 10 PM EST and Saturday 4 - 8 PM EST
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