Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas Arrives in the U.S. - 1950

On February 20, 1950, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas arrives in the United States for poetry reading tour. He became popular in his lifetime, and remained popular after his death; partly due to his larger than life character, and his reputation for drinking to excess. Although writing exclusively in the English language, Thomas has been acknowledged as one of the most important Welsh poets of the 20th century. Noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery, Thomas' position as one of the great modern poets has been much discussed, though this has not tarnished his popularity amongst the general public, who found his work accessible.

Thomas was born on October 27, 1914 in Wales. His works include the poems, "Do not go gentle into that good night” and "And death shall have no dominion" and many others. Although Thomas was appreciated as a popular poet in his lifetime, he found earning a living as a writer difficult, which resulted in him augmenting his income with readings and broadcasts. His radio recordings for the BBC during the latter half of the 1940s brought him a level of celebrity. In 1950 Thomas travelled to America, where his readings brought him a renewed level of fame, though his erratic behavior and drinking worsened. His time in America cemented Thomas' legend, where he recorded to vinyl works such as A Child's Christmas in Wales. During his fourth trip to New York in 1953 Thomas became gravely ill and fell into a coma from which he did not recover. He died on November 9, 1953 and his body was returned to Wales where he was buried at the village churchyard in Laugharne. 

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: 

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