Later still we toured Wales four times, and stopped in Laugharne at a BB which was previously a bar where the poet hung out I was shocked to see Fern Hill the farm in town, on a knoll a hundred yards above the old square I volunteered to recite some DT at his cottage, now a teahouse For some tea No go, But you can recite some of his poems I, No, like Dylan Thomas, I only recite when remunerated if only by tea.
Cannabis was so prevalent by the end of high school and beginning of college, my need to belong so great, that I was a regular user on weekends Eventually, however, having explored the action of the drug to the extent of taking enough hashish as to be unable to move, absorbed in drifting over brilliant kaleidoscopically checkered fields, I recognized that I wasn t learning anything new Marihuana made me silly, made me hungry, made me sleepy, left me with a hangover the next day, a mild stupor None of this was very important or very interesting I pretty much stopped taking the stuff.
There were, however, exceptions One, of course, was music I could understand why my musician friends liked the stuff The other was music s cousin, poetry.
Thank heavens I was forced to read so much poetry in the public schools I have some acquaintance with the major English and American poets because of it some too with the Germans in translation But, come college, there was no time for such indulgence Time constraints being what they were, the poems that were assigned in some classes were read quickly, silently and with little enjoyment The music was lost, only the concepts were obtained, enough to get by in class Weed, the great time waster, provided a fortuitous exception to the rule, an exception that remains vivid to this day.
It was a weekend in the winter of sopho year I had gotten stoned, gotten introspective and had wandered off to a lounge on north campus, leaving my partying friends Not being sleepy, not liking my typically self critical thoughts, I had prudentially grabbed a book, Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas Normally, under the influence, reading wasn t easy Printed words played like eels in shifting, shallow waters Reading was slow going, distractive, the mind going hither and yon much like the eels But I had never tried poetry before.
To focus, and because his style so obviously demands vocalization, I read the poems aloud, sittling there alone on an ugly couch in an ugly lounge They were beautiful, impressive I read a poem, got the concept, the pattern, and read it again, better, with understanding, with proper emphasis I did my best with what I imagined to be a Welch accent, an imitation of his voice from A Child s Christmas in Wales which Father had listened to yearly Certain of the critical faculties being shot, it sounded pretty good It was quite enjoyable, baroquely enriching I forgot to be depressed, staying up the night with the music of Dylan Thomas.
The Collected Poems Of Dylan Thomas Contains Poems That Thomas Personally Decided Best Represented His Work A Year Before Its Publication Thomas Died From Swelling Of The Brain Triggered By Excessive Drinking Since Its Initial Publication In , This Book Has Become The Definitive Edition Of The Poet S Work Thomas Wrote Prologue Addressed To My Readers, The Strangers An Introduction In Verse That Was The Last Poem He Would Ever Write Also Included Are Classics Such As And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, And Fern Hill That Have Influenced Generations Of Artists From Bob Dylan Who Changed His Last Name From Zimmerman In Honor Of The Poet , To John Lennon The Beatles Included Thomas Portrait On The Cover Of Sgt Pepper S Lonely Hearts Club Band This Collection Even Appears In The Film Adaptation Of Cormac McCarthy S The Road When It Is Retrieved From The Rubble Of A bookshelf Dylan Thomas Collected Poems 1914 1953 Visions of creation and mortality I read this from cover to cover, to make sure I had not missed a gem But no.
Reluctantly, but truthfully I must confess that I could not connect to these poems.
I found the vocabulary plain, if not vulgar in many cases, and repetitive,the formulation and style deconstructed.
In most cases, I understand the words but not the meaning of the sentence or even the complete poem.
Emotions called upon are dark, plaintiff, accusative, mortality, death.
The volume contains 156 pages of poems and about 100 pages of Notes The work seems to need a lot of explanation.
The author is celebrated as one of the great poets of this century.
Just a master of sheer language.
His poetry works on your inner consciousness, you feel it and hear it before you think it Untangling his syntax and his associations makes for some interesting reading all its own.
His name meant wave , as in the ocean, in Welsh.
He said his three biggest influences were Yeats I think , The Bible, and Freud.
Imagine this simmering stew, this cauldron if you will, and you ve got yourself something rich, evocative, stormy, and powerful.
It s the goshdarn lifeforce incarnate Go to the smaller,obscure poems first Get yourself tied up in the bog water of his preoccupations before you read the stuff that splainspoken.
I mean, this is LYRIC poetry it s being sung And there s that rich history of pseudo gaelic that makes the language edible and raw and bone blunt I can t say enough about this guy, he s held me in rapture for years I can t even focus on it too well since he is so visceral and obscure in all the best ways.
Dylan Thomas was first recognized after the publication in 1934 of Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines Light breaks where no sun shine Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart Push in their tides And, broken ghosts with glow worms in their heads The things of light File through the flesh where no flesh decks the boneCritics wrote that his work is too narrow and suffers from verbal extravagance Robert Lowell wrote he is a dazzling obscure writer who can be enjoyed without understanding Generally, 20th century criticism ignored rather than studied his work because it failed to fit standard narratives In my reading of his poems, I can understand the critics s view, but I agree with Robert Lowell.
In his poem Elegy, Thomas wrote O deepest wound of all that he should die On that darkest day Oh, he could hide The tears out of his eyes, too proud to cry Until I die he will not leave my side.
Dylan Thomas died in New York City in 1953 He was 39.
5 Call me a philistine by all means The sad truth is that the Welsh word wizard failed to rock my boat I appreciated the lilting rhythms, the clever imagery, the brilliantly innovative use of words, the alliterative genius all that But I struggled to find meanings Normally after a couple of readings I get it or at least some of the poet s vibe but I generally failed miserably here and I got crosser and crosser probablywith myself than D.
T There were of course some wonderful exceptions Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, the unfinished Elegy, again about the death of his father Then also A Winter s Tale which I could quote here in full and argue against myself In the poles of the yearWhen blackbirds died like priests in the cloaked hedge rowAnd over the cloth of counties the far hills rode near,Under the one leaved trees ran a scarecrow of snowAnd fast through the drifts of the thickets antlered like deer, .
But there were all the other inaccessible would be gems, which left me cold.
I hope I can find an audio version of the Collected Poems This may well convey the riches that I ve missed here in my hopeless reading.
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 theyDo not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how brightTheir 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 sightBlind 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
I work in an office where we get a zillion phone calls from all over the world The people who call us are doctors or clinicians who have a problem with one of the many clinical trials we manage About half of the time the callers have broken English, and in a few cases they have no English so we get a translator by calling a translation service and conferencing them into the call This one particular evening a female co worker we ll call her Sarah because it was Sarah got this call from a guy who needed a translator He was talking in Portuguese, a language which sounds beautiful to non Portuguese speaking English people So anyway, the translator introduces herself and Sarah asks the translator to ask the guy what his problem is Translator turns that into Portuguese Guy talks in Portuguese a while Translator pauses then says to Sarah The gentleman says that he is calling from Brazil and asks if you would be willing to perform oral sex for him He has money to pay Sarah doesn t lose the beat and says Can you please explain that it appears he may have the incorrect telephone number and that we are a clinical trial management company Translator turns that into Portuguese Guy apologises and rings off Sarah thanks the translator and the call ends.
In this analogy, we are all Sarah, every literary critic who s ever written about Dylan Thomas is the translator, and Dylan Thomas is some dickhead from Brazil who sounds so beautiful until you find out he s talking about oral sex all the time.
This review is about me muchthan about the poetry of Dylan Thomas You can skip to the second last paragraph to read an excerpt from a Thomas poem if you like Reading this collection transported me to another time and place in my life It was a time and place when I sought depth in my life A time and place when I was much younger, much poorer, seeking love and sex and meaning In December 1967, I travelled from the small community in which I lived to the city to see my first rock concert, Jefferson Airplane I really just wanted to feed my head The best part was that at that concert, I met a girl or should l say, she once met me Yeah I got picked up at my first rock concert After the concert, she took me to a coffeehouse in a church basement The Winged Ox Think dark, smokey and folk music And there was a guy doing Leonard Cohen I was totally caught in the moment Girl, music, atmosphere and the words of Cohen She was my Suzanne except that she was Bonnie So what has this to do with Collected Poems , 1934 1952 by Dylan Thomas Think about Cohen s songs and poems love, sex, religion, death all served up in a dark, damp atmosphere that is so like our own lives Just as I was swept up by Cohen and Bonnie of course , I found myself swept up by Thomas while reading this, sans Bonnie Perhaps Thomas is a bit damper Now you would expect me to explicate this thesis but I will leave that for somebody s master degree thesis I only ask for a footnote A bit of Dylan Thomas from the poem If I were tickled by the rub of love I sit and watch the worm beneath my nail Wearing the quick away And that s the rub, the only rub that tickles The knobbly ape that swings along his sex From damp love darkness and the nurse s twist Can never raise the midnight of a chuckle, Nor when he finds a beauty in the breast Of lover, mother, lovers, or his six Feet in the rubbing dust And what s the rub Death s feather on the nerve Your mouth, my love, the thistle in the kiss My Jack of Christ born thorny on the tree The words of death are dryer than his stiff, My wordy wounds are printed with your hair I would be tickled by the rub that is Man be my metaphor After that night, I quit high school, moved to the city and devoted myself to being a hippie Bonnie She quickly dropped me, moved to Calgary and, last I heard, became a bartender How Leonard Cohen is that Dylan Thomas would have met her in the bar.