Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer, whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion"; the 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child's Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. He became widely popular in his lifetime, and remained so after his premature death at the age of 39 in New York City, but had by then acquired a reputation, which he encouraged, as a "roistering, drunken and doomed poet".
Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, in 1914. An undistinguished pupil, he left school at 16 and became a journalist for a short time. Although many of his works appeared in print while he was still a teenager, it was the publication of "Light breaks where no sun shines", in 1934, that caught the attention of the literary world. While living in London, Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara, whom he married in 1937. Their relationship, defined by alcoholism, was mutually destructive. In the early part of their marriage, Thomas and his family lived hand-to-mouth, settling in the Welsh fishing village of Laugharne.
Although Thomas came to be appreciated as a popular poet during his lifetime, he found earning a living as a writer difficult, and began augmenting his income with reading tours and radio broadcasts. His radio recordings for the BBC during the late 1940s brought him to the public's attention, and he was frequently used by the BBC as a populist voice of the literary scene. In the 1950s, Thomas first traveled to the United States, where his readings brought him a level of fame, while his erratic behaviour and drinking worsened. His time in America cemented Thomas's legend, however, and he went on to record to vinyl such works 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 never recovered, and he died on 9 November 1953. His body was returned to Wales where he was interred at the village churchyard in Laugharne on 25 November 1953.
Thomas wrote exclusively in the English language. He has been acknowledged as one of the most important Welsh poets of the 20th century, and is noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery. Thomas's position as one of the great modern poets has been much discussed. He remains popular with the public, who generally find his work readily accessible...
Quotes by Dylan Thomas
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