Dylan Thomas: Poems Background

Dylan Thomas: Poems Background

The nature of Dylan Thomas lies in the tragic characteristics of the drama extending to his life. It is plagued by tales of alcoholism, jealousy, and penury. Yet, despite engaging in excessive self-indulgence, Thomas launched himself into writing and surmounted the temptation of hedonism momentarily to compose bewitching and laudable works of literature.

The Collection of poems published by Professor Goodby contain around 160 works and multiple versions of famous literary pieces, such as ‘Unluckily for a death’. This showcases the progress of Thomas’s editorial practice and underlines his gestalt approach to writing. There are polarised opinions of Thomas, as Treece wrote ‘Thomas is not an intellectual poet.’ Yet according to Goodby, Thomas purloined a few words from Djuna Barnes’s novel Nightwood in ‘The Ballad of Samson Jack’ and alluded to writers such as Beddoes and Sir Thomas Browne.

Thomas differed from his counterparts by travelling to the past and settling in the Romanticism period, despite living in the 1930s. He averted the political affairs of his time, happily drawn to the Welsh countryside where nature’s beauty imprinted on his writing. This is evident when examining his poems, they are saturated with images of nature and Thomas would write fervently when inhabiting a rural haven. However, his wartime masterpieces demonstrated the sympathy he felt for those affected by war, such as ‘A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.’

In his writing, Thomas painted a somber illusion injected with J. M Barrie’s notion of everlasting childhood, death was not something to be feared but instead something to embrace, a wondrous place for hide and seek and liberation from crippling age. The poem is the epitome of Thomas’s rejection of the conventional means of responding to death and his attitude towards religion. His poems reflect religious tendencies but the god he is referring to must not be confused with that of monotheism. He contemplated with Beckett that a person might never really have been born and explored various strands of paganism.

Thomas’s works reflect an attachment to adolescence, his first and second publication contained material from early notebooks. As Thomas grew older, the endeavour of publishing poems became demanding and he would often revisit his earlier self. But Thomas’s curiosity regarding embedded consciousness and the body was ongoing and most of his poems exhibit an enigmatic imaginative territory that seems to predate experience completely.

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