The Poems of Dylan Thomas

Book in Focus
First published clothbound in 1971, simultaneously in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, Ltd. This edition published by New Directions (1971), with Introduction and notes by Daniel Jones. Hardcover, 291 pages

Dylan Thomas’s work might be considered as a continuation of Romantic ideals into the modern era due to his emphasis on originality, passion, and intelligence. His works are renowned for their unusual vocabulary and vivid imagery. As opposed to the academic curiosity that appears to have motivated many of the other prominent poets of his day, Thomas’s poetry seems to be driven by intense emotion.

In fact, a significant portion of his poetry seems to delve deeply into enigmatic and perplexing topics. Thomas was more interested in wordplay and its meaning than his contemporaries, who were more focused on social and political concerns. His poetry often uses rhyme and alliteration because of this. Early in the 1970s, Daniel Jones, a classmate of Thomas who also had some literary success, assembled and published this collection of 192 poems for the first time.

Prior to this book, Thomas’s collected poems were first published in 1952, with an “Author’s Prologue” written especially for that volume. He died a year later from alcohol-related brain edema. His growing fame in the years before his death ensured that every poem he completed would be preserved as part of his legacy. Jones included an additional 102 poems here, bringing the total to 192, up from 90 in the first edition of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas’s poetry is presented here in a collection that is both engaging and informative thanks to careful editing and extensive annotations. When compared to earlier versions, this one is much more comprehensive and covers more ground. In presenting a Dylan Thomas who is still relevant for modern readers, this anthology forces us to reevaluate our assumptions about British poetry from the last several decades.

This selection of Dylan Thomas’s poetry serves as an excellent introduction for anyone who is not already acquainted with his work. This stunning collection of Thomas’s poems, published by New Directions, has an introduction written by Jones that is quite informative. Obtaining this book as soon as possible is highly recommended for anyone interested in knowing more about Dylan Thomas’s work.

Memorable Quotes

I know this vicious minute’s hour;
It is sour motion in the blood,
That, like a tree, has roots in you,
And buds in you.

Page 9, The Poems of Dylan Thomas (edited by Daniel Jones)

Love me, not as the dreaming nurses
My falling lungs, nor as the cypress
In his age the lass’s clay.
Love me and lift your mask.

Page 75, The Poems of Dylan Thomas (edited by Daniel Jones)

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs,
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

Page 195, The Poems of Dylan Thomas (edited by Daniel Jones)

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.

Page 207, The Poems of Dylan Thomas (edited by Daniel Jones)

Further Reading

Dylan Thomas, Poetry Foundation

Dylan Thomas: Rock ‘n’ roll poet by Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture

Dylan Thomas by Edith Sitwell, The Atlantic

Reckless Endangerment: The Making and Unmaking of Dylan Thomas by Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker

Dylan Thomas From the Archive | A Resource, Wales Arts Review

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