On this date…1st January 1935

Dylan’s first book 18 Poems was mentioned in the ‘Gossip of the Day’ column in the South Wales Evening Post. 

 Mr. Dylan Thomas’s verse is now published and those who want to see what the most modern of poetry is like will be able to satisfy their curiosity in the eighteen poems given in the volume. Mr. Thomas is at the spearhead of the very latest movement. I committed a faux-pas the other day when, mistakingly I referred to him as the T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pounds and Auden school. “Eliot! Pounds! Auden!” the young man said in derision. “They are numbers in the poetical world.” – Poetry moves swiftly these days.


Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

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An appalling affair! – An early critique of Dylan’s ‘New Verse’

Amongst the discarded cigarette packets, empty sweet wrappers and manuscripts underneath Dylan’s desk here at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive you will find a book that had upset Dylan in December 1934.

Published by Duckworth in late 1934, Aspects of Modern Poetry by Edith Sitwell was savagely critical of New Verse, a periodical ran by poet, novelist and critic Geoffrey Grigson. In her scathing review she used Dylan’s poem Our Eunoch Dreams, which had been published in New Verse in April 1934 as one of its bad examples. As an added insult she didn’t even mention the author of the piece by name!

She wrote…

‘An appalling affair! Metaphysics have not helped here. The idea is really of no importance, and the thick squelching, cloying, muddy substance of the “which,” “itch,” “shapes,” “starch,” “welshing rich” verse, and the equally, or almost equally hideous, “kicks,” “sack,” “trash,” “quick,” “cock,” “back,” “smack,” affair – these defeat criticism. In muddiness and incapacity, they leave T.E. Brown’s “God wot plot” arrangement at the starting post.’

Dylan wrote the following in a letter dated December 1934 to his friend and fellow writer and poet Glyn Jones

“So you’ve been reviewing Edith Sitwell’s latest piece of virgin dung, have you? Isn’t she a poisonous thing of a woman, lying, concealing, flipping, plagiarising, misquoting, and being as clever a crooked literary publicist as ever. I do hope you pointed out in your review the real points against the book (you did, I know, but I like being dogmatic) The majority of the book was cribbed from Herbert Read and Leavis, actually and criminally cribbed. She has misquoted Hopkins at least twenty times, reprinted many poems without the permission of the publisher or poet. Yes, that was my poem all right, reproduced without my name, misquoted at the end, and absurdly criticised. I duly sent my protest to Gerald Duckworth and he replied to the effect that so many protests of a similar sort had been received, that he could as yet do nothing about it. It is being hoped that he will have to withdraw the book.”

In less that a few months Dylan and Sitwell would change their respective tunes about one another. Fierce critic and fellow poet Edith Sitwell would become a patroness and champion of the young poet from Swansea…

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Published in: on 31 December, 2016 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Merry Christmas from Dylan’s

We’d like to wish all of our friends and volunteers a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your support once again this year.

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It’s been another wonderful year at the Dylan Thomas Birthplace with visitors from all over the World coming to learn more about the self-proclaimed ‘Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive.’ Offering hosted visits, dining experiences and overnight B&B and self catering stays – The 102 year old house that witnessed so much creativity offers something for everyone, let alone being the ultimate experience for any fan of the great Welsh ‘man of words.’

But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at what some of our visitors have said via our tripdavisor page!

We’ll close with this beautiful nostalgia filled video to give you an idea of what Christmas was like for Dylan and family.

Best wishes once more to you and your loved ones and we hope to hear from you in the coming New Year.

Don’t forget to visit our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com

Did you know that the earliest known photograph of a snowman was taken in Swansea?

The first documented man (or woman) to be made from snow dates back to medieval times, with the Book of Hours from 1380 believed to be the first time one of our frosty friends were referred to in print.

But it wasn’t until 1853/54 that the first image of a man carefully assembled from mounds of snow and a few carefully placed lumps of coal was preserved for prosperity right here in South West Wales.

© Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru -Probably the earliest photograph of a snowman taken by Mary Dillwyn

The photo above was taken by Mary Dillwyn of Penlle’r-gaer, said to be the earliest female photographer in Wales, and an early pioneer photography with her brother John Dillwyn Llewelyn.

As you can see from the photograph, snowmen were less decorative in appearance back in the mid 19th century – no arms or legs, and without a carrot for a nose, a pipe to smoke, or a scarf to keep them warm.

A reproduced article from 9th December South Wales Evening Post as reported by Mark Rees

Published in: on 23 December, 2016 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A naughty child’s Christmas in the Alpines…

Here is a rather unpleasant character from largely Alpine Christmas folklore featuring on a rather terrifying Christmas card from the early 1900s. ‘Greetings from the Krampus.’ As a boy and even into manhood Dylan was fascinated and had a great love of the grisly fairy tales that he had read whilst growing up, often reading them to his own children. One of his favourite reads was ‘Struwwelpeter’ a book of Germanic origin containing many children’s morality tales, that if weren’t adhered to, would often see something most unfortunate happen to the main protagonist in the stories. 

The ‘Krampus’ is a kind of Christmas Devil who takes away children who have misbehaved throughout the year for them to be never seen again. It is typically portrayed as a black, hairy beast with horns,a lolling tongue, cloven hooves, chains, a birch for beating and a sack or basket for trapping the children. 

The character is not commonly known in Britain but still very much exists in Alpine countries where various traditions are maintained. We know that Dylan was a very mischievous boy growing up, perhaps it may have been different if the tales of the Krampus had been more prominent in British folklore?

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Published in: on 23 December, 2016 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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This Christmas – Give the gift to create unique memories…

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This Christmas why not treat the ones that you love to a voucher entitling them to an overnight stay, dinner party, lunch or afternoon tea at the home of one of the 20th century’s most famous literary figures, Wales’ most renowned writer – Dylan Thomas.

Dylan Thomas Birthplace & Family Home is available for visiting, self-catering and dining experiences throughout the year. A truly unique literary house where you and your friends and family can create your own wonderful personal memories.

Whether No.5 is the voucher recipient’s homely Edwardian hub to relax, dine on the best food that the local area has to offer and unwind in, immerse themselves in the World of their favourite writer, or used as a base to explore the rugged and beautiful Gower coastline. It is one magical experience that they will never forget!

Don’t worry about postal strikes affecting delivery times – we’ll also send an electronic version so there is no risk of disappointment on Christmas day!

For more information please call us on
(01792) 472 555 or email 
info@dylanthomasbirthplace.com

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Dinner at Dylan’s – A unique experience!

*Christmas gift idea – Vouchers are available*

Just one of the unique things that visitors can do at Dylan Thomas’ Birthplace is sample the very best food that the local area has to offer. Our dinner parties are designed to deliver that exquisite flavour found in our little corner of Wales.

With a piano, phonogram and games table our dinner party guests can relive a typical Edwardian evening before the advent of television. Our sociable evening dinner parties can consist from just 4 people to up to 10 people with the evening starting at 6:30pm with pre-dinner drinks and a tour of the house. Food is usually being served around 7:30pm amidst the splendour of the front parlour. For those who truly want to get into the spirit of the era why not dress up in your best vintage wears?

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What’s on the menu?
Our menu changes with the season, we’ll reflect what is available from our local sellers at the time. We love to ‘buy local’ and support the traders at Swansea Market (where Dylan’s mother would do her shopping.) We are proud members of the Swansea Bay Food Circle. Don’t worry if you consider yourself a ‘fussy’ eater or have particular dietary requirements, our cooks are vastly experienced and will work closely with the information sbgfc-smallprovided by you to deliver a meal that everyone will enjoy.

Perhaps you’d like a starter of some of Swansea’s ‘fruits of the sea?’ – Laverbread (a type of seaweed – don’t worry it is delicious!) and cockles (a sumptuous little shellfish) both residents found in the waters along Dylan’s ‘splendid curving shore.’ or a creamy goat’s cheese from Carmarthenshire (where Dylan had many relatives and spent much time in the summer on the farm of Fern Hill.) Followed by a main course of Gower’s award winning, celebrated salt marsh lamb or beautiful pork with luscious greens followed by a dessert of local recipe cakes, tarts and a delicious platter of Welsh cheeses? – Makes the mouth water doesn’t it!

Here’s what some of our previous guests have said about their evenings…

We stayed overnight after a wonderfully prepared birthday dinner for my wife, Georgina the children, Magi (11) & Maisy (6) thoroughly enjoyed the magical experience of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The staff were out of this world and could not do enough for us.

T. Missen

We had such a great time……we are still all talking about it and saying that it was one of our best evenings out in a very long time. We will be back!

PD Swansea

Four of us went to the dinner experience in 5 Cwmdonkin Drive and it was certainly a night to remember. Our host was extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of Dylan. We were given sherry on arrival and then had a comprehensive tour of the house. That was followed by a four course meal using all local Welsh ingredients. The meal was first class. The whole experience was memorable!

M. McGregor

For prices and more information on creating your memorable meal at Dylan Thomas Birthplace & Family Home please call (01792) 472 555 or email info@dylanthomasbirthplace.comWe are also able to provide vouchers – Ideal for a Christmas present!

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

‘It always snowed at Christmas…’

Here’s a snowy Swansea scene from Dylan’s youth, reminiscent of his wonderful recollections in A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

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The photo, which was a postcard of the time, appears to have been taken facing up Bryn Road in Brynmill, just a short hop from the poet’s home in Cwmdonkin Drive.

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Published in: on 19 December, 2016 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On this date…18th December 1934

Dylan Thomas’s first collection of poems 18 Poems was published. Seen here on Dylan’s desk is a ‘true’ first edition, first issue, first printing of his life changing book. It had finally come to fruition from many years of meticulous craft and hard work from the surroundings of his tiny bedroom and Father’s study and was about to set him on his course as one of the greatest poet’s of the twentieth century.

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Dylan however, would have to wait until January to read the first of a steady stream of encouraging reviews..

1934 had been a busy year for Dylan Thomas, his work being accepted and published in The New English Weekly,  Adelphi, New Verse, John O’London’s Weekly, New Stories, The Bookman, Criterion, and the BBC’s Listener. One of Dylan’s key admirers and regular publishers was ‘The Sunday Referee.’

How the ’18 Poems’ came to be….
The Sunday Referee had launched their ‘Poets Corner’ feature in April 1933 inviting contributions with the line of ‘We care nothing who holds the stylus’. A deluge of poems would flood into the Referee and tasked with selection was literary journalist Victor Neuberg. On September 3rd 1933 he selected Dylan’s That Sanity Be Kept and described it as ‘the best modernist poem as yet I have received.’ On October 29th 1933 he also published Dylan’s The Force That Through The Green Fuse and called it ‘cosmic in outlook….a large poem, greatly expressed. Dylan became a staple poet of the Referee in 1934 with a further five poems crafted by the young man from Swansea featuring in the publication.

As a result of the adulation of Dylan’s poetry from Neuberg and the editor Mark Goulden it was decided that the young poet from Swansea would have a collection sponsored by the newspaper. Dylan was to be the second in what the Sunday Referee envisioned to be a long line of prize poets. The first was a young lady from the London upper middle classes, Pamela Hansford Johnson. Dylan and Pamela had struck up a correspondence after his poem from 3rd September had been printed.

Publication of the book had been a drawn out affair with the Referee newspaper encountering difficulty finding a commercial publisher for it. Eventually David Archer of the Parton Bookshop, a young man with a love of poetry, who owned a bookshop and occasionally printed books agreed to help. Above all, David Archer had a desire to help young poets succeed. It was finally published on 18th December 1934. 500 copies of the book were produced with only 250 of them being bound at the time of publication. The cost of the book was 2s.6d. The book was published as a joint effort with The Sunday Referee periodical and the Parton Bookshop sharing the printing costs. The Referee provided £30 and the Parton Bookshop £20

*What happened to the other 250 unbound copies of the book? They were bound up and made available on February 21, 1936 and made up the second issue of the book*

18 Poems consists of…
I see the boys of summer
Where once the twilight locks
A process in the weather of the heart
Before I knocked
The force that through the green fuse
My hero bares his nerves
Where once the waters of your face
If I were tickled by the rub of love
Our eunuch dreams
Especially when the October wind
When, like a running grave
From love’s first fever
In the beginning
Light breaks where no sun shines
I fellowed sleep
I dreamed my genesis
My world is pyramid
All all and all

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

On this date…16th December 1945

Memories of Christmas by Dylan Thomas was broadcast on Wales’ Children’s Hour. It recounted the sights, sounds and smells of Dylan’s childhood Christmases in Swansea.
This piece would be revisited and expanded and become A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

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Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!