On this date…9th January 1935

The Listener of the Gossip of the Day column of the South Wales Evening Post talks of a conversation they have had with author Richard Hughes about young Swansea poet Dylan Thomas.

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On this date…9th January 1932

An article entitled The Poets of Swansea appeared in the Herald of Wales Swansea weekly newspaper. Author of the piece, 18 year old junior reporter Dylan Thomas examines the lives of the Swansea literati. The young man also writes poetry. He hopes to one day feature among this impressive list.

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On this date…7th January 1933

Whilst working as a junior reporter Dylan had an interesting article entitled ‘Genius and Madness Akin in World of Art’ published in the South Wales Evening Post.

In his piece he examines the lifestyles and character ‘kinks’ of many prominent figures in history and the present day. At the end of the article he poses the question ‘Who would be a genius after all?’

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On this date…5th January 1935

Dylan’s friend and mentor Bert Trick writes to the editor of South Wales Evening Post hailing the rising young poet whilst attacking the lack of discussion generated since the release of Dylan’s first book 18 Poems by what he calls the ‘intelligentsia of Swansea.’ Trick asks the question, ‘are these cultural circles so moribund that they cannot see a new star in the literary firmament?’

‘Sir,- One can be pardoned for imagining that the paragraphs concerning the poems of Dylan Thomas, which have appeared in your columns, would have evoked a spate of correspondence from the intelligentsia of Swansea.
Are these cultural circles so moribund that they cannot see a new star in the literary firmament? Are they so cloyed with picking-over the cold coalitions of the academic school that they have no appetite for the red-blood and meat of the moderns?
Or is it due to a distrust of local talent, the phenomenon that compels native artists to assume foreign names to win recognition for their talents?
The early reviews of Dylan Thomas’s volume of eighteen poems have been not only commendatory, but, to a degree, eulogistic. He is regarded in the higher literary circles as the outstanding poet of the last decade, and it is true to say, as was quoted in your paragraph, that he has already outstripped the Eliot-Pound-Auden school, having wrought a technique entirely individual, which is at the same time in direct line of descent from Blake, Webster and Beddoes.’

A. E Trick
69, Glanbrydan avenue
Swansea

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Dylan and the whiskered beast of Pwlldu.

At about this time in early January 1934 it is believed that Dylan wrote the following piece detailing a close encounter with a furry ‘beast’ at the beautiful cove of Pwlldu, Gower.

he recounted to Pamela Hansford Johnson…

“I was sitting in the porch of the Pwlldu Inn on a cold, sunny afternoon, eating an unnaturally large sandwich and sipping at a quart mug-both sandwich and mug were almost as large as me. In the midst of my meal I heard a loud stamping (that is the only honest word to describe it), and, looking up, saw a rat immediately in front of me, his eyes fixed on mine. A rat? This was a rat with a capital R, a vast iron-grey animal as big as a cat, with long, drooping whiskers and a tail like an old frayed whip. Normally I am frightened to death by rats, even by mice, and certainly by moths, but this monstrosity of a creature did not alarm me at all. He couldn’t move quickly anyway, he was much too fat. He merely stood there in front of me until I threw him a piece of cheese. He sniffed it, swallowed it, and stamped away. Again ‘stamped’ is the only word: he went away like a fat old soldier from a canteen.Thinking of him when he had gone, I came to the conclusion that he must be the Father of all Rats, the First Rat, the Rat Progenitive, the Rat Divine.”

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*The Inn that he refers to is likely to have been the ‘Beaufort Arms’ which is the building just right of centre in the photograph.*

 

 

 

Did you enjoy a drop this Christmas?

D.J. Thomas (Dylan’s father) enjoyed a glass or two of Hancock’s Mild Ale. It was his favourite tipple and in his day was widely available in Swansea. As you can see from the advert from the South Wales Evening Post, you could even get it delivered to your door for Christmas…

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William Hancock & Co Ltd had a strong presence in Swansea and was Wales’ biggest brewer. The company operated several sites in the town from 1887 until the late 1960s including one near the famous Vetch Field and one at the bottom of now ‘infamous’ Wind Street. The company was acquired by Bass then Brains in 1999 and now Molson Coors.

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…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.


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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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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!

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!