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Dylan Thomas And His Poetry Essay

2252 words - 10 pages

Dylan Thomas and his poetryDylan Thomas was born on October 14, 1914, in Upland, Swansea. His father, David John Thomas, received a degree at University College Aberystwyth and was valedictorian in English, he taught English at Swansea Grammar School. His father, quick tempered and intimidating had a beautiful, sonorous voice for reading aloud (which Dylan inherited). Florence Hannah Williams, Thomas's mother, was a tailor before she was married. Thomas was a troublesome child. He stole money from his mother's purse, and lied about it. While his mother was in denial about this, his sister Nancy was becoming very irritated. From 1925-1931,he attended Swansea grammar school, where his father ...view middle of the document...

(Merric, 1)When WWII began, Thomas was worried that he would be drafted, fortunate for him he was judged medically unfit. Some of his neighbors thought that he was a "conchie" ("concienting" objector) and was often attacked. For a while he thought that he would have to work in a Mauritius factory. Thomas said, "deary me, I'd rather be a poet any day and live on guile and beer." Instead, he worked in a documentary film unit under one of John Griersons five disciples, Donald Taylor. Thomas began to sober up and became serious and focused on his writing. During this time, he was living with friends, however it was said that he was abusing their hospitality. (Ferris 2, 59)During 1943, he began his career in freelance broadcasts on national radio. His voice was perfect. Being short of funds, Thomas always asked for his money in cash and in advance. In 1946, Thomas's poem, Deaths and Entrances was a success for him and his publisher J.N. Dents. Soon he began touring through the United States. He was spending a lot of money on alcohol, was fired, and asked to moderate his lifestyle. The number of people who showed up at his tour confirmed his reputation as a charismatic leader of poetry who was charming but disruptive. Thomas was a heavy drunk, and on his last show in the U.S., he collapsed with alcohol poisoning, dying shortly after being taken to a hospital in New York. He was thirty-six years old. Dylan Thomas was buried at St. Martins Church in Laugharne. (Ferris 2, 61)Dylan Thomas was a man with a certain talent. He was a poet. Some say he was brilliant and others say he wrote nonsense. Whether he was a genius, or an idiot, we may never know. However, many critics say he was a brilliant man who had a problem. On the other hand, some authorities feel his influence could have been derived from his Welsh background or from being an alcoholic. With many poets, love might have been another influence as well."Religion, such as he knew it, was direct and natural; the symbolism of religion, as he uses it, is poetry, direct knowledge. Religion is not to be used: it is simply part of life, part of himself; it is like a tree; take it or leave it, it is there." - Karl Shapiro (Cox, p. 26)In order to understand Thomas' poetry you have to understand his religious background. Karl Shapiro says that it is essential to know Thomas's religious beliefs, otherwise you do not know what Thomas's thoughts are reflecting on or from where they are coming. (Cox, p 27). He also says that religion is not something Thomas does, it is what Thomas is, and therefor religion is going to be part of his poetry, because that is what he knows. Puritanism directed Welsh life and thought. The Puritanism influence was inescapable. (Walters, p.6)An example of his religious poetry is the poem Incarnate Devil. It is about the Garden of Eden, and the snake, representing the devil, trying to persuade a man to eat the forbidden fruit. The fruit is god in disguise, and he comes from this fruit...

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