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Reading Dylan Thomas At 10048:15
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A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

The poet Dylan Thomas was born a hundred years ago this week in Wales.  His poetry was exuberant, lyrical, word-intoxicated, elegiac – divisive.  In "Under Milk Wood" and "Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines" and "Fern Hill" and more, he was rhapsodic:  “Young and easy under the apple boughs, About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green… "

A public smitten with his wordplay loved it.  Sterner critics often did not.  But the readings are all over this week, remembering. This hour On Point:  Dylan Thomas, at 100… “green and carefree, famous among the barns…”
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Andrew Lycett, biographer and journalist. Author of "Dylan Thomas: A New Life." (@alycett1)

Jeff Towns, chairman of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain. Antiquarian bookseller, with his Dylan's Mobile Bookseller. (@Dylanthomasguy)

Robert Kelly, poet. Co-director of the Writing Program at Bard College.

From Tom's Reading List

Telegraph: The cheat's guide to Dylan Thomas — "Thomas wrote lyrical, personal and romantic poetry, which were starkly different from the popular poets of his time. 1930s Britain favoured the cool tone of WH Auden, and Thomas was elaborately passionate in comparison. Thomas’ obsession with words has been compared with the work of James Joyce."

New York Times: In Wales, a Toast to Dylan Thomas on His 100th Birthday — "Thomas died young, at 39, after boasting that he had downed 18 straight whiskeys (“I believe that’s the record”) in New York in 1953. On Monday, he would have turned 100. His small country, long ill at ease with its hard-living, hard-loving son who wrote in English, not in Welsh, and caricatured his roots as much as he claimed them, is celebrating perhaps its greatest poet. Thomas has been called the James Joyce of Wales and compared to his own hero, John Keats. He wrote some of the most recognizable verse of the 20th century: 'Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'"

BBC News: Gillian Clarke: Dylan Thomas play changed my life — "Gillian Clarke has spent the past 12 months re-reading the works of Swansea-born Thomas. She said: 'Under Milk Wood changed my life. I think Dylan Thomas, Auden and TS Eliot changed everything.; Thomas' granddaughter Hannah Ellis said the centenary celebrations across the globe had exceeded her expectations."

This program aired on October 29, 2014.

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