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In the Graveyard of Verse

William Wootten: Vernon Watkins, 9 August 2001

The Collected Poems of Vernon Watkins 
Golgonooza, 495 pp., £16.95, October 2000, 0 903880 73 3Show More
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... poets and critics to forgive him, by forgetting how in the 1930s and 1940s, under the influence of Dylan Thomas, he was an eager perpetrator of New Romanticism. Watkins was at Repton and Cambridge with Christopher Isherwood, and makes a cameo appearance as the gullible Percival in Lions and Shadows. Nevertheless, he had little in common with the Auden ...

A Terrible Thing, Thank God

Adam Phillips: Dylan Thomas, 4 March 2004

Dylan ThomasA New Life 
by Andrew Lycett.
Weidenfeld, 434 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 297 60793 6
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... Kingsley Amis called Dylan Thomas’s life, the life told by Thomas’s first thorough biographer Paul Ferris, ‘a hilarious, shocking, sad story’. Thomas was very important to the Amis-Larkin club partly because he seemed determined not to be seen to be taking anything, including himself, too seriously ...

Stitched up

R.W. Johnson, 21 October 1993

Return to Paradise 
by Breyten Breytenbach.
Faber, 214 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 16989 9
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... progress across a continent has a certain raffish hilarity to it and once produced a study called Dylan Thomas in America. This book is a sort of ‘Dylan Thomas in Africa’, with the difference that Breytenbach has written this one himself and cares about the continent he’s travelling through and getting drunk ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dodgy Latin, 20 February 2003

... the dying of the light”.’ I don’t think unleashing mayhem on the grand scale was quite what Dylan Thomas had in mind. For a more fitting refrain, we could do worse than look to Cato the Elder: Carthago delenda est (repeat ad ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... Powys, but I, though liking the author’s way with words, could not see the point of his stories. Dylan Thomas’s broadcasts similarly appealed to my father (‘the bullish fields,’ he would say, savouring the words), and it was Dylan Thomas who ‘sent up’ T.F. Powys so memorably on the BBC Home ...
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... history and acknowledge that he had his own voice. The second reason is dubious. I agree with Thomas Kinsella’s view, in his Introduction to The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (1986), that a ‘Northern Ireland Renaissance’ is ‘largely a journalistic entity’. Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Deane, Michael Longley ...

Everything is good news

Seamus Perry: Dylan Thomas’s Moment, 20 November 2014

The Collected Poems of Dylan ThomasThe New Centenary Edition 
edited by John Goodby.
Weidenfeld, 416 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 297 86569 8
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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition 
edited by Walford Davies and Ralph Maud.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 724 5
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Collected Stories 
by Dylan Thomas.
Phoenix, 384 pp., £8.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 730 6
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A Dylan Thomas Treasury: Poems, Stories and Broadcasts 
Phoenix, 186 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 726 9Show More
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... Dylan Thomas’s​ foredoomed premature death feels intrinsic to his late romanticism, part of what made him the ‘Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive’, as he labelled himself. But he could have escaped the legend to which he had devoted such energies. As Paul Ferris’s excellent biography established some time back, while Thomas was certainly in a bad way, his death was down to a medical blunder ...

Advice for the New Nineties

Julian Symons, 12 March 1992

HMS Glasshouse 
by Sean O’Brien.
Oxford, 56 pp., £5.99, November 1991, 0 19 282835 5
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The Hogweed Lass 
by Alan Dixon.
Poet and Printer, 33 pp., £3, September 1991, 0 900597 39 9
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Collected Poems 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £18.95, November 1991, 0 85635 923 8
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... was killed off by the war the vacuum was filled by the extravagant romanticism associated with Dylan Thomas, George Barker and Edith Sitwell. Less than a decade later, with those roses seen as over-blown, Robert Conquest was deploring ‘the omission of the necessary intellectual component from poetry’, gathering several disparate writers under one ...

On Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth: Nicholas Moore, 24 September 2015

... Nicholas looked like he could manage very well on his own. He edited Seven, an early venue for Dylan Thomas and the New Apocalypse poets, but his real coup had been to get several Wallace Stevens poems published in Britain, much to Stevens’s pleasure. Meanwhile, his own poems kept coming, and by 1944 a Selected, The Glass Tower, came ...

Self-Extinction

Russell Davies, 18 June 1981

Short Lives 
by Katinka Matson.
Picador, 366 pp., £2.50, February 1981, 9780330262194
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... belittling anecdote casting the artist in the role of perpetual adolescent. Nobody doubts that Dylan Thomas died of drink and a regressive, infantile personality: but the thing that is remembered about his last days is a remark (‘I’ve just had 18 straight whiskies, I think that’s the record’) which superbly typifies the kind of thing his ...

Smartened Up

Ian Hamilton, 9 March 1995

Louis MacNeice: A Biography 
by Jon Stallworthy.
Faber, 538 pp., £25, February 1995, 0 571 16019 0
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... with a hod.’ Post-war, he wanted to be a fire-tongued sage and seer, like his BBC colleague Dylan Thomas. MacNeice worshipped Thomas and did not, we trust, live to read Dylan’s description of his work as ‘thin and conventionally-minded, lacking imagination and not sound in ...

The Style It Takes

Mark Ford: John Cale, 16 September 1999

What’s Welsh for Zen? The Autobiography of John Cale 
by Victor Bockris.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 7475 3668 6
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... classical repertoire, to compose orchestral pieces, to write scores for ballets or settings for Dylan Thomas poems, however, is well beyond the competence of other stars in the firmament, even Paul McCartney. There have been various, normally embarrassing attempts by rock groups, or ex-members of rock groups going solo, to explore musical ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Trip to Echo Spring’, 12 September 2013

... plead poverty, dodge their round and worry about their deadlines, in ways that would have made Dylan Thomas reach for some ancient bardic curse. This all started many years ago when a young newspaperman entered the Pillars of Hercules on Greek Street to interview Hamilton and some of his star writers on the New Review. ‘What’ll you have?’ Ian ...

Roaming the stations of the world

Patrick McGuinness: Seamus Heaney, 3 January 2002

Electric Light 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.99, March 2001, 0 571 20762 6
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Seamus Heaney in Conversation with Karl Miller 
Between the Lines, 112 pp., £9.50, July 2001, 0 9532841 7 4Show More
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... In a shrewd and sympathetic essay on Dylan Thomas published in The Redress of Poetry, Seamus Heaney found a memorable set of metaphors for Thomas’s poetic procedures: he ‘plunged into the sump of his teenage self, filling his notebooks with druggy, bewildering lines that would be a kind of fossil fuel to him for years to come ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... or just after the last war it was Connolly and Koestler and Spender, William Plomer, Alun Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Peter Quennell. Some still have life or fame or both, some not: but then, not now, was their moment. Was Connolly himself any good as a writer? The question means little because the point of Connolly turned out to be Connolly not producing the ...

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