|Famous as||Poet & Writer|
|Born on||27 October 1914|
|Born in||Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales|
|Died on||09 November 1953|
|Works & Achievements||Known for his important works like 18 Poems, Deaths and Entrances and the famous radio play Under Milk Wood.|
Dylan Thomas Childhood & Early Life
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales on 27 October 1914. His father, David John (DJ) Thomas, was an English master at the local grammar school while, his mother, Florence Hannah Thomas was a seamstress. He had an elder sister named, Nancy. DJ encouraged his children to speak only in English. Dylan spent much of his childhood in Swansea, with regular summer visits to his maternal aunts' Carmarthenshire farms. The rural atmosphere contrasting with the town life influenced his many works, short stories, radio essays, and the poems like “Fern Hill”. Thomas was a weak child and preferred to stay at home rather than going to school. He also suffered from bronchitis and asthma. Thomas started his formal education at Mrs. Hole's Dame school, a private school situated few streets away on Mirador Crescent. In October 1925, he enrolled in Swansea Grammar School, in the Mount Pleasant district of the city.
Thomas published his first poem in the school magazine and later became its editor. At the age of 16, he left the school to become a reporter for the local newspaper, the South Wales Daily Post. After working for eighteen months, he left the job under pressure in 1932 and joined the amateur dramatic group in Mumbles. He continued working as a freelance journalist for few more years. Thomas spent his time visiting cinema in the Uplands region, a theatre where he frequently performed, and going to Swansea's pubs. A short walk from his office was the Kardomah Café in Castle Street, central Swansea. It was the café where he met several artist contemporaries including his good friend and poet, Vernon Watkins. When Swansea was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in February 1941, Castle Street along with many other streets in Swansea was badly hit; the 'Kardomah Café' was also destroyed during this bombing.
While he was a teenager, Thomas published his famous poems like, “And death shall have no dominion”, “Before I Knocked” and “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower". In 1934, he published “The Listener” which was admired by senior poets like T. S. Eliot and Stephen Spender. On 18 December 1934, Thomas published his highly acclaimed first poetry volume, “18 Poems”, for which he won a contest run by The Sunday Referee. During this time, he also gained reputation as a heavy drinker. In 1936, he met dancer Caitlin Macnamara in the Wheatsheaf pub, in the Fitzrovia area of London's West End. He married her in a register office in Penzance, Cornwall on 11th July, 1937. The next year, they moved to a rented cottage in the village of Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, West Wales. When the World War II started, his friends entered in the war, but due to his physical sickness, he could not fight in war. He requested the director of the films division of the Ministry of Information for work and eventually got the job at Strand Films. Strand Films were producing films for the Ministry of Information and Thomas scripted five scripts in 1942 which included, “This Is Colour”, “New Towns For Old”, “These Are The Men” and “Our Country” (a sentimental tour of Britain).
In 1946, Thomas published his poetry volume, “Deaths and Entrances”. This book proved to be turning point in his career. Apart from penning poems, Thomas was famous as a versatile and dynamic speaker. In the early 1950s, he gathered widespread popularity among American audiences during his speaking tours in which he made over 200 broadcasts for the BBC. Dylan Thomas was best known for his famous work, “Under Milk Wood”, a radio play featuring the characters of Llareggub and was based in a fictional Welsh fishing village. This play took several years to get finished. Thomas wrote the first half mostly in South Leigh, Oxford, in 1948, while finishing the second half in America in May 1953. He performed “Under Milk Wood” solo for the first time on 3rd May at Harvard and then performed it again with a cast at the Poetry Centre in New York on May 14. He worked on the play for some for time in England and returned to America in October. Unfortunately, he died on 9th November before the BBC could record the play.
Dylan Thomas married Caitlin Macnamara on 11 July 1937. The couple had three children, two sons named Llewelyn Edouard and Colm Garan Hart and a daughter, Aeronwy Thomas-Ellis.
Dylan Thomas died on November 9, 1953 at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City at the age of 39. After the death, his body was brought back to Wales where he was buried in the village churchyard at Laugharne on November 25.
A statue in the remembrance of Dylan Thomas is standing in the Swansea's maritime quarter. In his dedication, the Dylan Thomas Theatre and the Dylan Thomas Centre are found in Swansea. The Dylan Thomas Centre is now a literature centre, where exhibitions and lectures are held, and is also the venue for the annual Dylan Thomas Festival. A monument to commemorate him stands in Cwmdonkin Park. His home in Laugharne, the Boat House, is now a memorial. Dylan is associated with many pubs in Swansea city. In 2004, a memorial award, Dylan Thomas Prize was created and is given to the best published writer in English under the age of 30. In 2005, the Dylan Thomas Screenplay Award was established by the Dylan Thomas Centre and is given at the annual Swansea Bay Film Festival.
Dylan Thomas Timeline:
1914: Was born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales.
1925: Enrolled in Swansea Grammar School.
1930: Left the school to become a reporter for the local newspaper, the South Wales Daily Post.
1932: Left the job at the South Wales Daily Post and joined the amateur dramatic group in Mumbles.
1934: Published his highly acclaimed first poetry volume, 18 Poems.
1937: Married Caitlin Macnamara.
1942: While working at Strand Films, he scripted five scripts for films for the Ministry of Information and Thomas.
1946: Published his poetry volume, Deaths and Entrances.
1953: Died at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City at the age of 39.