Dylan Thomas Discusses Poetry with Arthur Miller and Others

I have just discovered this: google “Dylan Thomas discusses poetry”. It is the first time I have ever heard the natural voice of Dylan Thomas, just two weeks before he was given a massive overdose of morphine by a dubious doctor in New York City. He has a nervous, gentle humour, the voice is hesitant and he nervously trips over many phrases, without any pretensions to “literary greatness”, philosophy of poetry and all that. He failed all his exams at school except for English lit. His father D. J. Thomas was the English master and also taught Welsh. DJ was stern, an atheist and communist. Google “Altarwise by owl light” and my commentary on this blog comes up. The mysterious and powerful sonnet sequence can be understood with some effort. I try to unravel the first few lines. It is not surrealistic. It is hard to imagine Dylan Thomas getting angry, but he would get angry when people described his poetry as surrealism. Constantine FitzGibbon in his biography writes how Dylan Thomas got blazingly angry at FitzGibbon’s wife, who threw FitzGibbon’s poetry on to the fire. I think that Dylan snatched it out and there was also another copy. In his quarrels with Caitlin, she usually landed up banging his head on the floor, she was stronger than he was. They are buried side by side in the churchyard in Laugharne, their names either side of a simple white cross, and she outlived him by forty years and wanted to be buried with him. The late Aeronwy nee Thomas explains how she told people that her father was not a drunk, but they wouldn’t listen.

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