Pics from the publicity for the Dylan Thomas: In my craft. ‘A Poet in the City’ event at Kings Place yesterday. Here we were invited to follow Dylan Thomas from Swansea to London and New York in biographical details and poetry.
Now I have already admitted several times on this blog that I lacked quite a lot of formal schooling and all my education has been hard won later in life. Frankly I have not actually read much of Dylan’s poetry (shame on me) but in the past enjoyed it over and over again, listening to tapes borrowed from the library.
My mother preferred Richard Burton’s renditions but I never did.
Not poetry but my favourite Dylan piece of all time has to be his reading of ‘A Visit to Grandpa’s’. This was thanks to my sister’s husband, who came from Swansea and gave me a recording many many moons ago. How I loved the part when Grandpa is steering his imaginary horses and later on the bridge being persuaded to go home! The tape (yes it was a long time ago) lived in the glove compartment of my car, and I, as one who sometimes gets disconcerted driving over the spaghetti junctions of a motorway, used to scream ‘get me Dylan now!’ Always to the rescue, this story has calmed my nerves on many journeys particularly in France.
But back to the main event. ‘Poetry in the City’ is apparently geared to poetry being brought to a wider audience, one that has not necessarily had the advantage of MA s in English etc. So I am putty in their hands (yes, even I know that is a dreadful cliche).
But now joy upon the joy the celebration of Dylan’s work begins. Guy Masterson (actor/theatre director with many awards to his name) steers this exploration into Dylan’s life and work as well as reading some of the poetry, with of course a lovely Welsh accent.
The former Welsh Poet Laureate, the personable Gwyneth Lewis, speaks in Welsh as well as English, and gives us insights into Dylan’s work and how he went about analysing the structure of the Welsh language. Wow, a real delight! I am in awe.
Andrew Lycett biographer and journalist takes the mic with giving more biographical detail, which means I will definitely be buying his book ‘Dylan Thomas: A New Life’ (Phoenix 2004) if it is still available.
Owen Sheers, an author, scriptwriter and poet gives us some more readings in a tone that somehow made them particularly enjoyable.
Who wants to make notes when the evening is for listening, but I could not resist a few. My scribbled notes had phrases like ‘ introversion and universality’ ‘his life followed his writing’ not the other way around. ‘Augustus John and Caitlin’. Poetry titles ‘ Oh make me a mask’ ‘Fern Hill’ ‘The hunchback in the park’.
Yes of course the evening included readings of ‘Under Milk Wood’ and ‘Do not go gentle into that dark night’ which it was suggested may not have been an elegy for his father but for Dylan himself.
I could not run to buying it, but on the book stall at the end there was ‘Under Milk Wood’ a new edition beautifully illustrated by Sir Peter Blake.
At the end in the foyer we asked a member of staff where the bar was, only to be ushered to a table of drinks. My proffered tenner was instantly brushed aside! Strange we thought, but who are we to say no!
Half way through these complimentary glasses of wine we realised we had gatecrashed a party following a lecture by Ed Milliband. Whoops! Shouldn’t he have been in his wellies down in Somerset?!!
Oh well ‘Cheers Dylan’.
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