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This report is taken from PN Review 212, Volume 39 Number 6, July - August 2013.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
As we still await the coming of spring, which for him was a matter of the greatest consequence, we begin celebrating the centenary of the birth of R.S. Thomas. He was born in Cardiff on 29 March 1913, the only child of a merchant seaman and his wife, who were English-speaking. When he was five the family moved to north Wales, where his father worked on Irish ferries out of Holyhead. They settled in the town, a predominantly Welsh-speaking environment. The growing child explored with delight a rural landscape at the edge of the sea.

When, later, people came to the poet seeking answers, asking Why this? and What is the meaning of that?, he would slam the door in their faces, sometimes literally. Yet he could be surprisingly open to enquiry in congenial company. All Things Considered, a religious affairs programme on BBC Radio Wales (9am each Sunday) is, I am confident, one of the best of its kind. A recent edition marked the centenary by repeating an interview with R.S. Thomas originally broadcast in 1995. The presenter, Roy Jenkins, a Baptist minister and most accomplished of gentle interrogators, described the poet's arrival at the BBC studios in Bangor. Divested of long scarf and heavy overcoat, he said, 'You know I get paid according to the number of poems I read,' and with a relaxation of the characteristic scowl, ' - so I shall read slowly.' In addition to the readings, listeners were given an insight into a ...


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