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This report is taken from PN Review 216, Volume 40 Number 4, March - April 2014.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
As I write I am conscious we are sliding, as when young we used to down the mountain on candle-wax-slicked bits of cardboard, helter-skelter towards 2014. Behind us lies 2013, the year we celebrated the centenary of the birth of R.S. Thomas, and before us the year we celebrate that of his namesake Dylan. R.S. served a rather lengthy apprenticeship to the muse during which an accretion of characteristic poetic themes and gestures enveloped him like a horny carapace and a characteristic style emerged. He was thirty-three when he published The Stones of the Field and almost forty at the publication of An Acre of Land. Dylan, on the other hand, was a boy wonder. He was twenty when 18 Poems appeared, twenty-two at the publication of Twenty-five Poems, twenty-five at that of The Map of Love. More remarkably, many of the poems in these books had their substantial genesis in his adolescent years: the Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive, indeed.

It is sixty years since Dylan Thomas’s death in 1953. As a representative of the gradually diminishing band of those present at the poetry reading he gave to students at Aberystwyth in the autumn of 1952, I have from time to time rehearsed the occasion in conversation and print and cannot be sure now whether what seems still so clear in my mind is true to the original. I am nevertheless prepared to vouch for the extraordinary impact of the performance on the audience packed into the Exam Hall (the largest venue then available in the Old College ...


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