This year marks my 30th year of poetry -writing and deep inside , I feel that my mission as a poet has almost been achieved if not in a wholesome way , but at least I sincerely consider the first phase of my poetic mission to be complete. Achievement, as we know, means different things to different people. I do not ask much from the writing world. I believe it’s best to give space, and to share rather than just be on Earth and always be like “I need this award. I need this recognition. ” I am not against any award or anyone who is constantly aiming at it but I do have my own philosophy and I think one should stick to what one believes in.
As from April 2022, I will be offering a new service on this blog. This involves Free writing : Writer /Poet of the Month. Each month I will be inviting a writer who writes in English to be featured on my blog. I will be selecting the authors whose works appeal to me and generally in the writing world. However , if any writer wishes to be featured on my blog or wishes to suggest the name of someone , please feel free to e-mail me at :
If you wish to have your poetry chapbooks, poetry books, children books (prose and poetry) translated from English to French French to English Mauritian Kreol to English English to Mauritian Kreol please feel free to send them to :
Translation Fee: $0.06 (Rs 2.58 Mauritian currency) per word
Translation of Individual poems may also be considered . Please send a minimum of 5 poems if you wish to have a small number of your poems translated.
French and Mauritian Kreol (Kreol Morisien) translation by Vatsala Radhakeesoon
A Train to Somewhere
I remember my grandparent’s enclosed porch, their Boston Terriers nipping at my heels as I entered the yard.
I enjoyed the reminiscences, repeated at each visit. I reveled in the laughter that ensued after each anecdote about my childhood was concluded.
The story I remember most today is the one about my lone field trip, at the age of three, to the neighborhood railroad tracks. Little me, found by frantic people and returned home safely.
In later years, my grandmother, Alzheimer ridden, was found wandering those same railroad tracks by equally frantic people.
I’ve wondered since if we were looking for the same thing.
Un train pour aller quelque part
Je me souviens de la terrasse clôturée de mes grands- parents, leur Boston terriers me mordant les talons dès que j’entrais dans la cour.
Je me réjouis de ces souvenirs , qui se reproduisaient à chaque visite . Je m’amusais en me perdant dans le rire qui s’ensuivait après chaque anecdote de mon enfance.
L’incident qui reste gravé dans ma mémoire est celui de ma balade en solitude dans les champs , à l’âge de trois ans, traversant les voies ferrées du quartier. Toute petite, je fus retrouvée par des gens affolés et rentrée chez moi saint et sauf.
Dans les années suivantes, ma grand-mère , souffrant d’Alzheimer , fut retrouvée errant parmi les mêmes chemins de fer par les gens tout à fait affolés .
Depuis, je me demande si on avait le même but.
The Value of Shadows
The rain lay soggy upon the waterlogged branches of limp, bowed trees. Appearing as the hunched and angled, stooped backs of many old men walking here.
I caught a shape in the mist that reminded me of you, or perhaps I was just imagining you and your soldiers returning to the spot you had fought so hard to hold.
As the sun peeked through, I discovered these were only trees, although I remember it was here, sixty years ago, that your battalion won the day.
L’importance des ombres
La pluie laisse détrempé les branches d’arbres fragiles , courbées s’apparaissant comme des bossus et s’inclinant , tout penchant, les dos des vieux hommes qui y marchaient.
J’aperçus une silhouette dans la brume qui me rappela de toi, ou peut être que j’imaginais toi et tes soldats revenant au lieu où vous vous êtes battus de tout votre cœur.
Quand le soleil jeta un coup d’œil, Je constatais que ce n’était que des arbres, même si je me souviens que c’était ici, il y a soixante ans , ta bataille remporta la victoire.
Ensorcelled Within the Moonlit Eyes of P’aqo
Her silly putty face worn, the dowager’s palm was greased as the lightning strikes the beast. Rivulets of blood seep from sacred dogs.
The starry-eyed loon, the wild-eyed child through the streets, stopping the second before those dogs pounce.
Smelling the tears, she in the childhood tent feels the old hocus-pocus, from outside, the hiss and blast of truth.
But the shaman has not lost his grip, much quieter next time, the fight much less painful.
Just tell the truth. Give no hypnotic promises, no serpentine ballet woven between real and false.
She thinks, she feels, he promises, I’ll create the moon tonight he does, he does.
Ensorcelés par les yeux lumineux de P’aqo
Son visage ridicule, mastiqué, épuisé, la paume de la douairière était grasse quand la foudre frappa la bête. Des ruisseaux de sang coulant des chiens sacrés.
La folle aux yeux étoilés, L’enfant aux regards égarés courant dans les rues, s’enfuyant avant que ces chiens ne l’attaquent .
Flairant les larmes dans sa tente d’enfance elle ressent la vieille formule magique, de l’extérieur, le sifflement et le souffle de la vérité.
Mais rien ne s’échappe au shaman , plus calme la prochaine fois, la lutte moins douloureuse.
Dites seulement la vérité. Ne faites pas des promesses hypnotiques , Pas de danse du serpent se mêlant du réel et d’illusion.
Elle pense, elle ressent, Il promet, Je créerai la lune ce soir il le fait , il le fait.
There’s something wrong with your grave. There’s not the wrong kind of grass covering you, nor an incorrect variety of flowers growing atop. The tombstone looks fine: The symbols etched into the granite are perfectly formed,
The dates are right. Your name is spelled accurately. The shady tree above is grandly leafed, and suits its purpose. Yet, there is something incorrect. This grave is wrong, for the simple reason that you don’t belong here.
Ena kiksoz de mal avek to tom. Pena move zerb ki kouver twa, Ni bann fler ki fer dezord lao, Tom-la paret bien: Bann sinbol grave an granit zot bien forme,
Bann dat bon. To nom finn bien ekrir. Pie lao ki donn lonbraz li plin ar fey, ek fer so travay bien. Me, malgre sa ena touzour enn kiksoz ki pa bon. Sa tom- la li pa bon, Pou enn sel rezon parski li pa to plas sa.
Naked now you’ll be, stripped of all truthfulness, as Ananias exposed in elder days was. Protection now most slight. Then, gambling with veracity. Once to fool those who knew no better. Following, the first deception revealed, unraveling subsequent falsehoods. Line them up, parade them, display them as your inventions. They sit apparent, like squatters, long after being ordered out. No cover, no cover, stark they stay, stark you stay. All eyes now focus on your every misdemeanor of word.
Aster, to pou touni, Pou tir tou to verite, kouma Ananias ti expoze dan so vie zour. Proteksion bien tigit. Apre zwe avek verite. Enn fwa pou anbet bann seki konn plis. Swivan premie desepsyon ki finn admet, devwal ankor lezot mansonz. Met zot dan lake, fer zot mars kouma dan parad, Montre ki to bann linvansion sa. Zot assize remarkab, kouma bann squatters, mem apre ki finn donn zot lord ale. Pa kouver, pa kouver, Zot rest rizid, To res rizid. Tou lizie aster brake lor sak fo pa parol.
I first conducted International Dylan Thomas Day on my old blog , Poetry and Creativity in 2018. However, I closed that blog in 2019 due some health issues and the need to re-organize my writing duties. This year , I’m republishing the poems of International Dylan Thomas Day 2018 that were previously featured on my old blog. I’m publishing what I have saved as word document of 2018. Thank you Everyone! This brings back some good memories. 🙂
For my Grandfather, Dylan Thomas
by Hannah Ellis
Bloomsday, the annual day to celebrate the poet James Joyce has been alive and kicking for over sixty years and in Scotland, Burn’s night is embraced with much enthusiasm every January. But it was not until 2015 that Dylan Thomas, a fellow Celt, and also my grandfather, had an annual date in the literary calendar set aside to honour him.
It followed a hugely successful year-long festival in 2014 to mark the centenary of his birth, Dylan Thomas 100. It became clear that there was love all around the globe for my grandfather’s magical words. The date chosen was significant because it was the first time his much adored Under Milk Wood was performed with a small cast on May 14th 1953 at the Poetry Center in New York. It was also when he was heard to utter the wonderful line, “Love the words, love the words”.
I am passionate about continuing his message to ‘Love the words’. He was able to use words in a way only a master of his craft can. However ,I think we can all bring words to life and to use language to confidently express ourselves. Words are more than just prints on a piece of paper. You can play with them, change them, make them roll off your tongue, mold them to jump off the page or just simply absorb them as you leap inside a book.
Of course, it is heartbreaking to know that my grandfather left us at just 39 years old, especially if we wonder how many more powerful poems he could have completed but Dylan Thomas has left us with a lasting legacy – his beautiful and memorable writing. That is what I want us all to celebrate on International Dylan Thomas Day.
Let’s Celebrate International Dylan Thomas Day
by Vatsala Radhakeesoon
(Editor and Organizer for Poetry and Creativity blog)
Hello poet friends and literature-lovers! I’m one of the representatives of Immagine and Poesia (Italy-based literary movement) uniting artists and poet’s works. Immagine and Poesia was founded under the patronage of late Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, South Wales on 27 October 1914. He is one of the famous poets in the field of English literature. His popular poems are “Do not go gentle into that good night”, “And Death shall have no dominion”. Dylan Thomas died in 1953 at the age of 39.
May 14th marks the anniversary of the first small cast reading of Under Milk Wood on stage at the 92Y in New York in May 1953 with Dylan Thomas as the narrator. Thus, 14 May has been assigned as International Dylan Thomas Day.
This year, on suggestion of the Editor Lidia Chiarelli of Immagine and Poesia, I have organized Dylan Thomas Day on my blog, Poetry and Creativity . A few months ago I posted a call for submission for contemporary authors/ poets to send their own original articles and poems as a tribute to Dylan Thomas.
I’m really glad to have received submissions from high caliber international poets of our time and I have the greatest pleasure to publish them on this blog today, on this special day.
The selected poems centre on Dylan Thomas’s life, appreciation of his works, his predominating themes and his peculiar poetic styles.
I express my sincere gratitude to all talented poets who have sent their awesome works. Many thanks to Hannah Ellis and Lidia Chiarelli for their support, encouragement and help in organizing this event on Poetry and Creativity blog.
Hope you will enjoy reading the following poems and support Dylan Thomas’s works and Poetry and Creativity blog.
Dylan Thomas reading his poem
Here is the You Tube video of Dylan Thomas reading his famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night”:
A Tribute to Dylan Thomas by Contemporary Poets
A Legend in Time – Dylan Thomas
He came from South Wales
with a voice so sublime
So much loved by the world over
Such a legend in time
with poems of passion
and he spoke with such grace
so amazing a talent,
such a special Welsh ace.
Now his poems are famous
quite unique so they say
From the town that he came from
down in old Swansea Bay.
Dylan Thomas was special
So proud of this fair city
A real Welsh great
What a loss, such a pity!
Swansea’s First Son
they call him around here
And he loved his Welsh background
and especially the beer
He loved the Welsh language
and he adored the Welsh songs
We loved him around here
It’s where he belonged
Still his memory lives on
with his writings so fine
The great Dylan Thomas,
Forever in time.
Derek Davies is 58 and is from Swansea, Wales. He is self-employed and loves writing poems as a hobby. He believes firmly that Dylan Thomas is a local hero.
From Dylan to Dylan
The ragman still draws circles.
He’s been perfecting them for years,
around the pyramids of molehills
that hide his ashen fears.
A hearse is now approaching,
with pallid lowered beams,
on this highway of cracked asphalt,
the broken diamonds of his dreams.
His fires don’t light swiftly
like the beacons of his youth,
but he keeps a dawn flame flickering,
so deaf spirits may hear truth.
Dusk is now descending,
on his caravan of light,
but he snared the sun at noon-time
and he’ll rage against the night.
‘From Dylan to Dylan’ adapts images from Bob Dylan’s compositions to respond to Dylan Thomas, particularly his most famous poem , ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.
John Thieme is a Senior Fellow at the University of East Anglia. He previously held Chairs at the University of Hull and London South Bank University and has also taught at the Universities of Guyana and North London. His books include Postcolonial Con-Texts: Writing Back to the Canon, Postcolonial Literary Geographies: Out of Place, studies of Derek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul and R.K. Narayan, and The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literaturesin English. He was Editor of The Journal of Commonwealth Literature from 1992 to 2011 and is General Editor of the Manchester University Press Contemporary World Writers Series. His creative writing has been published in Argentina, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. A selection of his works is available on his academia.edu page: https://eastanglia.academia.edu/JohnThieme
His Life in Sonnet
Dylan Thomas, the welsh man who held no mysteries. Never saw without a pint of bitter in his hands, despite other efforts went down his history. The drinks went down swiftly onto the bar like a full drum band. Canes at school, his hands marked and still feeling blistery. When childhood was spent at his aunt, games and shouting “at this tree, He spent more time on a farm no matter that he owned land. A rich boy who felt he belonged with those rebelling against the ministry. His life was a short lived victory. We have left poems, images of the curly haired boy playing on the sand. His profession, a beautiful contradictory “rang the bells of London and painted it like a tart” insisted he, The world is in awe, it’s like poetry followed his free line commands. The underdog of psychohistory, His poetry was a revolution, but distally.
Jay Anderson is an eighteen year old from the North East of England. Mostly writing in slam and free line styles, he allows himself to write in different styles and challenges himself within writing. His poetic influences are R.H. Sin, Neil Hilborn, Denice Frohman, Allen Ginsberg, and the rest of the beat poets. He is very motivated in human rights and political issues and his writing reflects the issues that he is passionate about most of the time. Twitter: @notjaytanderson Word Press : jayandersonpoetry.wordpress.com
It Feels So Good, Revenge
Teeth clenched, lips sealed; silent,
I raise my arm with a blunt short rod.
It feels so good, revenge!
I knock him down like a dry dead tree.
Not one stroke finished, it’s stretched long:
Teeth clenched, lips sealed; silent,
Thrice I strike. I take my time.
Alive he’s kept to feel to the end.
It feels so good, revenge!
With each connection I curse him twice.
With each curse breaks a spell.
Teeth clenched, lips sealed; silent.
My python-eyes hypnotize,
Keep my prey transfixed, silent.
It feels so good, revenge.
There lies the broken spell.
There lies the broken curse:
Teeth clenched, lips sealed; silent.
It feels so good, revenge.
Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city.
Ken Allan Dronsfield
Death within Eventuality
A stellar race to a darker place,
the almost dead rattle and hum.
Deserving none of the warm sun,
a coolish death within eventuality.
Gnaw on a bone or lapis stone,
color blue hanging from a mirror.
Piety’s ice now sugars and spice,
eat your fill of a blackened crow.
Sequestered blaze of frosty haze,
dance until dawn to an old sonnet.
Try your best, at the calmest behest
of the one pounding the black book.
Bicycles, tricycles and popsicles,
stored in the trunk of the clown car.
A circus of life, in a perpetual strife,
soaring upon a vibrating high wire.
Expectancy of a burning intensity
shall grasp death within eventuality.
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran, poet and fabulist originally from New Hampshire, now residing on the plains of Oklahoma. His work can be found in magazines, journals, reviews and anthologies. He has two poetry books, “The Cellaring” a collection of 80 poems of light horror, paranormal, weird and wonderful work. His newest book, “A Taint of Pity: Life Poems Written with a Cracked Inflection”just released on Amazon.com. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize and twice Best of the Net Nominee for 2016-2017. Ken loves writing, thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night and spending time with his cats Willa and Yumpy.
Robin Wyatt Dunn
go and bake
go and bake put the bun in the oven curl it around your waist cake the melancholy edges of your harbinger life with the shades of day too ordinary to be real glued to your face
Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles but is trying to escape. His short story collection DARK IS A COLOR OF THE DAY was just published by Weasel Press.
To Dylan Thomas
“Do not go gentle into that good night.” You beseeched your dad; so did I. “Burn and rave’, you exhorted, so did I. ‘Rage, rage, you pleaded; your plea went unheeded. The night came.
You reminisced about your Christmas in Wales Yes, you wanted to snowball the cats, wearing socks; Shocked I was when Mrs. what was her name, shouted ‘Fire!’ What a liar, she was, shouting fire when there was none. Mrs Prothero , was she ? And her son, Jim or was it Tim? But it was great fun, your Christmas in Wales. ‘Bring out the tall tales’, you wrote, and I quote. Ah, it was indeed a tall tale; a lovely song. She shouted fire and beat the dinner gong. What was wrong? Was she crazy? Ah, my memory is hazy. Your Welsh Christmas was choc-a bloc with presents, slinking and sidling, spitting and snarling cats, postmen, and uncles playing the fiddle, singing Drake’s Drum, and one aunt merrily lacing her tea with rum!
‘Rage, rage,’ your words were a scream yanked from the depth of an anguish, extreme. But no poem, no plea can save a dad In hindsight, this I understand. The night comes, nonetheless. So does Christmas every year.
I quietly creep into the nostalgia of your childhood Christmas in Wales when my heart bewails the memory of another dad too weak to put up a fight against the dying of the light. The night comes with a painful intensity. And Death’s dominion reigns, you see.
Academician, poet, novelist and essayist, Dr. Santosh Bakaya is the winner of the International Reuel Award for literature for her long poem, Oh Hark!  . She has been critically acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu . She has been invited to many literary festivals and was one of the delegates at SAARC SUFI FESTIVAL, 2017 [Jaipur], besides having won many laurels for her literary output. In January 2018, she delivered a Tedx Talk on The Myth of Writers’ Block. Her other books which have been widely appreciated are: Where are the lilacs? Flights from my Terrace , and Under the Apple Boughs [ Incidentally , this book gets its name from FERN HILL , a poem by Dylan Thomas]
Snow on the wood
A rain of cold ashes
December goes away
His sad days are wandering
He’s snowing in silence
Snowflakes of dumb tears
On the cheeks of absence
And December stops
Gazing upon the wood
Then turns his head away
Yes…December goes away
His frozen steps, his festive atmosphere
Snow in the house
In those Sundays of shadows
Cop- sized and then sinks
In the evenings
Snow in my heart
As sorrow decembers*
All the minutes, all the colors
Last embers soon to be ashes
December, in this poem has been personified. It refers to a person and his/her sufferings. Here the poet links it to the sorrows faced by Dylan Thomas.
*decembers – to be considered as a verb created by the poet to express the qualities of the month December. It refers to being cold, painful and nostalgic.
Manuel Renaud is a French musician and poet. He writes lyrics and excels in playing various musical instruments such as the guitar, bass, ukulele and mandolin. He also teaches guitar, bass and singing. His passion for poetry originated when he was at school. At the age of 14 he was awarded a prize at school for his outstanding achievement in French language. The prize comprised of Les Oeuvres Complètes d’Arthur Rimbaud (The Complete Works of Arthur Rimbaud). When he was much younger he was much influenced by British pop music. This roused his eagerness to learn and understand English. So, firstly he wrote lyrics in English and French. Then afterwards, he seriously started writing poems and still keeps writing regularly.
The Route of an Angel
A wet sweet dawn On their wet roofs Of houses Uniformly next to each other Built in series … lonely Route of an Angel, Archangel Lost in the city cool Heart
And you never entered In the street houses With the stone walls The heart that does not hold, by There it does not pass
*** Flowers hidden, sprouted Where the sun shyly Some rays send A lone purple flower Over there a heart
I look at it and in lips overflow A prayer that I honor you
I have no hands, only wings Where they lift me up in the sky High, do not … From a brother’s hand In the soil I fall in the shadow of Archangel.
This poem has been inspired by part of Dylan Thomas’s quote “ I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me, and my enquiry is as to their working, and my problem is their subjugation and victory, down throw and upheaval, and my effort is their self-expression.”
Eftichia Kapardeli was born in Athens and lives in Patras. She studied journalism and has a section at the University of Cyprus in Greek culture. She has a Doctorate from ARTS AND CULTURE WORLD ACADEMY. She is a member of the World Poets Society, IWA (international writers) and POETAS DEL MUNDO. Information about her books can be found at: http://eftichiakapa.blogspot.gr/2013_10_01_archive.html
Dark is Night
(A tribute to Dylan Thomas)
Please be seated, have a quiet talk
On the black wall, scribble in chalk…
(I) Ask’ shall the blind horse sings sweeter?’
The moonlight sees the white winter.
Sip a cup of your hot coffee
Think of those days, pleasure and glee.
Shall I dream a thin sea of flesh?
And a bone coast wrapped in a mesh.
Flawless piece of work to fulfil
Your good, lovely and perfect will.
You’re the salt person, blasted place
Life’s hard, still have that elfin grace.
Just the right kind of evening breeze
When life seems to stink, go for seize.
Brush and paint your face all over
Read your lips, upper and lower.
The wild birds sing the sun in flight
Good men crying for light more light,
Struggle hard with a lot of grind
Now you are what I had in mind.
Gopal Lahiri was born and grew up in Kolkata. He currently lives in Mumbai, India. He is a bilingual poet, writer, editor, critic and translator and widely published in Bengali and English language. He has had five collections of poems in Bengali and seven collections in English. He has jointly edited the anthology of poems: Scaling Heights and is the recipient of the Poet of the year award in Destiny Poets, UK, 2016.
“Gogyoshi is a poem written in five lines. Writing a poem in five lines is its only rule. The content of gogyohshi is free, its themes are chosen by the poet.” Taro Aizu, Japan
Lidia Chiarelli is one of the Charter Members of Immagine & Poesia, the art literary Movement founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007. She is also an installation artist, award winning poet and her works have been multi-lingually translated.
She has become an award-winning poet since 2011 and she was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from The First International Poetry Festival of Swansea (U.K.) for her broadside of poetry and art contribution. Pushcart Prize Nomination in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Her writing has been translated into different languages and published in Poetry Reviews, and on web-sites in Italy, France, Great Britain, U.S.A., Canada, Albania, Romania, South Korea, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, India, Israel, Vietnam, China, Mauritius and Japan.
See the thoughts, come closer in the rain: dream, dream to bear pain. Sorrow in bliss is the escaped kiss that once we all held some single rose.
As I know, the Apple-Heart hoists a young child through the empty core. His tiny hands clench gleefully and he giggles like silver clouds. If night touches his eyes—he is reborn into thirty goodbyes.
Let’s know what angel is carrying the Promised fields. My dear joy, the seed from which the gift of light was born. She heaves like a fisherman’s catch on the waifish waters. That abounding soul within me—night, heart, descried sword of Fate.
You love me to be loved.
Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press, a literary publisher. He is a visual artist, musician, poet, and prose writer. He also edits Harbinger Asylum, a journal for the arts and poetry. His two most recent books, Salt and Sorrow (Chitrangi, 2016) and A Matter of Degrees (Hawakal, 2017), are both small collections that explore multilayered ideas. He placed as a finalist in Adelaide Literary Journal’s short story contest in 2017.
Pour me a Vision
Pour me a vision
that I might walk a corridor
of chance conversation;
drift into moments passing,
towards light where no sun shines.
Enter passages unclothed
through the prism of a wanton eye
among bookshelves, disturbing dust
where captured words weep.
To follow the poet
out of black, into yellow
feeding chowder to amoeba.
Yellow to black
then back to the shed
where he’d chisel granite
with a well-worn pen.
Drink me a moment beyond
numberless days of death
that I might count them among
Though his passing stills the hands
‘gently or otherwise’
their indelible mark remains,
forever at the turning of a page.
David Ratcliffe hails from the north of England though now living in the south. He writes poetry, short stories, song lyrics (Two of his songs have been recorded by Leeds band Backyard Burners) & Stage plays (one of which is with a theatre company in London). He is also a keen painter in both watercolours and oils. His poetry has been published online in Poetry Pacific Magazine, TRR Poetry, Sixteen Magazine, Mad Swirl, Tulip Tree Review (Print Version), Poem Hunter and Creative Talents Unleashed. He has written two Plays to date; The Sally set on a council estate near Rochdale Lancashire in three parts, and Intervention, a two-part play on the subject of world peace.
She has written one novel Ella which was published in May 2013, Short Stories and Fables published in August 2015 and one play entitled Who is Your Best Friend, published in June2015. Her poems Why worry, be happy, (July 2017), followed by The Break of Dawn, (September 2017), My Dream (November 2017), were featured in Setu Magazine.
O talented poet! O master of words! Amidst hectic 21st century of internet dominion we are still mesmerized by your sun of direct expression your daring waves of spontaneity
Echoes, echoes “Do not go gentle into that good night” all around the globe, As we swirl, waltz in your world We can’t help to let a tear drop in the poetry realm but soon we comfort ourselves, pacify your soul by celebrating what you’ve left in legacy – the undying fruits of poetic determination your constant stars of immortality.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon was born in Mauritius in 1977. She started writing poems in English at the age of 14. She is currently the author of a few poetry books. She is the representative of Immagine and Poesia for Mauritius.
Ruben Molina was Born in Barinitas Edo Barinas, on October 23, 1969. He studied at the Conac Merida Art School from 1980 to 1983. He belongs to the CIRCULO DEL DIBUJO of MACCSI. He taught as professor of Printing Systems at the former Neuman INCE Design Institute. He currently lives and works in Merida Venezuela.
He has been represented as artist by The Ajala Project, Art Foundation in Dubai UAE until 2019. He has had his own solo exhibitions and participated in many group art exhibitions worldwide.
Note: Painted especially for the International Dylan Thomas Day 2021. Inspired by the poem ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion
Gloria Keh, 69, began painting since childhood. Her father, the oil painter Martin Fu was her first art teacher. She has taken part in over 80 art exhibitions both in Singapore as well as internationally, and won 18 international art awards.
In 2008, Gloria founded Circles of Love, a non profit charity outreach program using her art in the service of humanity. Since that year, all proceeds from the sales of her artworks are donated 100% to charity
In addition to painting, Gloria writes poetry and facilitates mandala as well as art journaling workshops.
Name of artist: Juliet Preston
Title: ‘Osiris, come to Isis’
Medium: Digital abstract
Size: 1080 x 1080, 1.2 mega pixel
Year : 2021
Note: Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ ‘Osiris, come to Isis’ ,notebook poems
Juliet Preston is an engineer by profession. She considers herself to be a poet at heart and an artist by passion.
Name of artist: Wendy Wong
Title: ‘the Good Night’
Medium: digital art
Size: 2048 px x 2048 px
Year: April 2021
Wendy Wong is from Singapore. Since young, Wendy’s interest in art was sparked by her father who brought her out to parks to paint the scenery.
Although she graduated with a Diploma in Graphic Design, she went on to pursue a career in Retail Real Estate for over more than 2 decades and got so busy in the rat race leaving her little time to pursue her passion in the arts area.
Through the years, her love for art never left her.
It is only in the recent years that she picked up her paint and brushes again. Through drawing, it helped her in being more aware of herself and she also used this media to run art expression workshops to help others find their inner child.
It is during 2020 Covid-19 period that Wendy began to paint more seriously, endeavouring to hone her skills and participated in various open call art exhibitions held online.
One of Wendy’s dream is to have her own solo art exhibition one day. She has participated in 10 International Online exhibitions and will soon be part of another upcoming one.
Name of artist : Lidia Chiarelli
Title : How Time has Ticked a Heaven Round the Stars
Medium: Digital collage ( From an original photo by Nora Summers)
Size:45 x 30 cm (pixels)
Year : 2021
Country : Italy
Lidia Chiarelli is from Torino, Italy. She is an installation artist , collagist, writer and co-founder, with Aeronwy Thomas, of the art-literary Movement Immagine & Poesia (2007). Award -winning poet, six nominations to Pushcart Prize, USA and Literary Arts Medal (NY) 2020. Her poems are often translated multilingually.
Gianpiero Actis is the co-founder with Aeronwy Thomas ( Dylan Thomas’s daughter) of the art-literary movement “Immagine & Poesia”, and he often offers his artworks as “responses” to poems of different writers.
His artworks are in permanent exhibitions / collections in Italy and abroad (Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Torino /Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea Wales, /Musée de Huy, Belgium).
Innovation and deep cultural backgrounds are the main features of his artworks.
Hello poet friends and literature-lovers! I’m one of the representatives of Immagine and Poesia (Italy-based literary and artistic movement) founded under the patronage of late Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.
May 14th marks the anniversary of the first small cast reading of Under Milk Wood on stage at the 92Y in New York ,1953 with Dylan Thomas as the narrator. Thus, 14 May has been assigned as International Dylan Thomas Day.
Upon the approval of the official UK team from Dylan Thomas Trust and on suggestion of the Editor Lidia Chiarelli of Immagine and Poesia, I have the pleasure to organize Dylan Thomas Day on my blog for the second time.
Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, South Wales on 27 October 1914. His popular poems are “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” and “And Death shall have No Dominion”. Dylan Thomas died in 1953 at the age of 39. Thomas’s poems are poignant and they have been able to explore and reveal the depth of the subconscious mind.
A few months ago I posted a call for submission for contemporary poets to send their own original poems as a tribute to Dylan Thomas. I’m really glad to have received submissions from international poets of our time and I have the greatest pleasure to publish them on this blog today. This year, I have arranged the poets’ works by keeping a balance between simple and complex ones.
I express my sincere gratitude to all talented poets who have sent their well -crafted works. Many thanks to Hannah Ellis( granddaughter of Dylan Thomas), Andrew Dally, David Evans and Lidia Chiarelli for their support, encouragement and help in organizing this event on my blog.
Hope you will enjoy reading the following poems and continue to support Dylan Thomas’s works.
by Michael R. Burch
after the sprung rhythm of Dylan Thomas
Here the recalcitrant wind sighs with grievance and remorse over fields of wayward gorse and thistle-throttled lanes.
And she is the myth of the scythed wheat hewn and sighing, complete, waiting, lain in a low sheaf— full of faith, full of grief.
Here the immaculate dawn requires belief of the leafed earth and she is the myth of the mown grain— golden and humble in all its weary worth.
Author’s Note :
I believe I wrote the first version of this poem towards the end of my senior year of high school, around age 18 in late 1976. To my recollection, this is my only poem directly influenced by the “sprung rhythm” of Dylan Thomas (more so than that of Gerard Manley Hopkins). But I was not happy with the fourth line and put the poem aside for more than 20 years, until 1998, when I revised it. I was still not happy with the fourth line, so I put it aside and revised it again in 2020, nearly half a century after originally writing the poem.
Michael R. Burch’s poems have been published by hundreds of literary journals, taught in high schools and colleges, translated into fourteen languages, and set to music by twelve composers.
WORM’S HEAD, RHOSSILI
by Rhys Hughes
on the tiny hill
at the end of the causeway,
stranded by high tide and waiting
for it to recede again so he might escape
back to normality. But there’s no
normality in the whole land,
only the devilish
gusts of icy wind
that bite the exposed flesh
of wrists and throat that poke out
of cardigan warmth. Next time he’ll check
the tide times and plan a crossing
with more care, he’ll boast
laugh that’s more
like a dragon’s bite in the
way it sounds, a legendary snarl,
but now his knees are drawn up and fears
gnaw gently on his spirit’s bones,
a man alone, far from home,
musing on a stone,
Rhys Hughes is the author of many books, short stories, articles, plays and poems. He graduated in Engineering but now works as a tutor of Mathematics. His most recent book is the novel “The Pilgrim’s Regress”, a fabulist comedy set in Old Spain.
by Michael Bishop
The first thirteen planks of A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London constitute a single down- dropping sentence, like a noose leaping up short of the majesty and burning of its subject’s extinction beneath the gallows of Dylan’s opening two stanzas and the first plank of its third. In this fatal suspension he abjures any recourse to commas or hyphens. As if loops and pointed sticks appall
his sense of the aborted innocent’s existence. As if compound descriptives like mankind making and Bird beast and flower Fathering and all humbling set before darkness to radiate it with no punctuation whatsoever could reunify the ruins inflicted on a bolt-stung city’s hapless casualties, whether man woman or bairn, even if his titular slain urchin London’s daughter was the freest of any injury
infliction of that lot during those nightly Nazi blitzkriegs. I shall not murder, Thomas tells us in the second load-bearing sentence of his scaffold, The mankind of her going— although had she lived to adulthood she might have preferred humanity as a species specifier amidst her shrouded long friends and frank blasphemy to her eulogist’s self-flattering discretion in declining to smutch with further Elegy the dignity
of her annihilation by adopting in another plank of his platform the grief- gainsaying timelessness of the unmourning water Of the riding Thames. Then nails a twenty-fourth timber to the full shebang: After the first death comma there is no other. Whoa. Is that filigreed blather or an oaken spear of warm sagacity? It’s just Dylan, friends, a stick of Easter dynamite to pipe our unspeakable grief.
Michael Bishop’s novels include No Enemy but Time (1982), winner of a Nebula Award, Unicorn Mountain (1988; revised 2020), winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and Brittle Innings (1994), winner of a Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. He has also published reviews and essays as well as story collections, notably Other Arms Reach Out to Me: Georgia Stories (2017), winner of a Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2018. Later this year, Fairwood Press will publish a retrospective gathering of his short fiction (stories no longer than 3,000 words) and several brief poems with narrative elements, A Few Last Words for the Late Immortals (2021). Years and years ago, Bishop wrote his Master’s thesis at the University of Georgia on the poetry of Dylan Thomas. More recently, on November 5, 2018, he was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
To Dylan Thomas
by Mitali Chakravarty
He said Death shall have no dominion. Bones dissolve into sun, moon and stars.
Death shall have no dominion. Yet the flowers wither with grief As smoke curls from a pyre While the man crumbles to ashes
And dust. The sun, moon and stars Gather the smoke with the soul, Pinning it to the sky with a styrofoam clip. Another star is born. Life and Death.
Grief is Incongruent. And yet he said, Death shall have no dominion.
Hades smiles as Hiroshima blasts. The Earth weeps tears of atomic wastes. Hibakushas* mourn their lost. Does now Death have a dominion?
*Atomic bomb survivors with the kimono imprints on their bodies.
Author’s Note: A tribute to a great Welsh writer who continues to inspire and make us think. These lines are inspired by Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘Death shall have no Dominion’.
Mitali Chakravarty is writer and the editor of Borderless Journal. She has been published widely in journals and anthologies. She writes and translates for harmony, humanity and kindness and looks forward to a world beyond all borders
The Man from Swansea
by Chris Hemingway
Dashing as a Welsh
Young man should
Look, by your charming nature
And sense of adventure, there is
That the world remembers you as
Humble, daring, and full
Of life. You lived by your own rules and your
Memories live inside
All of us
Chris Hemingway is a librarian from East Haven, Connecticut, United States. He is the author of The Day the Bull Lived And Other Poems.
The Word Lover
by Gloria Keh
The other night, we drank in love as we undressed the words of our desires.
Our secret meetings would soon come to an end. For again, he would leave returning across rolling waves to his wife, his home, his land.
We fell in lust one cold grey evening in the dark depths of winter. A season of heated passion so wild and free. Naked, entwined night after night before the fierce flames of a glorious fire. Only to end each time in torment in tears in anguish in discontent.
He carressed my body but mostly engulfed my mind.
I rushed into his web seduced by his stanzas a slave to his words.
Our days became nights Our nights melted into eternity.
And then one day as leaves turned red falling onto the earth in burnt golds and browns; when the chilly winds of autumn blew without mercy nor respect, from the cold sea singing to a sad melody, he was no more.
I watched from a distance as they moved his body. That body I craved That body I worshipped That body that was the heart of me.
Today, so many talk on and on about his genius. About his love affair with words.
Oh yes, I still remember how he had that incredible way with words. But that was nothing like the way he had with me.
Born in Singapore, Gloria Keh, 69, has been writing for decades. Having spent most of her adult life working as a travel journalist, then as an editor and finally as an editorial consultant for Singapore’s airport magazine.
Gloria also worked as a copywriter with one of Singapore’s top advertising agencies, writing brochures for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and Singapore Airlines. In addition, she was the South East Asian correspondent for several international travel trade magazines.
Three of her self-illustrated travelogues won the prestigious PATA American travel writers award for three consecutive years.
Also an artist, Gloria enjoys writing poetry that’s accompanied by her art. She conducts art journaling.
A Quintessential Star
by Juliet Preston
A quintessential star comes only once in a million years.
Born a scorpio sign, a life resembled exactly the scorpion constellation in the night sky. Dylan Thomas, a notoriety shaped by distinct brilliance.
A legend exhibited by his magnificent genius, A drunkard tormented by his shadow self.
Had fate placed him in a wrong place at a wrong time, or fortune did not favor the Welsh’s famous son? So many questions without answers.
Pain may have been inescapable, but love was always plenty.
Love found its way in his ‘Osiris, come to Isis’, ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ spoke of his rebellious soul even in the face of death.
‘The Map of Love’ granted a poetic licence for his adolescent indulgence, marking the culmination of rage echoed in ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.
O darling Dylan Thomas, your magnificence and apocalypse glow every time when the scorpion displays in the starry sky.
Juliet Preston is an engineer by profession. She considers herself to be a poet at heart and an artist by passion.
Really It is My Own Stupidity
by Robin Wyatt Dunn
Really it is my own stupidity Education a kind of paring down An endless series of beatings Sparta made crueler and more enduring Their double kings Made quadruple or quintuple Arcane bollocks collapsing onto my chest
The lesson that I am unable to learn The test unending year and year minute by minute slapping you across the face
“You haven’t learned yet!”
The lore is so deep And I am unable to dive I drink only from its edges It will kill me
Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his works at www.robindunn.com.
by Heath Brougher
We fingered the hives for honey to boil. It was summer after all and, despite the frost, and because the sleeping man said she would ring the stars, the tottering seasons have turned womb-warm and painted our faces with mustardseed sunlight.
We fall awake from eunuch dreams to deliberately contradict ourselves with the every sentence we utter in the blood drop’s garden of portraits of the artist as a young God— the same place the straw man was ripped into a dozen maggot-barren wreaths.
We know well this red-eyed earth will eventually allow a punctual dying of the light and we will, once again, rose-red fall back into our unhouses in the ground.
An ode to Dylan Thomas using images from his poems to make a statement on the contradiction often found within his work.
Heath Brougher is the Editor in Chief of Concrete Mist Press as well as poetry editor for Into the Void Magazine. His work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award and he was the recipient of Taj Mahal Review’s 2018 Poet of the Year Award. He was recently awarded the 2020 Wakefield Prize. His works can be found in both print and online journals across the world.
Red Bay of Bengal, west of Java, north of Madras
By Sekhar Banerjee
If I dismantle this red evening over Pondicherry and Madras bit by bit, it is an old oil painting, its frame was gilded by the last European carpenters off Coromandel coast and if I break up its deep red space, step by step, of red air, red bougainvillea, red trees, red people, red salt beds, red balustrades just in front of the promenade and Bay of Bengal, also red, where the Java-bound ships and their merchants went beyond their call of duty – now all lost red ships are still floating in the red Bay of Bengal, west of Java, north of Madras, and every lost drummer, sad like us, drums up enough red from their parchment drums, and the whole of south India, mystified and upset, finally knows the sun has gone down to return again We now know nobody can ever touch his own edge of all things, past and present and that, nothing can be shared except our own fallacies at a later stage
It is the limit of the red sky that our eyes can behold, frame by frame, devoid of any nuts, screws and bolts and shame when the sea froths are crimson; Earth’s blood (group unknown) is splattered on the sky, sea and on the clouds nearby Without a definition of the evening as evening, without a definition of time as time, without a definition of sea and the sky without a frame, here the evening is dying without an obituary and a good name; the (hooded) night, yes, as if an authorized agent of change, has murdered it again without any provocation I know somewhere down the road, there must be an official witness’ box and an ancient observer’s bench,(a tourists’ kiosk in most cases) to attend to this daily ritual of death
Author’s Note: This poem has been written in appreciation of Dylan Thomas’s works on death and, subsequently, on life.
Sekhar Banerjee is an author. He has four poetry collections and a monograph on an Indo-Nepal border tribe to his credit. His works have been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, Kitaab and elsewhere. He lives in Kolkata, India.
Seize the Night
by John Thieme
I hear the rasping cries of lovers through my sullen wall of doubt. I hear their midnight moans of ardour. I take a draught to drown them out.
I yearn to capture them in quatrains, that sidle passion into verse, but I’m a frozen attic statue, garroted by their rampant curse.
And so they move forever forwards, unheeding all my moonshine arts. Intoxicated by dull thoughts of hemlock, I try once more to snare their hearts.
John Thieme is a Senior Fellow at the University of East Anglia, UK. He previously held Chairs at the University of Hull and London South Bank University and has also taught at the Universities of Guyana and North London, and as a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Turin, Hong Kong and Lecce. His academic books include Postcolonial Con-Texts: Writing Back to the Canon, Postcolonial Literary Geographies: Out of Place, The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literaturesin English, and studies of Derek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul and R.K. Narayan. He is currently working on a study of climate change fiction and hopes to write a cli-fi novel himself. His creative writing has been published in Argentina, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA, and his collection Paco’s Atlas and Other Poems was published by Setu Press (Pittsburgh) in 2018.
by Nell Jones
Dark days, few reminisces, My burning skin, the world is in your light. Valiant sun, touch the grainy sky, Wrap me in your cloak, Raise up your voice, In this cathedral, of blazing star shine, Breathe softly in my ear of, How you found me here.
I count the stars, Smooth your skin, My sky is your sky, My hand, is your hand and the Scars I have scraped roughly on your jaw, weaken, For night has come so elegantly.
This is our final congregation, On the eve of the fated choir, The wretched night will steal my confession. Flame the burning skin, Let your breath pass over me, Wither the deceitful warmth, Beguile in its glow.
Black foe, Your hills are a woman’s body, A faded figure that appears, Lying perfectly, on the darkened landscape.
Disguised on the horizon, A force drives me towards you and so, I count the stars on your back, Each one glowing as you sleep.
Under this heavenly cathedral, I retreat into the new and misty down, I fall below your feet, On this dusk’s long day, Concealed by the vapour of the Milky Way.
You are still young, like the day, In harmony with the rushing morning, I drink my wine, sipping on, The intoxicating freedom while, You cheat with the lights turned on. The breakfasts on the tray, I kneel upon the alter, to listen for The warble of the curlew and the welcome of the crow, The magpies rippling white wings, That burst through the misty brew, And settle on the fever of dotted colours, on the morning dew.
An undertaker calling to his mate, The quickening quiet, On the heavy hue, Drops of rain touch my words, To tell you, I was here in this black dark day.
Nell Jones (Daniella) was born in Adelaide in 1964. She has Dutch and Welsh heritage. Writing since the age of 12, Nell had her first play, Dead Man’s Alley, a work focused on the plight of homeless men living on the streets of Melbourne, performed at the Nimrod Theatre, Sydney, a second play, The Blind Forty, set on the Torrens River during the Depression in Adelaide, performed at the Seymour Centre, Sydney. She has been the recipient of a Master Writers Grant, from the Australia Council and has written several other plays for youth theatres and schools, as part of her role as a drama teacher and director in those organisations. Nell has published many works over the years, including Jack and Lily, a chronicle of short war stories and poetry. Nell’s first novel, The Lost Sister of Groningen, based on the life of her mother in WW2 and 1950’s Australia, was launched at the Tap Gallery in Sydney in 2010. It was later launched at the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in 2011. Her second novel, A Token for Perry was launched by Libby Hathorn in Sydney at the 371 Gallery Marrickville. Her poetry volume, The Sky Is My Religion was also launched in Ubud Reader’s and Writer’s Festival in 2012 and with the support of the UWRF, was opened by Australian writer Libby Hathorn. Nell performed her poetry daily with Balinese musicians and dancers in an art space in Ubud, with paintings that were specially created to reflect her poetry volume. At the opening she performed with Balinese dancers and a 30-piece orchestra as part of the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival celebrations. Nell has two degrees in education, and is currently working on her third novel, Patience Perry. Nell lives by the sea in Newcastle, Australia and in 2021 has retired from teaching and is a full-time writer. She is concurrently writing a play, The Voice of the People.
I stood outside Dylan’s childhood home his words emanated from within I sat in peaceful Cymdonkin Park pictured him playing there as a child I strolled along Swansea’s streets saw haunts he liked to frequent
On his beloved sweeping Swansea Bay Cockle pickers scanned the sands Out at Mumbles where he spent happy hours I watched laver gatherers on the rocks At West Glamorgan’s green farmland seeds of Fern Hill were sown
Legend of Wales although gone too soon His literary legacy is evergreen.
Margaret O’Driscoll lives in West Cork; Ireland. Her poetry and nature photography have been widely published internationally. Selections of her poems have been translated into many different languages.
Excerpts from Dylan Thomas’s Obscurity: The Legitimacy of Explication
by Michael Bishop
Dylan Thomas’ Obscurity: The Legitimacy of Explication. A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia. Athens, Georgia: 1968. Excerpts from pages 3-6 of Chapter One, “The Problem of Obscurity”:
From the beginning the adverse criticism directed at [Dylan] Thomas centered on his readily apprehended obsession with the sound of words, singly and in combination. The criticism largely ignored or misunderstood the structuring principle behind the arrangement of the curious words and propulsive rhythms. The decree came down that the young poet’s obscurity was the result either of Neanderthal inarticulateness or cunning charlatanism. One or the other had to be true. Dylan Thomas could not communicate except in staccato grunts and fluent moans; or else he employed a freak brand of verbal pyrotechnics to flash-blind the reader to his shallow-mindedness. On these grounds one critic, Julian Symons, declared Thomas’ poems ‘jokes, rhetorical, intellectual fakes of the highest class’ (“Obscurity and Dylan Thomas,’ Kenyon Review, II, Winter 1940, p. 67). This kind of misunderstanding and even crass dismissal plagued Thomas throughout his career; it has continued to plague his reputation since his death in November of 1953 . . . The most extensively argued condemnation of Dylan Thomas’ poetic method to date, however, is David Holbrook’s book Llareggub Revisited. Holbrook argues that the poetry of Thomas is indicative of an attitude inimical to the civilized consciousness. He says that [its] disconcerting power over the reader lies not in its intellectual content but rather in the invocation of hwyl, that state of raptured abandon into which a Welsh preacher works himself and his congregation (Llareggub Revisited: Dylan Thomas and the State of Modern Poetry, London, 1962, p. 87, footnote). The poetry is obscure, Holbrook intimates, because Thomas was capable of writing only a “babble-language” that necessarily subordinated meaning to hollow sound effects. Even in such a poem as “A Refusal to Mourn” Holbrook sees only empty sentiment and overblown sound. He dismisses the calculated ambiguity of the last line with two purposely belittling paraphrases: “The last verse is really general and empty, a disguise of feeling in hwyl, the profound-sounding last line, After the first death, there is no other, meaning surely no more than When you’re dead you don’t die again or When you’re dead you are done for” (ibid., p. 171). These almost flippant paraphrases of the last line reduce its meaning to the deflated colloquial level that Holbrook seeks for the purposes of his argument. But the paraphrases exclude the connotations of Christian salvation that Thomas’ line forcibly imparts. The profundity of the line lies in the fact that Thomas deliberately works both sides of its meaning: (1) Death is birth into immortality, and (2) Death is the end of all sentience. Furthermore, the line has a meaning within its immediate context that Holbrook altogether fails to see: The initial death in war is the symbolic act that contains all subsequent deaths. The last line of ‘A Refusal to Mourn,’ then, is not so much an example of obfuscation in hwyl as a careful exploitation of a loaded ambiguity. Thomas refuses to mourn, but he does not fail to offer consolation or to indict the stupidity and arrogance of war. Combined in the poem are both an intellectual tough-mindedness and an understandable emotional reaction to the fire-bombings of London.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon: Rhys Hughes, welcome to Vatsalaradwritingworld blog! Today we are celebrating International Dylan Thomas Day and since you are a contemporary writer, originally from Wales we wish to learn more about Dylan Thomas and your appreciation of his works. So, firstly, please tell us briefly about yourself and how you can relate yourself to the works of the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas?
Rhys Hughes: I was born in Wales and although I have lived in many countries, I am acutely aware of the fact I am Welsh. There is a photograph of me standing under a Welsh flag in a remote region of West Africa. No one knew why that flag was flying on its pole, not even the person who raised it, nor did they know it was a Welsh flag. But it pleased me to see it there, an unexpected symbol of my homeland. And Dylan Thomas is another Welsh symbol that crops up in unlikely places, a symbol just as essential and potent as the flag, dragons, daffodils and leeks. Culturally he is adjacent to the soul of every modern Welsh writer. He is also adjacent to me physically, in some sense, for at the moment I live within a five-minute walk of the house where he was born and grew up. When I was younger, I tried to turn my back on him, an ultimately futile endeavour. We had to study his work at school and I wanted to resist. The time and place were both wrong. My appreciation of Dylan Thomas has grown substantially since then. It has grown to the point where it is now outside the page and beyond the written word. For example, when I am crossing the causeway of Worm’s Head, an impressive geological feature in Gower, west of Swansea, I think about him stranded on the highest point of the rocks for a whole cold night because he misjudged the tide. The echo of his life is still clear.
V.R: What is the actual place of Dylan Thomas’s works in the field of Welsh/ English Literature?
R.H: He is at the very summit of Welsh literature. It is difficult to overstate his importance in Wales. Of course, there have been many fine poets and writers in Welsh history who wrote only in Welsh and they tend to have received less attention internationally. This is only to be expected. My favourite Welsh novel is Un Nos Ola Leuad by Caradog Prichard and it deserves to be better known, but writers who write in English will always have the advantage of increased visibility. Dylan Thomas wrote in English but much of his sensibility is Welsh. Some people have said he was almost a caricature of a Welshman in his behaviour and lifestyle but I don’t think that is entirely fair. Welsh identity was under an enormous amount of pressure at the time and he helped to reaffirm it far and wide and so preserve it for the future. He is as important to Wales in that respect as Yeats is to Ireland or Burns to Scotland. He is a national poet but his work is never narrow or nationalistic. It remains universal in its ability to resonate with a global audience. Yet it is still somehow essentially Welsh. That is no small achievement. As for his importance in English literature as a whole, he is regarded as one of the very best poets of the 20th century. In fact he is regarded as one of the best modern poets in any language.
V.R: How do you celebrate Dylan Thomas Day in your city and tell us about any special literary memory or experience related to this?
R.H: I have missed the day over the past few years, mainly because I wasn’t in Wales at the time, and I am never sure how I will celebrate the occasion. I sometimes find some small way to do so. In the past I visited the Boathouse in Laugharne where he lived but that particular visit was part of a general celebration of his life and work rather than being an event connected with a specific day. I once won a set of volumes of his Collected Letters in a poetry slam competition at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea but again I don’t think that competition had anything to do with his official Day. My girlfriend is a translator (among other things) and has translated his poem ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ into the language of Karnataka and I want to play her recording of that translation outside his house to celebrate. But I don’t have to do that on any particular day. It might be raining. I will probably do it when it is sunny. In Wales the weather is extremely unreliable and that makes it difficult to plan outdoor events. Another hike to Rhossili in Gower might be another option. Only once have I walked the full distance between Rhossili and Swansea in one day. It took eleven hours and was a tough walk. But it’s an extremely beautiful part of the world and I never tire of the scenery.
V.R: What is your favourite work of Dylan Thomas?
R.H: I am one of those rare readers who prefer his short stories to his poems. His poetry is magnificent, yes of course, deeply lyrical and powerful, but there is a crispness and a humour to his short stories that I find very appealing. His book of semi-autobiographical tales, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, is my favourite of his books, the one I would take with me to a desert island. And the opening story of that collection, ‘The Peaches’, is for me perhaps the best in the volume. I can read such a book and see his influence on many authors who came later. It might seem strange that he was an influence on science fiction writers too, but that is certainly the case. Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Michael Bishop, to name just three, owe at least some of the lyricism of their prose to an appreciation of Dylan Thomas. They wanted to raise the quality of the genre they worked in and they succeeded. Dylan’s short stories crackle and fizz very pleasingly. Mention must be made of Under Milk Wood too, of course, certainly one of the best radio plays ever written, but if pushed to choose only one work I would still opt for that slim collection of stories.
V.R: In the Welsh context what is the most striking feature of Dylan Thomas’s poetry?
R. H: The most striking aspect of his poetry is its universal application. Welsh literature has a tendency to be a little too parochial in its themes, structures and intentions. It has sometimes seemed to me that writers on the edge of Welsh identity have written more valuable works than those plunged headlong into it. But maybe that’s going too far. All the same, Dylan’s poetry is Welsh, profoundly so, but not just Welsh. We can say with equal emphasis that he was a Welsh writer, a European writer and a World writer. This is important. This is refreshing. Wales, the smallest of the Celtic nations, has struggled to keep up with its larger cousins. Ireland has Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Flann O’Brien and many others. Scotland has Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alasdair Gray and many others. But without Dylan Thomas, Wales would have no one of comparable stature. It’s true that I have already mentioned that there are neglected writers in Wales who deserve more attention, but the fact remains that Dylan is our touchstone, our great symbol, our champion. He has an inestimable value for that service alone. His works resonates. It’s as simple as that. It resonates beyond any narrow category or confine. It is true and pure literature in the best sense.
V.R: Please can you share with us any of your poems or prose works written for this special event?
R.H: The vast majority of my poetry is light verse, either humorous lyrics inspired by Edward Lear, Don Marquis, Ogden Nash, or else very short offbeat pieces influenced by Richard Brautigan. Very little is serious. But I decided to try to write one of my occasional serious poems as a tribute to Dylan. It is based on his adventure on Worm’s Head. ‘Worm’ here means ‘dragon’ and is an archaic word. The geological formation looks rather like a dragon.
International Dylan Thomas Day is celebrated every year on 14 May. As a representative of Immagine and Poesia (founded by the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Dylan Thomas) and upon the approval of the Dylan Thomas Trust , I am conducting International Dylan Thomas Day 2021 online.
I invite all poets interested to submit one poem about the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas or appreciation of his works to: email@example.com
Only poems with proper imagery in context and having a refined poetic language will be accepted.
Any poem consisting of unrefined/coarse/obscene language or imagery will be rejected.
If your work is accepted, you will receive an acceptance e-mail within 1 week of your submission. If you do not hear from me within 1 week, it means your work hasn’t been accepted this time.
Deadline: 5 April 2021
All accepted poems will be published on my blog: vatsalaradwritingworld.home.blog
Together as poets, let’s uplift the power of poetic words and maintain the true mission of Poetry!