Caitlin Thomas was an author and the wife of the poet and writer Dylan Thomas. Their marriage was a stormy affair, fuelled by alcohol and infidelity, though the couple remained together until Dylan's death in 1953. After his death, she wrote the book an account of her self-exile to Italy, she paints a picture of a grieving widow seeking solace in distance, a younger lover, alcohol. She was born in London, to Francis Macnamara and Yvonne Majolier; the couple had a son and three daughters, of whom Caitlin was the youngest and Nicolette, to become an artist and author, was the eldest. The Macnamaras were descended from an old Irish land-owning family, her grandfather, Henry Vee Macnamara, was the squire of two estates in County Clare. Caitlin’s maternal grandfather, Edouard Majolier, was a French Quaker corn merchant in London, whilst her grandmother, Susannah Cooper, was the daughter of Irish minor gentry, an aunt to Alfred Percival Graves and Joseph Maunsel Hone. Anton Dolin was another, more distant, relation.
Francis, a would-be poet, moved in literary circles, being friendly with a number of artists, but when Caitlin was about four or five, he began to live apart from his family. Yvonne left London, she and the girls settled in Blashford, near Ringwood and the New Forest, where they were close friends to Welsh artist Augustus John and his family. In her early teens, Caitlin fell in love with Caspar John, son of Augustus John, despite the fact that he was eleven years her senior. During this period she was raped by Augustus himself, who seemed to believe that sex with those he painted was an artist's privilege. In 1930, at the age of 16, she returned to London and entered a dancing school, at 18 was a member of a London chorus line. Caitlin spent parts of her childhood with her grandmother, Susannah, in the Majolier house in Congénies in the south of France, she lived for a brief time in Paris before moving to County Clare in 1934, when her father returned to the Macnamaras' reduced estates. Caitlin Macnamara was introduced to Dylan Thomas in a pub, either the Wheatsheaf or the Fitzroy, in Fitzrovia, London, in 1936 by Augustus John.
She and Dylan bonded and that summer he travelled to Laugharne in Wales where Caitlin and John were staying at Castle House where Richard Hughes lived. Dylan arrived with a friend, Fred Janes, after the four travelled to Fishguard to view a painting exhibition, Dylan became drunk and jealous and started an argument with John. John drove back to Laugharne with Macnamara. By the end of 1936, Caitlin and Dylan Thomas had begun a relationship through correspondence. By 21 April 1937 the couple were together in London and on 11 July 1937 they were married in Penzance, Cornwall. After a period in Blashford, Hampshire with Caitlin’s mother, they settled in a rented cottage in Gosport Street, Laugharne, in the spring of 1938, before moving into'Sea View' a couple of months later, they had a peripatetic lifestyle. In May 1949, the Thomases' moved into The Boat House, which had come on the market for £3000, was purchased by Margaret Taylor, one of Dylan's benefactors, wife of the historian A. J. P. Taylor.
Caitlin Thomas had three children by Dylan, Llewelyn Edouard, Aeronwy Thomas-Ellis and Colm Garan Hart. Although Dylan tried to portray himself as a bohemian character, it was Caitlin, the true rebel. Vera Philips, a childhood friend of Dylan from Swansea, recalled Dylan had the proper Welsh background... He was brought up like me, worrying "What will the neighbours think?" Whereas Caitlin didn't care a bugger. Their marriage was a notoriously stormy affair, fuelled by infidelity. Caitlin once famously described their relationship as "raw, red bleeding meat". Despite their fiery marriage, she jealously protected both Dylan and his reputation, tried to protect him from others and himself. Although Caitlin was known for her belligerent personality, some writers have shown sympathy for a woman, at the receiving end of Dylan's sometimes foul-mouthed abuse and pouting silences, she became more and more resentful of her role as a stay-at-home mother, compounded by the run-down nature of their home, the Boat House, which had neither electricity nor running water.
The relationship between the couple deteriorated further when in 1950, Dylan undertook the first of his tours of America. The trips were arranged as a lucrative venture to gain capital to fund Dylan's poetry writing while back in Britain, though by the time of his return, the money he had accumulated did little more than repay outstanding debts. Furthermore, Caitlin had become more and more frustrated at being left behind, dealing with the children and the bills, while her husband spent his time carousing in another country. In October 1953, Dylan travelled to New York without her, to give further readings of Under Milk Wood. On 5 November, he was admitted to hospital. Caitlin travelled to America to be with her husband, though her reaction on arriving at his death bed was aggressive shouting "Is the bloody man dead yet?". In her autobiography, Caitlin: Life with Dylan Thomas, she states that she had no recollection of using the words, but she was, by her own words, "stinkin' drunk" by the time she arrived.
Other reports state that when Caitlin found another woman tending to her comatose husband, she flew into a fit of rage, biting an attendant and fighting with bystander
Dylan Thomas Centre
The Dylan Thomas Centre is an arts centre located in the Maritime Quarter in Swansea, Wales. The city's Guildhall, built in 1825, the Dylan Thomas Centre was restored and refurbished to host the UK Year of Literature and Writing in 1995, it was opened in 1995 by American ex-President Jimmy Carter, has a permanent exhibition on the life and work of Dylan Thomas, a bookshop and a cafe. The Centre houses the permanent ‘Love the Words’ exhibition, based on the largest collection of memorabilia of its kind in the world, it is designed to appeal to the Dylan expert and interested visitor alike, includes a trail for children. This interactive exhibition explores Dylan’s life and work through a variety of media and includes letters, books and photographs; the Dylan Thomas Centre is home to a year-round programme of literary events, including book launches, poetry evenings, changing exhibitions and science talks. It hosts the annual Dylan Thomas Festival held between Dylan’s birth and death dates, 27 October to 9 November.
Regular events are organised for children. The Dylan Thomas Centre’s staff provide a variety of talks and tours, such as talks on aspects of Dylan’s life and works, on contemporary literature, on writing poetry and on cultural tourism. In 2012 a large part of the Centre was leased by Swansea's council to the University of Wales with the purpose of using it as a business centre for creative industries. In 2014,'Love the Words', a new, permanent Dylan Thomas Exhibition opened at the Centre as a result of funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Swansea Council, it was launched on 27 October 2014, Dylan Thomas' 100th birthday, was one of the major events of the centenary celebrations. The exhibition is open 7 days a week, entry is free; the funding has allowed the Dylan Thomas Centre to generate a new programme of learning and participatory activities, including many aimed at children and families. The centre houses 1825 Conferences and Events, which utilises the centre's grand Vivian Hall for a variety of functions.
City and County of Swansea: Dylan Thomas Centre Dedicated site about Dylan Thomas
Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, commissioned by the BBC and adapted for the stage. A film version, Under Milk Wood directed by Andrew Sinclair, was released in 1972, another adaptation of the play, directed by Pip Broughton, was staged for television for the 60 anniversary in 2014. An omniscient narrator invites the audience to listen to the dreams and innermost thoughts of the inhabitants of the fictional small Welsh fishing village, Llareggub, they include relentlessly nagging her two dead husbands. The town awakens and, aware now of how their feelings affect whatever they do, we watch them go about their daily business. In 1931, the 17-year-old Thomas created a piece for the Swansea Grammar School magazine which included a conversation of Milk Wood stylings, with Mussolini, Wife, Mr. Pritchard and Mr. Ogmore; some of its lines are similar to those that would be found in Under Milk Wood. In 1933, Thomas talked at length with his mentor and friend, Bert Trick about creating a play about a Welsh town: "He read it to Nell and me in our bungalow at Caswell around the old Dover stove, with the paraffin lamps lit at night... the story was called Llareggub, a mythical village in South Wales, a typical village, with terraced houses with one ty bach to about five cottages and the various characters coming out and emptying the slops and exchanging greetings and so on.
In 1938, Thomas suggested that a group of Welsh writers should prepare a verse-report of their “own particular town, village, or district.” A few months in May 1938, the Thomas family moved to Laugharne, lived there intermittently for just under two years until July 1941. The author Richard Hughes, who lived in Laugharne, has recalled that Thomas spoke with him in 1939 about writing a play about Laugharne, in which the villagers would play themselves. Four years in 1943, Thomas met again with Hughes, this time outlined a play about a Welsh village certified as mad by government inspectors; the Thomas family left in July the following year. Thomas had visited the town whilst living in nearby Talsarn in 1942-1943, had an aunt and cousins living there, he had written a New Quay pub poem, Sooner than you can water milk, in 1943. His biographers are in accord that Thomas' time in New Quay was one of the most productive of his adult life; some of those who knew him well have said that he began writing Under Milk Wood in New Quay, including his first biographer and close friend, Constantine Fitzgibbon.
The play’s first producer, Douglas Cleverdon, noting that Thomas "wrote the first half within a few months. One of Dylan's closest friends and confidante, Ivy Williams of Brown's Hotel, has said " Of course, it wasn’t written in Laugharne at all, it was written in New Quay, most of it."The writer and puppeteer, Walter Wilkinson, visited New Quay in 1947, his essay on the town captures its character and atmosphere as Thomas would have found it two years earlier. There were many milestones on the road to Llareggub, these have been detailed by Walford Davies in his Introduction to the definitive edition of Under Milk Wood; the most important of these was Quite Early One Morning, Thomas’ description of a walk around New Quay, broadcast by the BBC in 1945, described by Davies as a " veritable storehouse of phrases and details resurrected or modified for Under Milk Wood." One striking example from the broadcast is: Open the curtains, light the fire, what are servants for? I am Mrs. Ogmore Pritchard and I want another snooze.
Dust the china, feed the canary, sweep the drawing-room floor. Davies concludes that "New Quay, so similar in many ways to Laugharne, was crucial in supplementing the gallery of characters Thomas had to hand for writing Under Milk Wood." John Ackerman had come to a similar conclusion, suggesting that the story of the drowned village and graveyard of Llanina, just outside New Quay, "is the literal truth that inspired the imaginative and poetic truth" of Under Milk Wood. In April 1947, Dylan and family went to Italy, he intended to write a radio play there. Several words and phrases that appear in the play can be found in some of Thomas’ letters from the island of Elba, where he stayed for three weeks, they mention the "fishers and miners" and "webfooted waterboys" who we find as the "fishers" and "webfoot cocklewomen" of the first page of Under Milk Wood. The "sunblack" and "fly-black" adjectives of Elba would be re-worked as the "crowblack" and "bible-black" descriptions of Llareggub. Alfred Pomeroy Jones, sea-lawyer, "died of blisters", so did Thomas, as he vividly describes in a letter home.
And, in time, the island’s "blister-biting blimp-blue bakehouse sea" would re-appear as Llareggub's "slow, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea." On their return from Italy in August 1947, the Thomases moved to South Leigh in Oxfordshire, where Thomas declared his intent to work further on the play. It was here. There are various accounts of his work on the play at South Leigh, where he lived until May 1949, he worked on filmscripts here, including Three Weird Sisters, in which we find the familiar Llareggub names of Daddy Waldo and Polly Probert. Just a month or so after moving to South Leigh
William Thomas (Gwilym Marles)
William Thomas, better known by his bardic name of Gwilym Marles, was a Welsh minister and poet, the great-uncle of Dylan Thomas. Dylan was given his middle name, "Marlais", in honour of William Thomas, believed to have inspired the character of Rev. Eli Jenkins in the play Under Milk Wood. Thomas was born in Brechfa near Llandysul, studied at the Presbyterian College in Carmarthen, but won a scholarship which enabled him to go on to the University of Glasgow in 1856. After graduating, he became a minister at Llwynrhydowen, for a time acted as a tutor to William Thomas, the poet; as well as his poems, which were published in 1859, he wrote hymns and stories, a novel, published in 1855 in the periodical Seren Gomer. An advocate of the views of Theodore Parker, he became a champion of Unitarianism, he opened a grammar school, was politically active, supporting local farmers in a tithe war and campaigning on behalf of the Liberal Party in Parliamentary elections. In 1876, local landlords evicted him from his chapel as a result of these activities.
Prydyddiaeth Dylan Thomas chronology Brief biography
Aeronwy Bryn Thomas-Ellis was a translator of Italian poetry and the second child and only daughter of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his wife, Caitlin Macnamara. Born in London, where her parents lived at the time, she was named after the River Aeron. In 1949, the family moved to the Boat House, Carmarthenshire, Wales; the middle child of three, she had two brothers and Colm. At the age of 10 Aeronwy Thomas was enrolled by her mother at the Arts Educational School in Tring, now Tring Park School for the Performing Arts spending one year in 1958 at Dartington Hall School in Devon. Following her father's death in 1953, she and her mother went to Rome moving to Sicily after her mother began a relationship with her long term partner Giuseppe Fazio. Thomas earned a B. A. in English and Comparative Religion at Isleworth College, a TEFL Diploma at Woking Adult Education College. In 2003 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Swansea. After learning Italian, she became a translator of Italian poetry.
She was known as an ambassador for her father's work, as a patron of the Dylan Thomas Society. She was the President of the Alliance of Literary Societies. A much sought-after visiting professor in schools and universities in the U. K. and abroad, in the late 1990s she was popular with the students of Giuseppe Perotti School in Turin, for her distance-learning "creative writing" courses. In 2007 she became President of Immagine & Poesia, an artistic literary movement founded at Teatro Alfa in Turin, she and her husband Trefor Ellis had two children: a son, Huw Dylan, a daughter, Hannah. Aeronwy Thomas died of cancer on 27 July 2009 in New Malden, aged 66. Than Laugharne Christmas and Other Memories Poems and Memories Christmas in the Boathouse Rooks and Poems A daughter remembers Dylan - an expanded version of the booklet Christmas and Other Memories I Colori Delle Parole - includes poems by Aeronwy Thomas and paintings by Gianpiero Actis Away With Words - an anthology of poetry - includes poems by Aeronwy Thomas, Beryl Myers, Anne Taylor, Frances White Burning Bridges Shadows and Shades - Selected Poems My Father's Places Nightwatch in Poet to Poet #3 Aeronwy Thomas reading on poetryvlog.com on YouTube Wales Online obit TimesOnline obituary "This is South Wales" Aeronwy Thomas reading poetry on PoetCasting Aeronwy Thomas and her artistic-literary Movement
Dylan Thomas Theatre
The Dylan Thomas Theatre is a theatre based in the Maritime Quarter, in the centre of the city of Swansea in Wales. The theatre opened under its present name in 1983, but was home to the Swansea Little Theatre from 1979; the Swansea Little Theatre is an amateur drama group based at The Dylan Thomas Theatre and was the first Little Theatre in Wales. The theatre group began performances from 1924 and was based at various different locations during its early years. In the early 1930s poet Dylan Thomas became a member of the troupe after first reviewing plays by the Little Theatre for South Wales Evening Post. In 1932 he appeared with the group for a production of Noël Coward's Hay Fever, taking the role of Simon. A local critic wrote that Thomas' was "an artist with an explosive temper and untidy habits". Thomas appeared in plays with the theatre for the next three years; the group maintained its link with Thomas' family when his daughter, Aeronwy Thomas-Ellis, became President of our Theatre. In 1979 Swansea City Council offered the Swansea Little Theatre the derelict former Oscar Chess showroom and garage in an area, earmarked for development as a permanent home.
On 29 September 1983 Sir Harry Secombe opened the Theatre now named the Dylan Thomas Theatre. Dylan Thomas Theatre Swansea Little Theatre
Cultural depictions of Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer who — along with his work — has been remembered and referred to by a number of artists in various media. Alfred Janes' 1934 portrait of Thomas is held by the National Museum of Wales. Janes, like Thomas was a member of The Kardomah Gang or The Kardomah Boys, a group of bohemian Swansea friends who met at the Kardomah Café, in Castle Street, Swansea. Janes created three portraits of Thomas, the first of which, painted in Coleherne Road in 1934, is oil on canvas and displays Janes's technique at this period of cutting lines into the paint with his pen-knife, to provide relief and focus. Between 1937 and 1938, Augustus John produced two portraits of Thomas. One of these is held by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, acquired in 1942. Two portraits of Thomas by the artist Rupert Shephard, who would in life marry Nicolette Macnamara, an elder sister of Caitlin Thomas, are in the National Portrait Gallery collection; the poem "Thou Shalt Not Kill" by American poet Kenneth Rexroth bears the subtitle "A Memorial for Dylan Thomas".
In issue #26 of the Vertigo Comics series Preacher, Thomas is depicted as a previous acquaintance of the character Cassidy. Cassidy is with Thomas when he collapses outside the White Horse Tavern, Thomas's last words being "The trouble with you fuckin' Irish is, you don't know how to drink..." In his 1963 book Hopscotch, Julio Cortázar makes several references to Thomas. In Charles Bukowski's short story This is what killed Dylan Thomas from 1973 book South of no North, the protagonist makes several references to Dylan Thomas. In her 2010 book Matched, Ally Condie references Thomas' poem "Do not go gentle into that good night". In Chapter 13 of his 2012 novel All I Did Was Shoot My Man crime novelist Walter Mosley recounts a street poet's talk in a New York bar:"....among many of the recognised and lauded lights of the New York poetry scene the allure of Dylan Thomas has faded... They criticise everything from his depth of linguistic complexity to the obvious melodrama of his most well-known works.
But what these poetry pontiffs fail to understand was that Thomas was a people's poet, a man that connected song and metre and the concerns of every human being living their lives and suffering the consequences. His work, in its every repetition, fights for the survival and lifeblood or a form that most so-called great poets have moved beyond the reach of the common man..." Igor Stravinsky wrote "In memoriam Dylan Thomas: Dirge canons and song" for tenor voice, string quartet, four trombones, based on "Do not go gentle into that good night.". Paul Dirmeikis set to music the poems "Song" and "Your Pain Shall Be A Music". American composer Robert Manno set the following poems to music: "Fern Hill" for baritone and chamber ensemble, premiered in New York City 1974. Composer David Diamond set I Have Longed to Move Away for voice and piano in 1968. In 1981, American composer William Mayer, set the poem "Fern Hill" to music for a trio of soprano and harp. John Cale set a number of Thomas's poems to music: There was a saviour, Do not go gentle into that good night, On a Wedding Anniversary and Lie still, sleep becalmed, recording them in his 1989 album Words for the Dying and in his 1992 solo live album Fragments of a Rainy Season.
Notable among these is "Do not go gentle into that good night", which he performed on stage in the concert held in Cardiff in 1999 to celebrate the opening of the Welsh Assembly. He has a song titled "A Child's Christmas in Wales," the title being an homage to Dylan Thomas's work but with different lyrics and subject. In 1996, Belgian composer Henri Lazarof, released Encounters with Dylan Thomas, for soprano & chamber ensemble, comprising ten compositions based on the poet's work. American vocal group Cantus, performed two poems set to choral works, with music by Kenneth Jennings, on their 2001 album... Against the Dying of the Light; the two poems are combined under the title "Two Laments on Dylan Thomas". 2002: A Child's Christmas in Wales for SATB choir and orchestra, written by Matthew Harris. 2003: The Dylan Thomas Jazz Suite'Twelve Poems' set for Quintet and Voice, by Jen Wilson, commissioned by the Dylan Thomas Centre. Issued on CD in 2010. Donovan, in his 2004 album Beat Cafe, set to music the poem "Do not go gentle into that good night".
Singer-songwriter Keith James has set a number of Thomas' works to music. 2014: Composer Andrew Lewis set Fern Hill to music for Orchestra and Electronics. This used an actual recording of Thomas' speech; the work was premiered at Bangor University on 3 October and was performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as part of the "My Friend Dylan Thomas" event. Rogers and Clarke set The Hand; the Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas's "Under Milk Wood", a 1965 album by British pianist Stan Tracey, was inspired by Thomas's play. In December 2011 Stan Tracey, with his son drummer Clark Tracey and saxophonist Simon Allen, premiered his interpretation of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" at the King's Place arts venue in Camden; the indie-rock band Evans The Death, formed in London in 2011, take their name from the undertaker in Under