Dr. Seuss, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson are some of the most famous poets in history, but the list wouldn’t be complete without one man in particular: Dylan Thomas. This Welsh poet wrote the likes of Clown In the Moon and Fern Hill, but how could all these incredible pieces of work come out of such a tragic lifestyle?
The early years
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born October 27, 1914, in Swansea, Wales. His father taught English at the local grammar school, and it wasn’t long before his son picked up on his father’s talents. Throughout his childhood, his father would teach Welsh to local students at the family home. When they weren’t working, the family enjoyed plenty of summer getaways which may have helped inspire Dylan. He began writing poetry in his teenage years and felt confident enough to drop out of school when he was just 16 years old to pursue a career as a journalist.
By the time Dylan was 19 years old, he had already written most of his memorable work. His style is different to many other poets of the time as Dylan opted for a lyrical approach that incorporated a hint of romance, complete with plenty of his own personality. Even now, readers of the poet’s work can easily conjure up images of what Dylan was trying to get across. Although Dylan was quickly becoming the talk of the town, the poet was struggling financially. This forced him to beg many literary figures to help support him.
Gaining a reputation
Dylan married his only wife, Caitlin Macnamara, during 1937 after the pair met in London. However, it wasn’t long before Dylan was up to no good. The poet had developed a drinking dependency, and started acting very erratic. As well as a string of affairs, fans also couldn’t wait to hear about Dylan’s latest poetry readings. His behavior quickly earned the poet a reputation for being unpredictable on the stage where he could arrive only to storm off shortly into a passage. It is said that he would deliberately act up to please the crowd.
Wales vs. America
Dylan wrote most of his most famous work while living in Wales. In fact, many of the poems speak about Welsh folklore as well as his time growing up in the country. Even though Dylan used Wales as heavy inspiration, the poet had no second thoughts about leaving his homeland behind and moving to London. From there, his fame skyrocketed, and it wasn’t long before he was traveling to America on a regular basis. Dylan’s popularity across the pond was on the same level as many modern rock stars. However, his wife wasn’t happy to see her husband jet off. Caitlin knew that he would be continuing his affairs while away.
Tragedy too soon
Dylan Thomas tragically passed away on November 9, 1953, when he was just 39 years old. Although many people believed his death was caused by his drinking dependency, the poet actually fell into a coma. It was then his battle with pneumonia that finally cost him his life. According to the hospital notes, it was a fatty liver and pressure on his brain that caused such an early passing. The genius of his poetry teamed with the tragedy of his life has seen Dylan Thomas go down as one of the greatest poets of all time.
Even though Dylan Thomas may have been taken before his time, he has left the world with some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking pieces of poetry of our time. Even nearly 70 years on and we can still sit back and enjoy the work of this beloved poet.