Celebrating literary giant Dylan Thomas

Let’s remember and celebrate today the life and work of Wales’ literary giant, Dylan Thomas.

Picture for blog story Celebrating literary giant Dylan Thomas

Saturday, May 14 marks the 2nd International Dylan Day, commemorating the date when Thomas’ most well-known work, the radio play Under Milk Wood, was first read on stage at 92Y The Poetry Center, New York in 1953.

Dylan Day presents an opportunity to appreciate and have fun with the magic of Dylan’s words. In terms of the Reading Rooms this wonderful writer is certainly no stranger. Many of our groups have loved his story ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’, and his poem ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ has long proved to be a favourite.

Here’s a wonderful account by David Florida James, one of our amazing group of volunteers, who also happens to be Welsh, detailing his experience with this poem in a Reading Room. It illustrates quite beautifully what our programme is all about.

“One of the group commented upon my accent and asked where I came from.  When I said Wales, a man who hadn’t spoken until then, commented ‘Dylan Thomas’.  I took the opportunity to engage with him, and discovered that his son had recently taken his own life, and that at the funeral Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ had been read. 

During the subsequent reading of the poem there was absolute silence.  As the poem proceeded I noticed that there were tears in the eyes of some of the men.  On completing the poem the silence continued apart from a gentle sobbing. 

“I was asked to read it again, and the silence continued.  In the ensuing conversation slowly, slowly events from the men’s pasts were revealed to all present. This continued for some time until eventually all those present had opened their hearts to the group revealing some deeply felt hurts and pain.”  


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