Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year of the Book #41 DYLAN THOMAS

If you want to fall in love with words, not for what they mean but for how they sound, as if they were music, read Dylan Thomas (1914-1953).

Rather, hear him.

The first poems I knew were nursery rhymes, and before I could read them for myself I had come to love just the words of them, the words alone. What the words stood for, symbolised, or meant was of very secondary importance -- what mattered was the very sound of them as I heard them for the first time on the lips of the remote and quite incomprehensible grown-ups who seemed, for some reason, to be living in my world. And those words were, to me, as the notes of bells, the sounds of musical instruments, the noises of wind, sea, and rain, the rattle of milk carts, the clapping of hooves on cobbles, the fingering of branches on a window pane, might be to someone deaf from birth, who has miraculously found his hearing.”


Only someone to whom words meant this could have written Under Milk Wood, interestingly enough, not a poem but a radio play in which the main character’s name is “Llareggub”. Which while it may sound very Welsh is actually “Bugger All” spelt backwards

Dylan Thomas’ Voice

Richard Burton’s Voice

“Musical lyricism” is a phrase often used to describe Dylan Thomas’ style of writing and so, little wonder that his public readings of UnderMilkwood and  poems like Don’t Go Gently Into the Night that brought him – especially in America - as much adulation as the writing itself.

No comments: