“The secret was out. One of the greatest poets of the 20th century was one of our own.”
That’s how Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales since 2008, recalls her earliest introduction to the work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. She was listening to a broadcast of Under Milk Wood, a 1950s radio drama Dylan wrote about the fictional village of Llareggub. (“Bugger all” spelled backward; an insight into the poet’s tendency toward irreverence.)
“It was one of the turning points that reset the course of my life,” Clarke revealed during preparations for Dylan Thomas 100, a months-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the poet’s birth on Oct. 27. “I knew those people, recognized the way they spoke, heard my Carmarthenshire grandmother, aunts and uncles in the habits and humor of their speech.”
The Welsh government is leading Dylan Thomas 100 in partnership with local Welsh communities and organizations to celebrate the life and times of Dylan Thomas. Highlights of the festival, an expansive roster of theater performances, visual arts, comedy, television, film and exhibitions at locations in Wales and around the world, include:
Dylan Weekends: A series of weekend festivals in Laugharne, Wales, where Thomas lived from 1949 until his death in 1953
Dylan: Poetry and Jazz: An afternoon with the Jen Wilson Jazz Ensemble and readings by Dylan Thomas expert and poet Peter Thabit Jones at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, Wales
A Portrait of the Artist: An exhibit of unconventional portraits at the Elysium Gallery featuring the artist as the lead actor or director, a protagonist or antagonist and navigating through an uncertain future
A Child’s Christmas in Wales: A stage production of Thomas’s anecdotal recollection of a childhood Christmas
Find a comprehensive calendar of events at dylanthomas100.org.
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