Written By: Tipsy Table - Oct• 27•14

1st class British stamp issued March 2014.

Today, 27 October,  marks the 100th birthday of the magnificent Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Born in 1914 in Swansea this gifted man of letters died much too early at the age of 39 in New York on 9 November 1953. Dylan had the gift of language at an early age and knew it, writing good poetry as a teen and publishing a book of poems in his twenties. He lived fast and worked relentlessly, producing great works that were made to be read aloud, which he did so well. Dylan Thomas experienced much darkness in his short life, fought against depression, suffered severe alcoholism, and moved frequently to avoid debt. He was comforted throughout his abbreviated life by women, his art, and benefactors who recognized his genius.

Critics can make a case against Dylan, his self-destructive character, the alcohol abuse, and ultimately the waste of a rare talent. But, who can question anyone who can characterize himself as a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet” and then write the following about life and death:

And death shall have no dominion.

Dead man naked they shall be one

With the man in the wind and the west moon;

When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,

They shall have stars at elbow and foot;

Though they go mad they shall be sane,

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;

Though lovers be lost love shall not;

And death shall have no dominion.

1st verse from “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” by Dylan Thomas

The album cover of our prized Under Milk Wood L.P.

The album cover of our prized Under Milk Wood L.P.

Tipsy Table has a special affection for Dylan Thomas and his work. We are the proud owners of a Caedmon LP of the incomparable verse for voices piece “Under Milk Wood.” Dylan holds forth in his celebrated voice on this album and it is a masterpiece that tonight we will listen to again.

We were pleased to find that Swansea, on the banks of the River Tawe, is home to The Dylan Thomas Centre.

From the Centre’s website:

The Dylan Thomas Centre, photo courtesy Gareth Lovering.

The Dylan Thomas Centre, photo courtesy Gareth Lovering.

Built in the 1830’s, the Centre was once Swansea’s Guildhall, and later a Technical College.

When Swansea was chosen to host the UK Year of Literature and Writing 1995, the opportunity was taken to refurbish this splendid old building (which had, sadly, fallen into disrepair) as the National Literature Centre. Under its Welsh name Ty Llen – literally House of Literature – it was opened in 1995 by US President Jimmy Carter and the late Trevor Gordon Burtonshaw (Leader of the Council), as the major venue for Festival events.

The Centre was re-named the Dylan Thomas Centre in 1998 after the opening of ‘I in my Intricate Image’, an exhibition of the life and work of Dylan on permanent display.

Today, the poet’s 100th birthday, the Centre celebrates the grand opening of the new exhibition funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


We also recommend listening to the many audios that are available of his work as read by Sir Richard Burton who, if possible, is an even better voice for these precious pieces. We have checked out A Child’s Christmas in Wales from The Seattle Public Library, which can be found on-line as read by the author. Later in the holiday season, we will find a copy, pour a hot cup of tea (a whiskey is also a good companion, but just one) get comfortable in front of the fireplace and enjoy this masterpiece.

Click the link to listen to Sir Richard Burton reading Rev. Eli Jenkins’ Prayer from Under Milk Wood.


DT Festival

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