Swansea’s son

Swansea has given the world some famous faces but the famous son of the city is the poet Dylan Thomas. He was born here and stayed in the area until he moved to London when he was 20. He had a group of friends during the 1930’s who became known as the ‘Kardomah Boys’ named after the café where they met in Swansea. For Web designers in Swansea, visit http://www.accent-adc.co.uk/category/website-design-web-designers-responsive-websites/

The Kardomah Boys included poets, composers, artists, authors and a broadcaster so it was a talented group indeed. Lively discussions would occur over coffee about art and modern media. Dylan Thomas was born in 1914 and grew up overlooking the Cwmdonkin Park where he would play as a boy and was later to appear in his poems. His joy of reading seems to have forced upon him as he spent much of his childhood confined to bed due to being born with weak lungs. His father was an English teacher at Swansea Grammar School and so a way with words must have been in his blood.

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Dylan Thomas left school with only a qualification in English and began work at the South Wales Daily Post newspaper. He didn’t enjoy it though and spent more and more time writing poetry and frequenting the local public houses. Unfortunately he was to develop a drinking habit that would stay with him for the rest of his life.

In 1932, Thomas joined the Swansea amateur dramatics group, Little Theatre. He learned how to use his voice which no doubt helped his future radio career and he was renowned for his drinking and being the life and soul of every party. Between 1933 and 1935, Dylan had 7 poems published and in 1934 was tempted by the big city and moved to London where he won the Poet’s Corner book prize and had his first book published. However, London also offered a great many more opportunities for drinking and revelry.

Thomas managed to escape having to fight when war broke out due to his asthma caused by weak lungs and his smoking habit. During this time he wrote scripts and provided voiceover work in London. Despite his work, he had mounting debts and struggled to provide for his wife and one son. He tried his hand in New York and travelled there in 1950 but again was sucked into a world of partying and women. He became a much loved, flamboyant character and did the media of poetry a real boost. He would be very theatrical, drink heavily and became involved in roaring arguments but held audiences captivated with his reading of poetry that contained such depth of emotion.

His health was suffering as he continued to travel between Wales and the U.S. After another binge session in a New York tavern, Thomas fell into a coma from which he never recovered and he died on 9th November 1953.

It seems his literary worth increased after his death and he was undoubtedly the finest poet of Wales. There are many statues in Swansea dedicated to Dylan Thomas and a centre named after him.