American Writer Opts to 'Go Gentle Into' a Good Night's Sleep in the Best Bedroom at Dylan's Childhood Home; POET'S HAUNTS GET GOOD WRITE-UP IN US NEWSPAPER

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Byline: ROBIN TURNER robin.turner@walesonline.co.uk

MILLIONS of people in the American capital Washington have been given a taste of life in Dylan Thomas' birthplace.

The award-winning Washington Post travel writer Michael Shapiro was full of praise for the "Dylan Thomas House" in Swansea's Cwmdonkin Drive, when he stayed there as part of his Discovering Dylan tour.

His visit came ahead of next year's national festival to celebrate what would have been the Welsh poet's 100th birthday.

The US writer enthused about an overnight stay with dinner at Thomas' birthplace, a visit to the National Library in Aberystwyth to look at Thomas artifacts and papers, and trips to Laugharne and New Quay on the way.

Geoff Haden, who has restored Thomas' birthplace to its Edwardian best with his wife Annie said: "Although Mr Shapiro had the option to stay in Dylan's tiny bedroom he opted for the 'best' bedroom which was where Dylan was born in October 1914.

"He clearly recognised that 5, Cwmdonkin Drive was an iconic building in Dylan's life, a place that gave him a safe and happy family life which shaped his early years and allowed him to develop as a writer and poet."

Shapiro said: "The nation of Wales is gearing up to celebrate the centennial of Thomas's 1914 birth, so I thought I'd explore the coastal homes where he wrote and found solace, the beaches that made his spirit soar and perhaps a favourite pub or bookstore. "Like many readers of Thomas's often inscrutable poetry, I can't say that I fully comprehend it all. I'm hoping that visiting places that shaped and inspired him will give me a deeper understanding of the artist and his words.

"Thomas, who died before his 40th birthday, is often remembered as much for his excessive drinking and womanising as for his art, but his poems, including Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night which he wrote for his dying father, have endured. Located in the Uplands suburb of Swansea, Dylan Thomas's birthplace is a handsome two-story Edwardian house on the steep part of Cwmdonkin Drive. …