A Garland for Dylan Thomas

A Garland for Dylan Thomas

A Garland for Dylan Thomas

A Garland for Dylan Thomas

Excerpt

When news of Dylan Thomas' death on November 9, 1953, reached the literary world, its reaction was immediate. Not since the death of Keats had there been such universal mourning for the death of a poet. It seems everybody who had had any contact with the Welshman--friends, nodding acquaintances, barroom pals, students--committed his or her impressions of him to paper for publication in some little magazine or other. Then the so-called literary critics who, for the most part, had never had a word, good or bad, to say about Thomas' creative output of nearly 20 years, suddenly found it fashionable to say something and, unfortunately in many cases, did. But Dylan Thomas' fellow poets, the majority of them letting time and their own genuine creative talent give form to their feelings, had the final say, which is, after all, poetic justice.

A Garland for Dylan Thomas is a gathering of 84 poems by 78 poets selected from almost 150 written in tribute to Thomas over the past ten years. Even a quick glance at the table of contents will give the reader some idea of the range of poetic talents represented in the pages that follow; and the genuineness of the poetic statements themselves--the only criteria for selection--is a living testimonial to the "craft and sullen art" of the man who inspired them. For a poet, after all is said and done, should be judged only by his peers. And Dylan Thomas is a Poet.

The reader already familiar with the poetry of Dylan Thomas will be aware of a striking similarity in style and poetic diction between many of the poems in this Garland and the work of the artist they honor. In lieu of the tributary nature of the poems, it seems wholly appropriate to evoke the "spirit" of Dylan Thomas by utilizing the "letter" of his work. However, this is not to condone the indiscriminate use of Thomas' verbal pyrotechnics as some advocates of the "school" type of poetic creation have done. For the true poet must develop a style distinctly his own in spite of influences; and, in all fairness, it must be said that the majority of the poets represented in this book have done just that. We are dealing here with a very special type of poetic statement wherein imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.

This volume owes its existence to the kind efforts of two very near and dear friends: Joseph Gold of Bethesda, Maryland, who is responsible for bringing to . . .

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