BORN: October 21, 1914, Swansea, Wales
DIED: November 9, 1953, New York City
IDENTIFICATION: Welsh poet and playwright who lived his life with the same passion that he brought to his verse.
SIGNIFICANCE: Dylan Thomas was possibly the most popular Englishlanguage poet of the twentieth century. Though he was a meticulous craftsman who pushed each poem through hundreds of drafts, the poetry's emotional force is what first strikes a reader. His lyricism and dynamic romanticism countered the dry, erudite tendencies of modernism and ushered in a generation of confessional, beat, and magical-realist verse. Thomas's elegy for his father, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” is one of the best-known poems in the English language. An extremely engaging, sociable man, Thomas was also a heavy drinker. He died in New York City, during one of his reading tours, from a combination of alcohol and drugs.