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June Talk

Brockenhurst and District Probus club’s June meeting heard a talk from Brian & Jacqueline Sutton on the life and times of Dylan Thomas the brilliant Welsh poet famed for his poems, short stories, film and radio scripts, often performed himself. However, his personal life involved debts, extra marital affairs, and a downward spiral into alcoholism. His wife Caitlin was noted for her exhibitionist behaviour, and one-night stands. The 2008 film, “Edge of Love” (starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys) concerns a fictional relationship between Thomas two of his lovers and his wife.

The main themes of Thomas' poetry were nostalgia, life, death, and lost innocence. Welsh landscapes and people, became an integral part of his writing. Celebrated works include Under Milk Wood, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Fern Hill and A Child's Christmas In Wales.

His friendship with Fordingbridge artist and bon viveur Augustus John, led to him to an introduction to his future wife Caitlin Macnamara in 1936, whom he married in Penzance, the following year.

After a period in Blashford, with Caitlin's mother, the couple settled in a rented cottage in Gosport Street, Laugharne, in 1938, before moving into 'Sea View' a couple of months later. They left in July 1940 to live again in Hampshire but then led a roaming lifestyle in England and Italy before returning to Laugharne in May 1949, the Thomas’s moved into The Boat House, which had come on the market for £3000.

Dylan had a considerable stateside following. While America may have made him money it did little to inspire Dylan's writing. He did, however, warm to the many bars and parties to which he was introduced.

On 19 October 1953 he arrived alone for the fourth and last time in New York. He began drinking heavily and was unable to stop vomiting during a rehearsal of Under Milk Wood. It is alleged he said “I've had 18 straight whiskies. I think that's the record" and that has become part of the Dylan Thomas legend. He died on Monday 9 November 1953. The postmortem gave the primary cause of death as pneumonia, with pressure on the brain. He is buried at St Martin's Church in Laugharne


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