Biography of Dylan Thomas

Photo of Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas is remembered as Wales’s most famous poet.

When and Where was Dylan Thomas Born?

27th October 1914, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea, Wales.

Dylan Thomas birthplace
Birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Swansea (copyright Anthony Blagg)
Dylan Thomas Plaque
Plaque outside Dylan Thomas Birthplace (copyright Anthony blagg)

Family Background:

Dylan Thomas was the son of D.J. Thomas a senior English schoolmaster at Swansea Grammar School.

Education:

Private Dame School run by Mrs Hole at 22 Mirador Crescent, Swansea. Swansea Grammar School.

Timeline of Dylan Thomas:

1925: Thomas goes to Swansea Grammar School for the first time. Publication of his first poem “The Song of the Mischievous Dog” which appears in the school magazine.

1930: He starts the first of his notebooks into which he copied his early poems. These were to continue until 1934.

1931: Dylan Thomas leaves school and is employed as a reporter on the South Wales Daily Post.

1932: In December he leaves his job at “The Post”.

1933: His first poem published in London in March “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” He first visits London in August and in September “That Sanity be Kept” is published by the “Sunday Referee” in it’s Poet’s Corner spot.

1934: Thomas wins Book Prize of Poet’s Corner organised by the “Sunday Referee”. The prize is sponsorship of his first book of poems. On 10th November he finally moves to London and stays with Pamela Hansford Johnson. His first book “18 Poems” is published on 18th December.

1936: He meets Caitlin Macnamara for the first time. “Twenty Five Poems” is published in September.

1937: On 21st April Dylan Thomas makes his first radio broadcast “Life and the Modern Poet”. He marries Caitlin Macnamara at Penzance Register Office on 11th July. In September Caitlin’s has her first meeting with his family.

1938: In May Caitlin and he move to live in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales at Sea View House.

1939: On 30th January his first son Llewellyn is born in Hampshire. Publication of “The Map of Love” in August. His collection of poetry “The World I breathe” is published in America.

1940: On 4th April his short stories “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog” are published. In July Dylan moves back to London from Laugharne. In September he works as a scriptwriter for the Strand film company.

1941-2: He lives partly in London at Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road and partly in Wales.

1942: He moves the family to Chelsea, London.

1943: “New Poems” is published in America in February. On the 3rd March his Daughter Aeronwy is born. He works as a radio broadcaster.

1944: In September Thomas moves to New Quay, Cardiganshire, Wales. He takes part in numerous radio programmes.

1945: He moves back to live in London in the summer.

1946: Thomas moves to live in the countryside near Oxford. Publication of “Deaths and Entrances”. In November “Selected Writings” is published in America.

1947: Between April and August Dylan Thomas visits Italy after receiving an award from the Society of Authors. In September the family moves back to Oxfordshire to live at South Leigh.

1948: He writes films for the Gainsborough film company. Flies to Prague as a guest of the Czechoslovak Writer’s Union.

1949: Laugharne again becomes his main home with the boat house in the garden as his Studio. Birth of his second son Colm Garan Hart on 24th July.

1950: First reading tour of the United States between February and June. He returns to England on the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner.

1951: He goes to Iran in January to write a film script for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Caitlin writes to him saying their marriage is at an end, although later they reconcile their differences.

Dylan Thomas pencil
Tree cut in the shape of a pencil and a triangular shelter in memory of Dylan Thomas in Cwmdonkin Park, Swansea
(copyright Anthony Blagg)

1952: Second tour of the United Sates between January and May. “In Country Sleep” is published in America. His Father dies on 16th December.

1953: Third American tour takes place between April and June. His sister Nancy dies on 16th April in Bombay. “Under Milk Wood” is first performed in New York on 14th May. “The Doctor and the Devils” film script published in New York on the same day. In June he returns to England and makes his one and only TV appearance for the BBC reading “The Outing”. In October he leaves for his. final tour of America. On 19th October he performs his last engagement at a lunchtime reading at City College New York. On the 5th November he collapses at the Chelsea Hotel.

When and Where Did he Die?

9th November 1953, St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City, United States of America.

Age at Death:

39.

Written Works:

1934: “18 Poems”.
1939: “The Map of Love”.
1940: “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”. “The World I Breathe”.
1943: “New Poems”.
1946: “Deaths and Entrances”.
1952: “Collected Poems 1934-52”.
1953: “The Doctor and the Devils”.
(1954): “Under Milk Wood”. (Radio Play-first published).
(1955): “Adventures in the skin Trade.” (Unfinished Novel). “A Prospect of the Sea.” (Stories and essays).
(1954): “Quite Early One Morning”. (Publication of first draft of “Under Milk Wood”.)
(1984): “Collected Stories”.

Marriage:

1937: 11th July. To Caitlin Macnamara at Penzance Register Office.

Site of Grave:

St. Martin’s Churchyard, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

Places of Interest:

LAUGHARNE:

The Boat House.

SWANSEA:

Birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive.
Cwmdonkin Park.
The Dylan Thomas Collection, Swansea Public Library.
The Dylan Thomas Centre.
The Uplands Hotel. (Uplands Tavern)

Dylan Thomas Centre
The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea (copyright Anthony Blagg)

NEWQUAY:

Dylan Thomas lived at ‘Majoda’, New Quay, Wales from 1944 to 1945. 

Further Information:

Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain Unlimited, c/o Glyn Jenkins, 5 Church Park, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4D6.