Do not go gently into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas from “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night”.
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914 in Swansea, Wales. He was the son of D.J. Thomas, a grammar school English teacher with poetic ambitions.
Dylan Thomas published his first poem in 1925, it was called The Song of the Mischevious Dog.
After leaving school in 1931, Thomas worked as a reporter for The South Wales Evening Post. In 1933, he joined the Swansea Little Theatre as an actor. In 1934, the same year his first book of poems, 18 poems was published, he moved to London. In 1936, his second book of poems was published. It was called 25 poems.
In 1936, he met his wife Caitlin. According to the artist Augustus John, who was a friend of Caitlin’s father, Caitlin was staying with him when “one day we picked up Dylan somewhere. It was easy to see that these two instantly fell for each other.” The two were married in July of 1937 and moved to Laugharne, Wales.
In 1939, his third book of poems and prose, The Map of Love, was published. His first son, Llewelyn was also born that year. From 1940, until the end of World War II, Thomas worked at Strand Films with a documentary film unit. In 1940, his collection of short stories and autobiographical vignettes, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog was published. His daughter, Aeronwy Bryn, was born in 1943. In 1946, Death and entrances was published. In 1949, his son, Colm Garan Hart, was born. In 1952, Collected Poems, 1934-1952 was published. In 1953, The doctor and the devils, was published.
On November 9th, 1953, Dylan Thomas collapsed while on a speaking tour of the US. He died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City from what is assumed to be alcohol poisoning; Dylan Thomas had been a heavy drinker for much of his life. He was buried in Laugharne, Wales; his gravesite has a simple cross. When his wife, Caitlin, died in 1994, she was buried beside him.
Quite a few collections of his poems and other writings were released posthumously. In 1954, his radio play Under Milk Wood was published, as was Quite early one morning. In 1955, A Child’s Christmas in Wales (a short story) was published.
In 1957, Caitlin Thomas wrote a memoir of their lives together entitled Leftover Life to Kill.