Dylan Thomas was born October 27, 1914, in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales. His father was an English Literature professor, which influenced Thomas from a very young age. Although he was not the strongest student, he loved reading, and simply preferred to explore literature on his own, dropping out of school at age sixteen to become a reporter for the South Wales Evening Post. It was not long before he quit his job to concentrate on writing full time, and in 1934, he moved to London, publishing 18 Poems after he won the Poet’s Corner book prize. The work was highly praised, and showcased a very different style than the customary poetry at the time. Thomas was most interested in creating intense rhythm and sound, as well as conveying emotion, rather than making a stand on political or social issues.
As Thomas’ career began to thrive, his use of alcohol also increased. In 1937, he married Caitlin Mcnamara, and the two lived in London until 1944, when they moved to Laugharne. Beginning in 1950, Thomas made four trips to the United States for reading tours, and did much to bolster poetry’s popularity throughout the country with his passionate and theatrical interpretations. In 1952, Thomas published In Country Sleep and Collected Poems, the former containing one of his most notable poems, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”
On his final trip to the states, Dylan Thomas collapsed in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City after drinking at the White Horse Tavern. He died on November 9, 1953. Although there is debate among critics as to whether Thomas’ work belongs with the likes of contemporaries T.S. Elliot and W.H. Auden, he remains widely popular both in the United States and England. A plaque in Poet’s Corner is dedicated to Thomas in Westminster Abbey.