The BBC are making a great fuss about Dylan Thomas’ centenary. Well, he is their sort of poet: a sort of confused flashiness which causes innocent readers – in Thomas’ and the BBC’s case, more likely to be hearers – a great deal of excitement. C.H. Sisson says of him, “Words are hurled around in a way which does not make much sense, and the confusion is attributed to poetic force. He was boring. A creator of deliberate wonders.” I think we should take Thomas at his own self-assessment: “I’m a freak user of words, not a poet.” The harbinger of much subsequent pretentiousness. One of his most admired stanzas is:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Upon which fatuity D.J. Enright comments gloriously: “Like saying, ‘Now father, pull yourself together, get out of bed and stomp around the bedroom even if it kills you!’”
So much fuss about…well, Llareggub really.