When the celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas arrived in New York on his first visit in 1950, for a tour of poetry readings around the country, America didn't know what had hit it. Angelic, devilish, immoral, charming, self-destructive, given to alcoholic binges, he was not what the sober world of American academe had expected. Students loved him- ...Read MoreWhen the celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas arrived in New York on his first visit in 1950, for a tour of poetry readings around the country, America didn't know what had hit it. Angelic, devilish, immoral, charming, self-destructive, given to alcoholic binges, he was not what the sober world of American academe had expected. Students loved him--although after his first few encounters with them, the girls had to be protected. And he made quick friends with countless American writers, journalists, and barflies, instantly creating a pop-culture mythology of the doomed artist for the late 20th century. The man who was Thomas' patron and guide was the young poet John Malcolm Brinnin, who watched horrified--though utterly beguiled by the poet's charm and genius--at Thomas' slow descent into hell. This is his harrowing account of the poet's tragic last years.Read Less
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I really enjoyed this book. It is a first-hand account of the famed Welsh poet's seemingly deliberate self-destruction. The book chronicles his trips to America, and follows Thomas through exhilerating highs and devastating lows. While at times the poet seems to love life, at others he seems bent on destroying himself through drink and debauchery. The reader will wish she/he had been there to do something to help the poet see some light.
However, at least one other book has accused Brinnin of not telling the truth about Thomas's death - or at least, not the whole truth. I am anxious to read "Who Killed Dylan Thomas?" so as to compare Brinnin's often self-centered testimony with the newer book's implication that Brinnin could have done more for Thomas than he did, and in fact more-or-less blames him for the poet's death.
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