Project details

This prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fellowship, worth £86,000, will enable Professor John Goodby to visit holdings of Dylan Thomas manuscripts in US university libraries in Buffalo, N.Y. and Austin, Texas among other locations.  

Professor Goodby has published the first full-length study of Thomas’s poetry to appear since the 1960s.  The Poetry of Dylan Thomas: Under the Spelling Wall was published on 31 July 2013 with Liverpool University Press. 

Both works aim to re-interpret Dylan Thomas in an early twenty-first century context.  Unlike the ninety-one poems of the last edition of Thomas, the new edition will include roughly 160 poems.  The new edition will also present the poems in chronological order of composition, allowing readers to trace Thomas’s development. 

Thomas’s anticipation of the perils of celebrity in his own early death are part of what made him a favourite of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and film and rock stars such as Cerys Matthews and George Clooney (who recites ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ in full in his film Solaris).  Significantly, he was the first poet to work in all the broadcast and recording media of his time – radio, film, LP and television – and his unique status as a difficult poet, who nevertheless has mass appeal, has made him an enduring cultural icon. 

Dylan Thomas

Professor Goodby on the project

John Goodby is a Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and an international expert on Dylan Thomas.  

“Dylan Thomas is a poet who speaks to the present in a vivid way, informing contemporary mainstream and the avant-garde poetry.  Although some literary critics have tended to obscure this over the last thirty years – Thomas is currently neglected in academia – to the reading public Thomas has always been an important poet.  His unique status as a cultural icon is part of what interests me.  Thomas’s poetry was more translated than that of any other English language poet of the twentieth century apart from T. S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas societies flourish as far afield as the USA, Canada, Japan, Poland and Australia.

At the moment, a reader who wants to access all of Thomas’s poems requires no less than six volumes; my new edition will collect the poems published in journals, or which appear in letters and short stories, as well as the film script in verse, Our Country, and bring them together for the first time in a single volume.”