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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Collection.
This is a wonderful collection of poems by one of the foremost writers of the twentieth century, now, alas, no longer with us. His poems range from his early fascination with the Welsh landscape, through poems reflecting on his life as a parish priest in the Anglican church in Welsh country parishes, to a later, remarkable questioning of the whole meaning of faith, God...
Published on 26 Nov 2000 by C. M. Mcintosh

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0 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Man's Ted Hughes
I bought this collection of poetry on the strength of one I read on the inner sleeve of a Manic Street Preacher's album only to find that like them it started off promising and headed downhill fast!
There's a large amount of poetry here devoted to the beauty of the Welsh countyside and the strength of its people but they lack the fire and immediacy of works by Ted...
Published on 23 Nov 2002


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Collection., 26 Nov 2000
By 
C. M. Mcintosh "Chris McIntosh" (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is a wonderful collection of poems by one of the foremost writers of the twentieth century, now, alas, no longer with us. His poems range from his early fascination with the Welsh landscape, through poems reflecting on his life as a parish priest in the Anglican church in Welsh country parishes, to a later, remarkable questioning of the whole meaning of faith, God and life. In his very latest poems he wrote movingly of his marriage and the death of his first wife. Throughout his poems the voice is strong and utterly distinctive - nowhere more so than when describing his "deus absconditus" - the god who is never quite within reach of our questioning. This is a book I would not be without.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the twentieth century's greatest poets, 10 Jan 2004
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J. P. Whittaker "Jay" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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R.S.Thomas was probably the greatest miniaturist of all twentieth century poets. He could write with greater profundity and insight in eight lines than most poets manage in eighty. Not all his poems are that short, of course. He was a Welsh priest who celebrated the lives of Welsh peasant farmers and other parishioners whom he had seen through birth, life, marriage, death. As time went on his range broadened, and more and more he wrestled with the elusive God at the corner of his vision; a half-glimpsed presence, or even an absence, that nevertheless he was drawn to, that gave shape to his vision of life.
He was both fascinated and appalled by modern science and technology; codifying it as, 'the machine' he often wrote of its dehumanising and destructive effect.
But there are also poems that are fascinating commentaries on paintings seen in European museums; poems about his marriage; poems about England's role in the economic and cultural problems Wales has faced.
Thomas was honest, unsentimental, profound and modern. Anyone who relishes the power of poetry to move and transform us should read his work.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Poet - Excellent value collection, 10 Nov 2001
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John David Charles Hilton "Creative spark...." (Redcliffe, Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Ronald Stuart Thomas is one of the few commercially successful poets of the late twentieth century. His early work has tended to be more popular than his later, more fragile work, but his honesty and directness shines through all of his poems. His later work reflects his doubts about God, something that was a big issue for him, him being a member of the Anglican Clergy. But his poems reach out to all, with their environmental and personal concerns, as well as his lamenting his departed wife. This volume lacks an introduction, but shear amount of poems within, and the amazing price, make this an excellent buy for all interested in English poems.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time will be kind to Thomas, but this edition has had its time: update required!!!, 5 Dec 2011
First a note on the poetry: all the above five star reviews have said it far better than I can. It's enough to say that if you hear the words "20th century welsh poetry" and immediately think Dylan Thomas, then you need to read this man, who is absolutely no relation. RS Thomas is one of the greats from the 20th century, and his reputation will only grow further in time.

It's said that around the time of his death that RS Thomas was being considered for the Nobel Prize. Take a look at this edition and it's easy to see why: he had an unflinching poetic vision, time and again returning to the biggest of themes, such as politics, our destiny as individuals, our destiny as a species, God, religion and so on. Make no mistake here: Thomas is a very, very weighty poet indeed. In fact I can't really read too many of these in a sitting without my head spinning. It's not so much that his poetry is a series of bitter yet necessary pills to be swallowed, but rather (and like hearing someone like Noam Chomsky speak) you know that you're in the presence of someone who is feeding you vital, perspective-altering information. What's more, Thomas had the ability to say so much in his own hard, terse way. Sometimes I wonder whether he was two parts fire and brimstone preacher and one part zen master.

My only gripe with this collection is that- as the title implies- it's now 21 years old and counting (published 1993; accounting for verse up to 90). The great man has been dead some years now, so I'm sure whoever holds the copyrights and administers the estate can get it together and re-release this book in updated form. In the meantime, don't stint on buying this: rather than going for a watered-down "Selected" edition, go the whole hog and get this plus any post-1990 works you can get second hand. Like Yeats, Thomas produced sterling work right until the very end and his later work repays the effort put into reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 6 Dec 2011
By 
Mr. Edward Gregory "Ed G" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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nothing much to say. If you get only one Thomas poetry book, get this one.
Superb. Undoubtedly one of the greatest 20thC poets.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great poet, excellent collection, 9 Sep 2010
By 
Stephen Hudson "Steve Hudson" (Keynsham) - See all my reviews
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In his long career as a poet, RS Thomas found constant inspiration in the bleakness, space and simplicity of Welsh rural life. He describes stark Welsh landscapes that reluctantly give up a living to families of grim peasants who have been betrayed by their own people and exploited by the philistine English.

Thomas will not be to everyone's taste. His depictions of the countryside, and the Welsh archetypes within it, are pitiless and harsh, sometimes past the point of unwitting comedy (for instance in `Meet the Family' with the parents "whose forced complicity gave life to each loathed foetus" - lighten up, Ronnie, for god's sake). His nationalism is often blinkered and intolerant. His sense of humour is sparse, dry and usually noticeable by its absence.

But I recognise RS Thomas's Wales in a way that I don't recognise the Wales of Dylan Thomas. His affection for the Welsh rural poor is understated, touching and sincere. His descriptions are often hauntingly beautiful. Fragments of these poems always spring to mind when I travel through Wales, for instance the wonderful "The Chapel", every time I pass one of the thousands of forgotten grey chapels that litter the roadsides of rural Wales.

You'd be unlikely to mistake Thomas for one of the Chuckle Brothers, but he certainly was a spare, brilliant poet. I live in England now and this book makes me miss Wales terribly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Collected Poems: 1945-1990 R.S.Thomas (Everyman's Poetry) (Kindle Edition)
Fascinating overview of the majority of published work.
Thought provoking - if the reader is prepared to put in some effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 15 Jan 2014
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One of my favourite poets and this book is my favourite.
I have been told R S Thomas is an acquired taste but do try; beware you may become hooked!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking poetry., 22 Nov 2013
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These poems are so spiritual and meaningful. I cannot believe that I have not read his poetry before. Some are quite difficult, but most are easy to. Understand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 18 Nov 2013
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It seems it's hard to find books of RS Thomas' poems, so I'm glad I came across this. His works are beautiful and it's a shame his poems aren't more popular in England. This is a wonderful collection.
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