- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Orion; New edition edition (15 Mar. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1842124552
- ISBN-13: 978-1842124550
- Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 4.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,390,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Collected Poems: 1945-1990 R.S.Thomas: Collected Poems : R S Thomas Paperback – 15 Mar 2001
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"'Read these poems', Stephen Spender; 'This is the book I've been waiting for', Ted Hughes"
The complete works of one of Britain's finest, introduced by Andrew Motion.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful book of poetry which describes Wales and Welsh villages, people and countryside beautifully.Published 11 months ago by Malcolm White
I'm a fan of RS Thomas's writing, so this is a valued collection. Highly recommended. "The Bright Field" repays repeated reading.Published 12 months ago by Andrew Judge
Lovely collection of poems. Many hours of reflection and enjoyment. Read some at university so nice to immerse myself once more!Published 17 months ago by lbwatts
again not read all the poems but enjoyed the ones that I have readPublished on 15 Aug. 2014 by elizabeth
Fascinating overview of the majority of published work.
Thought provoking - if the reader is prepared to put in some effort.
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!
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.Published on 22 Nov. 2013 by diana skellern
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. Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2013 by Amazon Customer