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Uncollected Poems Paperback – 29 Mar 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (29 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852248963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852248963
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Gathered in from far and wide, and chronicling sixty years of austere devotion to language, these poems remind us that brevity was for R.S. Thomas ever the soul of passion, and unnerving honesty his guarantor of truth. Bitter elegies for the "botched land" of Wales and baffled encounters with "the incorrigibly human" here keep company with jeremiads for his civilisation and the sound of one hand clapping for his God. But, most touchingly for this laureate of loneliness, there are also occasional gentle, shy poems of love, even in old age: "Come to me a moment, stand,/ Ageing yet lovely still,/ At my side..." --Professor M. Wynn Thomas

The centenary of Thomas's birth affords an opportunity to rediscover one of Wales's greatest poets. Many of the 139 "lost" poems here address the clergyman's persistent themes: his country; his elusive God; landscape and the characters who seem to grow out of it. The most poignant lines are on love - often lost or stifled, but quietly celebrated. --Maria Crawford, Financial Times, Summer Books Guide

The publication of 139 "lost" poems...offers refreshed perspectives on a Welshman who wrote his poetry in English...These "uncollected" poems also illustrate the range of Thomas's work: his precise imagery; his prophetic anger as the natural world is threatened by "the machine" and his fierce identity as a Welsh person... --Dr Martyn Halsall, Church Times

About the Author

R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) is one of the major poets of our time, as well as one of the finest religious poets in the English language and Wales s greatest poet. He published over 50 books of poetry and prose. Most of his poems from his first 50 years of writing are in Collected Poems 1945-1990 (Phoenix Press), while the poems from his last five collections are included in Collected Later Poems (2004) from Bloodaxe. His Penguin Selected Poems is a curious selection drawing on both his Collecteds. His Uncollected Poems, edited by Tony Brown and Jason Walford Davies (Bloodaxe Books, 2013), selects previously published but uncollected poems included in none of his other published books.

Born in Cardiff, the son of a sea captain, Thomas moved with his family in 1918 to Holyhead on Anglesey. He was awarded a bursary in 1932 to study at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, where he read Classics. In 1936, having completed his theological training at St Michael's College, Llandaff, he was ordained as a priest in the Church in Wales. From 1936 to 1940 he was the curate of Chirk, Denbighshire, where he met his future wife, Mildred (Elsi) Eldridge, an English artist. He subsequently became curate at Tallarn Green, Flintshire. They married in 1940 and remained together until her death in 1991. He married his second wife Betty in 1996.

From 1942 to 1954 Thomas was rector at Manafon, in rural Montgomeryshire. It was during his time at Manafon that he first began to study Welsh and that he published his first three volumes of poetry. He learnt the Welsh language at the age of 30, too late in life, he said, to be able to write poetry in it, although he did write and publish memoirs in Welsh. In his later years he worked in predominantly Welsh-speaking communities at Eglwys-fach and Aberdaron. He retired from the Church in 1978, and afterwards lived on Anglesey.

He won several awards, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1964. In 1996 he won the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award for Poetry and the Horst Bienek Prize for Poetry. He was also nominated for the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature (awarded to Seamus Heaney).

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