Biography of Famous Alcoholic and Poet Dylan Thomas

About the famous British poet and alcoholic Dylan Thomas, about his struggle with the disease.

DYLAN THOMAS (1914-1953). Welsh poet.

Dylan Thomas was born in Wales, worked briefly as a journalist, and after W. W. II devoted his full energies to poetry, receiving worldwide acclaim. A critical review of his work stated: ". . . with imagery that derives both from the ages-old, peaceful fishing villages of his home and the world of 20th-century man, his work has a force and vitality that has affected the whole world of letters."

Thomas made 4 lecture tours of the U.S., attracting wide attention for his brilliant dramatic readings and for his legendary self-destructive drinking bouts. "His tour was a fantasy of missed appearances, muddled appointments, drunken binges, boorish behavior--and beauty," wrote Upton Sinclair.

John Brinnin, who chronicled Thomas's tours in Dylan Thomas in America, said of his 1st trip: "The purest lyrical poet of the 20th century . . . here he was, sadly crumpled in drunken exhaustion, black-tongued and tipsy . . . unable to think for himself, to face himself, or to face for what they were, the insatiable attentions that could only destroy him."

Doctors told Thomas that to continue to drink was to die, but he drank on. "Do not go gentle into that good night," he wrote. "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." He died suddenly of acute alcoholism in the midst of his 1953 U.S. lecture tour, at the age of 39.

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