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Dylan Thomas

Dylan Marlais Thomas, (October 27, 1914, Swansea - November 9, 1953, New York City) was a Welsh poet and writer.

Born in Swansea, in South Wales, Thomas' father David, who was a writer and possessed a degree in English, brought his son up to speak English rather than Dylan's mother's native Welsh. His middle name, "Marlais", came from the bardic name of his uncle, the Unitarian minister, Gwilym Marles (real name William Thomas).

Dylan's childhood was spent largely in Swansea, with regular summer trips to visit his mother's family on their Carmarthen[?] farm. These rural sojourns, and their contrast with the town life of Swansea, would inform much of his work, notably many short stories and radio essays and the poem Fern Hill.

Dylan Thomas is widely considered one of the greatest 20th century poets writing in English, frequently mentioned alongside Frost, Yeats, and T S Eliot in lists of the century's most important poets. He remains the leading figure in Anglo-Welsh literature.

He is particularly remembered for the remarkable radio-play Under Milk Wood[?] and for his poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," which is generally interpreted as a plea to his dying father to hold onto life.

He collapsed at the Hotel Chelsea after drinking heavily while in New York City on a promotional tour and later died at St Vincent's hospital. Following his death, his body was brought back to Wales for burial in the village churchyard at Laugharne, Pembrokeshire[?], where he had enjoyed his happiest days. In 1994, his widow, Caitlin, was buried alongside him. Their former home, the Boat House, Laugharne[?], is now a memorial to Dylan.

There are many memorials to Dylan Thomas in his home town of Swansea, including a statue in the maritime quarter, the Dylan Thomas Theatre, and the Dylan Thomas Centre. The latter building, formerly the Guildhall, was opened by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, one of Thomas's most famous fans, following its conversion. It is now a literature centre, where exhibitions and lectures are held, and is the setting for the city's annual Dylan Thomas Festival.

Another monument to Thomas stands in Cwmdonkin Park, close to his birthplace; this was one of his favourite childhood haunts. The memorial is inscribed with lines from what is probably his best-known poem, Fern Hill. Several of the pubs in Swansea also have associations with the poet.

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