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Dylan Thomas has always been one of my favorite poets. As a teenager, I owned the whole Caedmon series of Thomas reading his own verse and that of others, and I played it over and over. Last year marked 100 years since his birth, and this collection of essays is in celebration.
Overall, I was disappointed in the book. Most of the essays covered familiar biographical territory, and none of them were what I would consider literary criticism that would shed light on any of Thomas's poems. I was mildly interested in one essay on plagiarism: when he was very young (12-18), Thomas apparently plagiarized a number of poems that have now been purged from his collected works. Most of them had been printed in children's magazines, and Thomas had made minor changes--the kind of thing my students do with their papers. A few reminiscences of Wales and Thomas's early life were a pleasure to walk through, like a familiar path. I can't, however, recommend the collection to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of Thomas and his work, or to anyone coming newly to his poems.
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