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Book reviews for "Thomas,_Dylan" sorted by average review score:

A Child's Christmas in Wales
Published in Hardcover by David R Godine (1998)
Authors: Dylan Thomas and Edward Ardizzone
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A Christmas classic in homes throughout the world.
Dylan Thomas made hours of recordings of his poems, stories and plays, but none of them is as endearingly personal as this distillation of his childhood Christmases in Swansea. And his performance is unforgettable. Put a log on the fire, and let Thomas's rich, deep voice take you straight to the heart of a child's Christmas.

An old tradition
Growing up, my father had a copy of the original vinyl recording of this from the 1950's. Every Christmas it came out and was played, and now I can't think of Christmas without it. After being unavailable for decades, I'm delighted to see this record once again available. Few people know that Dylan Thomas gained fame in his lifetime as a radio personality, and the dry, droll voice of his takes his fantastic prose and breathes a life into it that the simple words themselves cannot demonstrate. A classic, recommended to all.

Part of a Christmas tradition.
Every Christmas Eve, I set aside a few minutes to listen to my CD of Dylan reading "A Child's Christmas" in Wales, placing the special emphasis only he can on the frustrated Mr. Prothero trying to put out a fire in his house, the neighborhood St. Bernards who bellow "Excelsior!" over the town, and the churchgoers who, with taproom noses, go scooping over the ice. The older I get, the more I need this little piece. As friends and family are, for one reason or another, lost with the passing years, it gets harder and harder to laugh, even at Christmas, but Dylan Thomas gives me a good giggle every time.

The Collected Stories
Published in Paperback by New Directions Publishing (1986)
Authors: Dylan Thomas, Daniel Jones, and Leslie Norris
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Annoyingly? Who Goofed?
"Annoyingly" this page is devoted to the stories of Dylan Thomas; also"annoyingly", both the Publishers Weekly review as well as that of a disgrunted reader refer stories by Leslie Norris; Norris' book may be splendid; I don't know; I have read Dylan's stories and honor and love them (they are live things wearing incandescent prose -- believe me); perhaps Amazon could reassign the aforementioned reviews and those of us who -- on this page at least -- have (happily) written about the appropriate book will be left to bask unannoyed.

Leslie Norris Short Stories (Not Dylan Thomas!)
Annoyingly, both of the reviews already posted on this page for the "Collected Stories" of Welsh writer Leslie Norris refer to the "Collected Stories" of Welsh writer Dylan Thomas, which Leslie Norris designed but did not (obviously) write. This review, then, is an actual review of Leslie Norris' "Collected Stories"!

Leslie Norris's collected stories are a sort of bittersweet beauty very much in the Joycean tradition (think especially of "Dubliners"). They begin with some sort of pivotal moment at which confusion either enters into or peaks in the protagonist's young life, and they end with an epiphany that seems sweetly to keep the bitter at bay, but knows that the respite is at best only temporary.

Also a poet (see his "Collected Poems" as well), like fellow Welshman Thomas, Norris's language is simple but fresh, and sumptuous when necessary, a prose tone perfectly in step with the state of his protagonists. Often (if not always), they are young boys on the brink of a knowledge that will disillusion them and send them closer to the concerns of adulthood.

In "Sliding," an accident during an afternoon of sliding across a frozen pond upsets a group of boys, their first initiation into the idea of impermanence. In "Kingfisher," a boy, who has just been with his father to visit his dying grandmother, sees in the garden the dead body of a bird that he and his father had only that morning watched together; in a moment of suddenly adult consciousness, he takes it upon himself to conceal the bad news of mortality from his father. In "Shaving," one of my faves from the collection, an athlete in the full strength of youth returns triumphant from the rugby field to shave his ailing father, who, in the full fading of disease, is too weak to shave himself.

This volume collects Norris's previous two (unfortunately long out-of-print) books, "Sliding" and "The Girl from Cardigan," putting them together with a few new stories in book form for the first time.

Norris excels at awakening emotion, but is subtle enough and careful enough not to hit you over the head with the hammer of sentimentality. If you appreciate and enjoy fiction that looks at those moments that we all know, where we begin to feel ourselves a part of the knowledge that life ends up teaching everyone sooner or later, then this book is a terrific buy.

Prose poems perhaps
Was Dylan thomas the consummate craftsman? Indeed, he was; and took real delight in his gifts and his exercise of them; he was a Celtic bard in the truest sense of that role -- the lonely public/private man who carried within him the lyric history of his race, the love of his language and a very vocal sense of wonder over his role in life; that he had song, yes; that he was funny, loud, boisterous, cautious, selfish, rude, unforgettable -- all of that and more; he was the poet's poet and the singer for those who longed for lost boyhood, who raged at death and who marvelled at the all the world's words rediscovered in a dewdrop; his stories, like his poems, should be read aloud; there is an incantatory quality to them -- as if something profoundly old and grandfatherly were suddenly shared with the reader; Thomas himself was a great reader; to hear him is to savor him at his best and to feel deeply and sweetly the majesty and holy compulsion of our mother tongue; the stories, while less charged than the poems, nonetheless captivate and break into a kind of lyricism that gladdens the heart and restores the ear. If he wasn't the best of our poets, he was easily the most tuneful and spoke from a very deep place that only the purest of us can truly know.

Dylan Thomas Reads
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Mesmerizing and moving
Dylan Thomas, in spite of all the hype and misinformation and gossip, still looms larger than almost any other Twentieth Century poet (only Sylvia Plath and e.e. cummings, perhaps, are comparable). And this is all the more amazing when one considers how actually small the total of his output was. To listen to him read his poetry, though, is a profound experience. His reading of "Lament", one of his greatest poems (in my opinion), is riveting. The cadence of his rich voice, with his Welsh accent and sonorous vowels, reveling in the sheer sounds and the multifarious allusions in the meaning, is unforgettable. Now if they can remaster and issue it on CD---! But it's worth suffering the technical crudities of the recording to hear this great poet and equally great reciter.

Listening to Dylan Thomas gives you some idea what he must have been like - on those late nights at the White Horse Tavern. These tapes of Thomas are brilliant.

A Child's Christmas in Wales and Five Poems/Unabridged/Cassette
Published in Hardcover by HarperAudio (1992)
Author: Dylan Thomas
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A little boy growing up in Wales
A Child's Christmas in Wales is an excellent book. A well made classic. I recieved the book at Christmas time and I read it. It soon became my favorite book. My davorite part is when he pretends he is smoking with candy cigarettes and everyone loks at him disgusted when they walk by. And even though the e-mail says Ralph, thats my dad and I'm Laura Johnson.

Collected Poems 1934-1953 (Everyman's Library)
Published in Paperback by Orion Publishing Co (09 November, 1989)
Authors: Dylan Thomas, Walford Davies, and Ralph Maud
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2 more poems
This "collected poems 1934-1953" has 2 poems that "collected poems 1934-1952" (which has all poems Dylan himself wished to be included at that time, 1952) doesn't have: "In Country Heaven" and "Elegy". Former was intended by him to be included in some future collection and latter, this is the last, but unfinished poem Dylan ever wrote.

Dylan Thomas in America
Published in Paperback by Little Brown & Co (Pap) (1971)
Author: J. M. Brinnin
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Excellent supplemental reading for the study of Dylan Thomas
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas made history in his poetry readings to an American audience in 1950: his style and presentation went beyond most academic presentations of poetry and entered the realm of the personal. This provides a biography of Thomas which is key to understanding his works and experiences in this country, and will make for excellent supplemental reading for those studying his writings.

Eight Stories (The New Directions Bibelots - Includes: The End of The River, The School for Witches, The Peaches, Just Like Little Dogs, Old Garbo, One Warm Saturday, Plenty of Furniture, The Followers)
Published in Paperback by New Directions Publishing (1993)
Author: Dylan Thomas
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"I , in my intricate image..."
It started with his poetry when I was in high school. Imediately, I was spellbound. Then I found this collection of short stories. I cannot stop reading. I love every aspect of his "craft or sullen art." When I read his works, I feel a kind of longing and comfort. The stories in this collection were taken from books that were already published, and after reading these stories, I want to read everything Dylan Thomas ever wrote. When I see his picture, I sense a bond between him and I. I see the little boy, I see the young man; I know them. Dylan Thomas' type of writing is something all writers want to achieve. His words are completely private and honest. He is an imortal legacy.

Collected Poems : Dylan Thomas
Published in Hardcover by Orion Publishing Co (01 April, 1966)
Author: Thomas
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Dylan Thomas is an Amazing Poet
Until recently, I had only heard of Dylan Thomas but after reading this book and various poems of his, he has quickly become one of my all time favorites! I read this book because for my honors english course at Syracuse University, I was assigned a presentation about Dylan Thomas. I feel that this book is an excellent way for people to learn more about Thomas and his poetry, I feel that it is a very well put together piece. I thouroughy enjoyed it.

The Greatest Poems of the Greatest Poet
The lyrical genius of Dylan Thomas is unsurpassed in all of poetry. Dickinson, T.S. Elliot and a few others come close, but none has ever duplicated the beauty of 'Fern Hill' or the somber, mysterious grace of 'A Winters Tale'. Read his poems over and over.

The verses are like spells that bind you.
Dylan Thomas wrote his verse in extremely strict forms that he himself devised, employing rhyme (though mostly slant rhyme) and the more subtle effects of assonance in the formalist tradition, exercising the rigorous control and discipline also inherent in that tradition, although his skilled use of repetition (e.g., "And Death Shall Have No Dominion", "Fern Hill", and, of course, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night") and his lines of varying, though strictly determined, length (as in "Fern Hill" and "Poem in October") achieve the musical qualities to which free verse aspires. In this way, Dylan Thomas represents the pinnacle of the formalists' craft and art, respecting, but not becoming bound by, the rules and metrics of tradition. Instead, he created his own rules and forms, to which he adhered with incredible strictness: his syllabic poems like "Fern Hill" are even more rigorous than the iambic line, which allows some freedom in the placement or substitution of other metrical feet. But DT's syllabic verse, though strict, does not govern the stresses in each line, allowing the natural rhythms of the language and phrases to flow, and the stresses to fall where they will, resulting in an incredible lyricism. Yet, DT also employed a regular meter when the building emphasis was needed, as in the anapestic final line of "Fern Hill": "Oh, as I was young and easy, in the mercy of his means,/Time held me green and dying,/Though I sang in my chains like the sea." That means/sea assonance demonstrates the subtle resonance that permeates his work, analogous to the final couplet in a sonnet. "Fern Hill" is music itself, but also meaning: the Welsh name "Dylan" means "the sea", and that final line is Dylan Thomas's signature on his own painterly-musical portrait of a place from his childhood. His best work ("Fern Hill", "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", "And Death Shall Have No Dominion", "In My Craft, or Sullen Art", and "Poem in October") more than makes up for his less accessible, less lyrical verse (e.g., "A Grief Ago"). The inspiration that the New Apocalypse group and the Beats drew from him--from his poems and his stage presence--probably annoyed him, and certainly the poets in the Movement, which formed in reaction against the New Apocalypse, were even more annoyed, but Robert Conquest, who, along with Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Jennings, and Kingsley Amis, established the principles of the Movement poets in the New Lines anthology, has stated that he has always admired Thomas's finest works. In fact, the Movement's manifesto, published in New Lines, was thought of as too harsh by Larkin, leaving Kingsley Amis as one of Dylan Thomas's only absolute detractors. But many other poets, such as Theodore Roethke, Richard Hugo, and John Berryman, regarded Thomas as a master. The Collected Poems are uneven and at times erratic and obscure, but the brilliance of his words, their music and their magic, cannot be denied. His verse, as disciplined as that of Richard Wilbur, yet in a different way, is verse that rages, unlike Wilbur's elegant and elegaic poems: Richard Wilbur is the bright air, Dylan Thomas the brilliant fire. And yet he is not always in a bardic transport: the blinding whirlwind of his poem "Author's Prologue" is the opposite of the subdued, mixed feelings of hope and grief in "Poem in October", a work of restraint. Thomas himself lamented the fact that his verse would most likely be read, not by real people who live and struggle and die, but by pedantic academics, like the old men in Yeats's "The Scholars". As said in his poem, "In My Craft or Sullen Art", his poems are his letters to you:

"...Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages,

Nor for the towering dead,

With their nightingales and psalms,

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages,

Nor heed my craft or art."

The Collected Stories
Published in Paperback by W.W. Norton & Company (1986)
Author: Dylan Thomas
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Fascinating Book
A superbly written insider's look at the Russian revolution. Babel can convey the horrors of war with very few words. I enjoyed the best his sarcastic treatement of the bombastic communist rhetoric in such stories as "Salt" and "Treason" (maybe because I was exposed to it myself at one time).

The excellence of understatement
I stumbled across Isaac Babel because of a single line quoted in Paul Johnson's "History of the Jews". And then I was forever hooked.

First, a caveat. Be sure you understand when reading Babel's short stories that you are not reading his autobiography or journal. He did in fact listen to our creative writing teachers; he wrote what he knew. He knew the Russian revolution. He knew the Cossacks. He knew war. He knew living inside and outside the pale. His world jumps off the page because he lived it first.

The stories contain autobiographical material, actively mixed with the yeast of fiction. Use this aspect of his writing to chase rabbits. Follow up this book with his biography or find out more about the Russian revolution. Both of those topics will make more sense after reading his collected stories.

As a writer, I stand in awe of Babel's stingy use of words. Some scenes are so hugely horrible that I would have been tempted to throw in appropriate adverbs and adjectives in an attempt to convince you, my reader, just how hugely horrible it really was. Babel simply tells the story, and you gasp when you are done, horrified when you peak through the keyhole (and I would have blasted a hole in the wall).

When you read Babel, you must be willing to go at the stories with an open mind, not expecting him to flatten the Commies, defend the Jews, or paint the picture the way you want him to. He will not do that, no matter how many times you try to make it so. You will hear no overtones of right or wrong, get no definitive answers about the people on either side of the Russian revolution.

For that, I am most grateful to Isaac Babel. Nothing about our world can be easily distilled into sharp black and white. His stories give us the real world in astounding color.

Staggeringly powerful, beautifully written
The frightfully ugly picture on the cover of this edition (what in the world were the publishers thinking?) might keep a lot of people away, but the few brave souls that look inside will find one of the great 20th century craftsmen of prose. I can't think of another writer than chooses his words more carefully, that can pack more into a single sentence. "Pierced by the flashes of the bombardment, night arches over the dying man." Single words can take your breath away - the choice of "arches" is the one that does it for me - but you'll probably have others. The brutality of the world he describes may seem foreign, but it never becomes oppressive, mainly because the writing is so good. The stories themselves are rather difficult to love - there is very little hope to latch on to, there are very few characters one can feel close to; there are very few real characters at all, except the narrator. Even under these horrific circumstances, though, Babel creates emotions than one can identify with - pride, love, lust, anger. He has a thorough understanding of human character. It is apparent that the circumstances of war don't create new emotions, they just amplify things we feel anyway.

This book is a necessary read for anyone that wants to learn how to write poetically without being florid, compress pages of description into a few words. This compression is one of the reasons that the stories stay in mind long after they've been read. Buy the book - or get the other edition in a used book store, so you don't have to look at that awful picture.

Adventures in the Skin Trade
Published in Paperback by New Directions Publishing (1969)
Author: Dylan Thomas
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