Last Known Sketch of Dylan Thomas Donated to Swansea Collection

By March 13, 2017Arty, News, Poetry

One of the last known sketches sat for by Dylan Thomas has been gifted to a collection in Swansea. The sketch was drawn by Welsh-Canadian artist, Gordon Stuart and is the last known art drawn during the poet’s lifetime.

Dylan Thomas sat for the sketch after a chance meeting in Laugharne, where the poet’s famous boathouse and writing shed stand, and was drawn just before Thomas left for New York where he died in 1953.

Stuart gave the sketch to close friend Dr Wyn Gittins of Cross Hands, South Wales, who now lives in Canada, and it’s he who has donated the piece to Swansea Council’s Dylan Thomas Collection, flying into the city especially to present the sketch.

Although connected to Laugharne, Swansea is where Thomas was born and grew up and the city holds a substantial collection of his works, and memorabilia relating to the poet, which they feature at cultural venues across the city and beyond.

Stuart died in 1991, but during his life painted several high profile characters including US President Jimmy Carter, Welsh artist Sir Kyffin Willians, and former rugby international Cliff Morgan.

Those interested in learning more about Dylan Thomas can read a list of books about the author’s life and works here.

Spike Milligan Reads On The Ning Nang Nong

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Spike (Terence Alan Milligan) was born on 16 April 1918 to parents Florence and Captain Leo Milligan. His father was serving in the British Indian Army so Florence gave birth to Spike while living in Ahmednagar, India. Spike grew up as an ‘British army brat’ in Pune and Rangoon, and was educated at various Roman Catholic schools where he learned to play the cornet, cultivating his love for jazz.

During a stint in the services in the 1930s and 40s, Milligan allegedly entertained the troops with his humour and playful nature, and reflected on his times there in his memoirs, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Rommel, Gunner Who?, Monty: My Part in his Victory, among others. 

He is perhaps best known for his part in The Goon Show, an irreverent radio comedy full of nonsense and jollity, but many of us know his nonsense rhyme and poetry we were entertained with as children.

One of his most famous short poems, On The Ning Nang Nong, was voted the ultimate favourite comic poem in 1998 in a UK wide poll. It was streets ahead of other nonsense poets such as Lear or Carroll.  When set to music it became a favourite on Australia’s children’s show Playschool. The Office for Standards in Education (UK) reported that the poem is one of the most commonly taught poems in British primary schools. 

Take a look at the man himself reading the famous rhyme below and see why…

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William Wordsworth The Wordsmith

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England’s most influential Romantic poet was born on the 7th of April in 1770, at Cockermouth in Cumbria, UK. 

William Wordsworth’s parents both died before he turned 15, so he and his siblings were left in the care of their relatives. William developed a love of nature, which was reflected in his many poems, although none were published until 1793. 

Wordsworth and his sister collaborated on ‘Lyrical Ballads’, which was published in 1798. Coleridge contributed ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, which was included in the collection, and marked the start of the ‘Romantic movement’ in English poetry. 

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Listen to Charles Bukowski Discuss His ‘Crappy Life’

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Blank on Blank is an excellent YouTube channel which finds old, obscure, or all but lost interview recordings and puts them to excellent and often surreal animations. The channel features iconic figures from Ayn Rand to Jimi Hendrix and allows the viewer to listen to said figure discuss an important issue or point. From Jim Morrison discussing why he feels fat is beautiful to Jane Goodall on instinct, there are a variety of videos that will give you food for thought. Read More

10 Wise and Beautiful Quotes from Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou (4th April, 1928 – May 28th 2014) was an American poet, memoirist and civil rights activists and one of the most revered writers of the 20th century. The author of seven autobiographies, three books of essays and many poetry books enjoyed a career spanning more than five decades and received dozens of awards during her life.

With so many words to choose from it’s hard to pick our favourite quotes, but we’re going to try as we feature the words of Maya Angelou today. Read More

Poetic Memoir is Winner of Ted Hughes Award 2016

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The winner of the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry has been announced and the 2016 winner is Hollie McNish for her poetic memoir Nobody Told Me.

The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry seeks to recognise excellence in poetry, highlighting outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life. Hollie McNish was presented the award and the £5,000 cash prize, donated by Carol Ann Duffy at an award ceremony. Read More

7 Poetry Verses From Hafez to Awaken Your Heart.

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Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī is know by his pen-name ‘Hafez’ or ‘Hafiz’, meaning ‘memoriser’ or ‘keeper’. The Persian poet, lover, and wine drinker, lived around the 14th century and his works are considered to have much influence over Persian culture.

Hafez’s poetry is lyrical and sumptuous, with much of his poetry dedicated to themes of divine ecstasy, freedom, and love. There is no complete compilation of his poetry, but the number of his writings have been said to almost hit 1000 verses. The first translations into English were done in the late 1700s by William Jones, but as with most poetry it is always better in its original language, as it was meant to be heard.

We will have to make do with the closest translations available, until we learn to read it in Hafez’s own language…

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