(In the Beginning – olio su tela di Gianpiero Actis)
DYLAN THOMAS AND ITALY
Tribute to one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century
at the conclusion of the celebrations organized
for the centenary of his birth
a project by “Il Luogo delle Arti” and “Immagine & Poesia”
In the beginning was the three-pointed star,
One smile of light across the empty face . . .
Alberto Geisser Library, Torino
Wednesday, March 25 6 pm – free admission –
Manrico Murzi: poet
Massimo Trombi (Libreria La torre di Abele)
Anna Maria Bracale Ceruti, Luisa Paglieri (Associazione Il Luogo delle Arti)
Lidia Chiarelli, Rosalba Vacis, Maria Fiorenza Verde (Associazione Immagine & Poesia)
Cristina Codazza: voice artist
paintings by Gianpiero Actis e Davide Binello
acknowledgments for comments and messages:
OXFORD: Hannah Ellis (grand-daughter of Dylan Thomas, President of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain)
SWANSEA: Peter Thabit Jones (Welsh poet and dramatist, author – with Aeronwy Thomas – of “The Dylan Thomas Walking Tour of Greenwich Village”), Jo Furber (Literature Officer - Dylan Thomas Centre), Anne Haden (Expert on Dylan Thomas), Ceri Thomas (Curator, Art Historian and Artist)
NEW YORK: Stanley H. Barkan, Poet/Publisher, Cross-Cultural Communications, NY
grand-daughter of Dylan Thomas, President of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain
Peter Thabit Jones
Welsh poet and dramatist, author – with Aeronwy Thomas – of
The Dylan Thomas Walking Tour of Greenwich Village
To achieve, in his words, ‘the colour of saying’, Dylan Thomas would sometimes produce as many as two hundred drafts of one individual poem, handwritten too, in order to ‘build a bellowing ark’. As he states in his poem In my craft or sullen art, ‘I labour by singing light’. The key word, of course, is labour. He told an American student in 1951, ‘I am a painstaking, conscientious, involved and devious craftsman in words’.
The result of such an approach is often a symphonic quality that seems to be plugged in, like an electric plug put into a socket, into the very life-forces of nature and existence. As the critic John Bayley pointed out in his book The Romantic Survival, which was published in 1957, four years after the death of Dylan Thomas, ‘the sensation that we are being assaulted by something more than words’.
Thomas’s obsessive approach to sound-texturing can lead to a density that more than matches the almost clinically constructed ‘tunes’ of the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. Dylan Thomas, whilst not formally studying cynghanedd, knew enough of the ancient craft to utilize aspects and, therefore, ‘sing’ in the chains of intricate poetic forms, many which were self-made forms. He also, of course, made use of the traditional devices of English-language poetry
Literature Officer / Swyddog Llenyddiaeth
City and County of Swansea / Dinas a Sir Abertawe
‘We in Swansea are delighted to hear that the momentum from the centenary celebrations is continuing apace, demonstrating the strong legacy from the year’s activities. Many people aren’t aware of Dylan’s connections with Italy, and the fascinating time he spent there in 1947, or of the time Caitlin Thomas spent there after Dylan’s death. We wish you all the very best for the day, and hope that the strong relationship between Torino and Swansea continues.’
Expert on Dylan Thomas
' If Dylan Thomas were here he would be thrilled that you are holding an event in his name. In 1947, Italy was the destination of his first trip abroad and where his poem 'In country heaven' was conceived.
This Gallese was born in Swansea, a Welsh industrial town which gave him the human and physical landscape in which to develop his love of words, the colour of saying. Like Italy, Wales has hills, mountains, valleys and the sea together with a passion for the spoken and sung word.
Grazie mille, diolch yn fawr, thank you so much for acknowledging Thomas in a country that opened its arms to him and his family.'
Curator, Art Historian and Artist
"It is wonderful to know that you are celebrating Dylan Thomas in 2015. In so doing, you are recognising and maintaining the strong links that the poet, his wife and children had with Italy. I have had close links with the city of Florence in particular and it seems that there are certain affinities between the Welsh and the Italians. My late father, the sculptor Robert Thomas was a Dylan Thomas fan even before they bumped into each other in a London street in the early 1950s. Robert Thomas was also a lover of Italian culture and he first travelled there with my mother Mary Thomas in 1956. They then transmitted their love of Italy to me and I took them back there 25 years later. I also became a Dylan fan partly via my father's enthusiasm but especially as a result of living in the poet's first home in 1993-94. As a result, I am always keen to share with visitors to Swansea my admiration for Dylan's work and that of his Italophile contemporary, the "maker of pictures" Alfred Janes. These European links are very important and I wish you all the very best for your conference in Turin on 25 March."
Stanley H. Barkan, Poet/Publisher, Cross-Cultural
When Peter Thabit Jones invited me to be the first solo featured poet to read at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Wales, I felt that I died and went to heaven. This is because, whenever I feel I'm unable to write anymore, I read my collected poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions, and I can once again put pen to paper successfully. When my daughter, Mia Barkan Clarke, was a child she had serious health problems and she had to be hospitalized. I spent 24 hours with her every day during the examinations and operations, never leaving the hospital (Columbia-Prebsyterian in New York). I had the New Directions collection of Dylan Thomas's poetry with me. I read it all during that very challenging time, and the poems sustained me. Each day since, I read a little of his works. And every day I recite from memory, "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower," "And death shall have no dominion," "Do not go gentle into that good night," and "Fern Hill." It's my morning prayers. I should also say, that having Peter Thabit Jones and Aeronwy Thomas in my house during the 2008 first Dylan Thomas Tribute Tour of America since Dylan's death in 1953, I originated and hosted, was beyond expectation. In a sense, it all came full circle for me. My daughter is alive and well, the mother of two beautiful little girls, Tasha and Roxy, married to a young man, Steven Clarke, I consider to be another son. So here's to Dylan and Aeronwy, CHEERS! SALUTÉ! L'CHAIM! on this memorable occasion.