I only have about 45 minutes, including readings, and being in the Waterstone’s café I have to try and stop the audience wandering off bored with me. I need to select the things which will interest people most, the choicest poems or extracts, and at the same time balance specific and important facts about Under Milk Wood with the fact possibly most of the audience don’t know that much about Dylan Thomas.
Still tinkering but very sadly, and I mean very sadly, I think I’m going to have to omit my favourite Thomas poem. ‘The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower’ is possibly the perfect example of a certain type of writing he delivered best. Heavily influenced by Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’, it perfectly demonstrates Thomas’s mastery of combining soundscapes of poetry with the sense, just out of conscious reach, underneath them. I used it as part of an English lesson for Spanish teenagers once (about imagery in English, and the different use of descriptions), partly to see if their reaction to the complex imagery was different to native speakers. Their reaction was strikingly similar, a lovely response being along the lines of ‘I like it, and I think I almost understand it, but I couldn’t explain it’. What more could a poem ask? The mighty Burton reads it below for anyone who doesn’t know the poem.
If this kind of thing doesn’t float your boat and you’re wondering whether to come along, be re-assured I am currently writing the bit about the dirty jokes, booze and women as well.