Washington Post author is amazed as he follows Dylan's trail
DYLAN Thomas and his life in South West Wales have been making the headlines in one of America's most prestigious newspapers.
The Washington Post has just published a major travel feature by author Michael Shapiro entitled "Discovering Dylan Thomas's Wales" — and he seems impressed by what he sees on his journey.
The travel piece begins with the Bard-of-Swansea's boyhood home in Uplands before going on to the city's Dylan Thomas Centre, the Carmarthenshire seaside village of Laugharne, New Quay and then the National Library of Wales.
He also meet's Dylan Thomas's granddaughter, Hannah Ellis, who tells him the poet "clearly had a very happy childhood" in Swansea, and how he attempted to rebuild the town with his words following the destruction of the 1941 Blitz. The first stop on the author's trail was the Cwmdonkin Drive house where the poet was born and brought up.
Geoff Haden, who runs the historic birthplace, said the American visitor had been impressed by what he saw in Swansea.
He said: "Mr Shapiro clearly recognises that 5 Cwmdonkin Drive is an iconic building in Dylan's life which gave him a safe and happy family life which shaped his early years and allowed him to develop as a writer and poet."
After an overnight stay in the house the author then visits Cwmdonkin Park before heading for the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, to see the exhibits and listen to recordings of his work — something which obviously engaged the author.
In the travel piece he wrote: "I can hear what the Welsh call hiraeth, an ineffable longing, and it all starts to make sense.
"Read aloud, Thomas's poetry becomes music.
"Which makes me think that Bob Dylan, who took his name from the Welsh bard, is his natural heir: a musician who turns songs into poetry."
From Swansea Mr Shaprio then visits Laugharne and the Boathouse where the poet lived with wife Caitlin, along with the shed where he wrote many of his works, before going on New Quay in Ceredigion — Dylan's last hometown — and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, which holds collection of artifacts from the poet's life.