Dylan Thomas

Charles Asher
Kim Lewis
English 112
April 30, 2000
Dylan Thomas\' Final Trip to America
Dylan Marlais Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales on October 27, 1914. He died November 9th, 1953 in New York City. In only 39 years, Dylan Thomas left an indelible mark on history. Thomas published numerous books of his poetry, plays, short stories, and various other works. He first toured America in early 1950, reading at a variety of public forums. This tour was very successful and Thomas fell in love with America, a romance that would bring his end just more than three years later.
"This first lecture tour of three months was a roaring success, or roaring and a success" (Sinclair, 166). Thomas gave great lectures on this tour, but more importantly, he discovered New York City. "New York seemed to egg him on" (Ferris, 232). Dylan grew fond of "some of the seedier Irish bars of Third Avenue and particularly…the White Horse Tavern" (Sinclair, 164). Dylan was even forced to leave his hotel because of "drunkenness" (Ferris, 232). Thomas had gained a reputation of being a heavy drinker and he wasn\'t ready to disappoint his American followers. "Dylan lived up to his roistering and shocking reputation, while turning in some of his greatest performances as a lecturer" (Sinclair, 166). "He was loudly applauded," Ferris wrote, "His rich voice overcame any problems of meaning. People frequently said that Thomas\' way of reading made them understand poems for the first time; but it may be under the influence of his voice, the literal meaning of a poem became irrelevant" (233). After only two readings in New York, Dylan moved on to tour the rest of the country.
Thomas moved west stopping in major cities all over America to lecture by day and drink by night. Tales of his growing dependence on alcohol preceded him. The quality of Dylan\'s lectures deteriorated as he moved west on his tour of American bars. For the final five weeks of his visit to America, Thomas returned to New York (Ferris, 248). Dylan described his last two weeks in New York as a "liquid, libidinous fortnight" (Ferris, 250). Thomas admitted to having three affairs during the trips (Ferris, 250). He left for home on June 1st, 1950.
When Thomas arrived at his home in Laugharne, Wales he discovered that his trip to America did not prove to be lucrative enough to support his poetry for any extended period of time (Ferris, 252). Being at home, with his wife, Dylan recuperated from the wear and tear of his first tour (Sinclair, 173). "He wrote that he had to ruin his health again because he felt so preposterously well. Such were the healing powers of Laugharne - and of love" (Sinclair, 175). During this period at home, Dylan\'s father became ill and "Dylan was shocked into his last fertile period of writing poetry" (Sinclair, 175).
By the end of 1951, Thomas had agreed to take another lecture tour of America, This time however, his wife Caitlin, having received news of his love affairs on his last tour, insisted on going (Sinclair, 176). This tour went on with moderate drinking by Thomas. Caitlin assisted by spending whatever money Dylan earned. The second and the first trips were very similar in form. Dylan left For Wales on May 15, 1952.
Thomas returned to Laugharne and his Father\'s condition worsened. DJ Thomas died on December 16; Dylan\'s own health was beginning to deteriorate. Years of heavy drinking, heavy smoking, and hard living were beginning to take their toll just two months after his 38th birthday (Ferris, 287). Thomas was suffering from many ailments, several pulmonary in nature (Ferris, 287). Despite all of this, needing money, Thomas agreed to tour America for a third time (Ferris, 288). He left on April 21, 1953.
Thomas soon began an affair with a woman he was working with named Liz Reitell (Ferris, 289). Dylan was receiving opportunities in America, but was "finding it difficult to produce anything at all" (Ferris, 291). Reitell and Thomas fell in love and Liz soon became worried about his drinking problem. He fell down a staircase while drunk and broke his arm. Reitell took him to see Dr. Milton Feltenstein who set his broken bone