Thomas, R(onald) S(tuart)

(1913-2000)
   The Welsh poet R.S. Thomas was born in Cardiff and raised in Holyhead, Anglesey. After reading classics at University College, Bangor, he was ordained in the Church of Wales (1936), in which he held appointments in several remote parishes; he retired from the church in 1978. After Dylan Thomas he is the best-known poet of 20th-century Wales. He learned Welsh as an adult and thereafter identified passionately with Welsh language and culture; he voiced sometimes in militant terms his contempt of those forces that threatened its survival. In 1964 he won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He was a fierce advocate of Welsh nationalism, but believed that Plaid Cymru did not go far enough in their opposition to England. He was a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and was a passionate supporter of the preservation of wildlife. In 1996 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but lost out to his friend Seamus Heaney (see entry), who read the eulogy at his memorial service held in Westminster Abbey. Some of his poems: "A Blackbird Singing," "After Jericho," "Alpine," "Farm Child," "Judgment Day," "Taliesin 1952," "Welsh Landscape."
   Sources: A Book of Nature Poems. William Cole, ed. Viking Press, 1969. Anglo-Welsh Poetry, 1480-1980. Raymond Garlick and Roland Mathias, eds. Poetry Wales Press, 1984. Anglo-Welsh Poetry, 1480-1990. Raymond Garlick and Roland Mathias, eds. Poetry Wales Press, 1993. Collected Later Poems: 1988-2000 of R.S. Thomas. Bloodaxe Books, 2004. Contemporary Religious Poetry. Paul Ramsey, ed. Paulist Press, 1987. Room for Me and a Mountain Lion: Poetry of Open Space. Nancy Larrick, ed. M. Evans, 1974. The Bloodaxe Book of 20th Century Poetry, from Britain and Ireland. Edna Longley, ed. Bloodaxe Books, 2000. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse, 1945-1980. D.J. Enright, ed. Oxford University Press, 1980. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. Wales Loses Its Most Sustained Lyric Voice, R.S. Thomas (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,373779,00.html). beg

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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