REVIEW by John BarnieNWR Issue 100
RS Thomas, Serial Obsessive
by M Wynn Thomas
While he lived, those who admired RS Thomas’ poetry tended to avoid discussion of the contradictions that ran in fault lines through the poems and autobiographical prose, and by implication through the life. The feeling was perhaps that he had enemies enough ready to take him to task. After his death in 2000, however, it was possible to reassess his achievement in a less inhibited way, and since, for such an overtly reticent man, the life was so deeply embedded in the work that he might almost be considered a ‘confessional’ poet, it has been necessary to reconsider the portrait of ‘RS Thomas’ which he crafted in collections like The Echoes Return Slow
, in the prose memoir Neb
, and the journal Blwyddyn yn Llŷn
This process began with Byron Rogers’ biography The Man Who Went into the West
(2006) which managed to be irreverent and revelatory while remaining sympathetic to the man and sensitive to the achievement of the poetry...
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