Welsh actor stars in New York celebration of Dylan Thomas’s life

Actor Michael Sheen read some of his favourite Dylan Thomas poems as part of the celebrations in New York marking the centenary of the poet’s birth.

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‌One of the poems, Song, has never appeared in any anthology of Dylan’s poems before. It is included in the new centenary edition of Dylan Thomas’s Collected Poems, edited by Professor John Goodby of Swansea University, a world-leading expert on Thomas. Both Michael and John read their favourite poems at an event in Bauman Rare Books in New York.

‌Michael Sheen, who is an honorary fellow of Swansea University, said: “It is always an honour, a privilege and a thrilling pleasure to speak Dylan Thomas’ words, but to get to do it on the day of his centenary is a remarkable opportunity. Any new collection of his work is an exciting event  and I’m delighted to be able to be a part of this one.”

Mike Sheehan, EC and J GoodbyPicture: Michael Sheen, Dr Elaine Canning (Deputy Director, RIAH) and Professor John Goodby

‌Professor Goodby, said: “For all the myths that surround the figure of Dylan Thomas, the most important thing about his life was his poetry. Thomas was the last British poet to make an impact on American poetry, and American critics were the first to fully understand the richness and complexity of his poems. It's appropriate, then, and a very real pleasure, to be able to launch the new centenary edition of the Collected Poems on the day of the centenary of his birth in New York City. That pleasure is enhanced by the fact that distinguished actor Michael Sheen, born and brought up in the same part of Wales as Dylan Thomas, has been here to read his poetry with me.

‌“It's the best launch imaginable for the edition, which brings together all the various strands of Dylan Thomas's poetry-writing for the first time, from film-scripts to journal pieces, pub poems to the songs of Under Milk Wood, canonical texts to sexy squibs, and which is aimed at widening the audience for and understanding of the work of this greatest of Welsh poets. 

“I am also very grateful to Bauman Rare Books for allowing us to hold this centenary event in their beautiful store.”