Dylan Thomas Day: The Verb at Laugharne
Ian McMillan's guests for a Dylan Thomas Centenary special with an audience in Wales at Laugharne, where the poet used to live, include the writer Glyn Maxwell on updating and relocating Under Milk Wood, the poet Gwyneth Lewis on writing a novella which explores Dylan's influence, and the musician Gruff Rhys. The one-time frontman for the Super Furry Animals will be talking about his project American Interior and the experience of composing the soundtrack for a new film about Dylan Thomas. And there'll be a new commission from the poet Peter Finch inspired by Thomas's 'Altarwise by Owl-Light'.
‘Altarwise by Owl-light’ by Dylan Thomas
In this special edition of The Verb as part of Radio 3’s ‘Dylan Thomas Day’, recorded in front of an audience at Laugharne, Ian McMillan, Glyn Maxwell and Gwyneth Lewis read extracts from Dylan Thomas’s ‘Altarwise by Owl-Light’.
Gwyneth Lewis is the former National Poet of Wales, a novelist, memoirist and playwright who writes in both Welsh and English. Gwyneth shares with us her work in progress, ‘Advantages of the Older Man’ (Seren) a novella which features the ghost of Dylan Thomas. Gwyneth explains her inspiration for the book, and explores the ‘physicality’ of Thomas’s poetry.
The poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell grew up with Dylan Thomas’s language; his mother was in an early stage version of ‘Under Milk Wood’ with Richard Burton. Glyn talks about the ‘rootedness’ evoked by ‘Under Milk Wood’ and how that compares with his experience of growing up in the ‘new town’ of Welwyn Garden City. He reads an extract from radio play which will explore the idea of Welwyn Garden City ‘as someone’s dream’, and explains the influence of ‘Under Milk Wood’ on this piece of writing.
The singer-songwriter Gruff Rhys’ ( formerly of The Super Furry Animals) latest project is ‘American Interior’. An ambitious project, it is an album, a book, a film and an app. In ‘American Interior’, Gruff follows in the footsteps of his ancestor John Evans, who travelled America in the 18th century in search of a lost tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans. He explains why he’s brought a John Evans puppet with him to the recording, and talks about the soundtrack he’s written for a new film about Dylan Thomas called ‘Set Fire to the Stars’.
Peter Finch is a poet, critic, and author who writes in both traditional and experimental forms. His latest book is 'Edging the Estuary' (Seren)In a special commission for The Verb, Peter has created a mash-up/cut-up of Dylan Thomas’s difficult and surreal poem ‘Altarwise by Owl-Light’. Peter explains how he dismantled the poem, and built it up again, commenting on Thomas’ unique place in Welsh culture.
Peter Finch's Website