“I should say I wanted to write poetry in the beginning because I had fallen in love with words. The first poems I knew were nursery rhymes and before I could read them for myself I had come to love the words of them. The words alone. What the words stood for was of a very secondary importance … I fell in love, that is the only expression I can think of, at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behaviour very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.”
This quote from Dylan Thomas may explain why he gave actors in the first small cast reading of Under Milk Wood in New York just one stage direction, “Love the words, love the words.” It may also shed light on why we feel February 14th is the perfect date to launch the annual day that celebrates Dylan Thomas: his work, life and places.
International Dylan Thomas Day 2018 (Dylan Day for short) is just three months away on May 14th. For the past three years the day has been funded by the Welsh government and it has grown significantly and built momentum as each year has passed. There have been events across Wales, London, Cornwall, Oxford, New York and Argentina to name just a few.
The winner of The International Dylan Thomas Prize announcement is linked to Dylan Day. Last year’s winner was Australia’s Fiona McFarlane.
Unfortunately, the funding is no longer available and there hasn’t been the will or desire to continue the day from within Wales, which is why I, personally, intend to lead on continuing to grow and develop the day.
The last few Dylan Days, the Dylan Thomas centenary and my work for the Dylan Thomas Estate have demonstrated to me the strong and positive relationship people have with my grandfather and his work. I am convinced (in fact I know) there is still the enthusiasm for a national day to mark my grandfather’s life and legacy. His writing has travelled through time – it is as relevant today in our troubled times as when it was written sixty-five years ago. It has also travelled across the globe reaching new audiences everyday. His poetry lives on.
For that reason, a few of us, including me, will be putting time, effort and energies into keeping the day, May 14th, an important date on the literary calendar. Quite frankly we are passionate that all the previous hard work should not be wasted and we recognise the potential to make Dylan Day into a truly international event. There are days to celebrate James Joyce, Robert Burns and Lewis Carroll and there should be one for Dylan Thomas too.
How you can help
This is where we need your help and support because, although we will do what we can, the more voices telling people about the day, the further the message will spread.
Here are some things you could do:
- Tell people about the day.
- Put on an event.
- Like and share the Dylan Day social media pages.
- Share a link to the International Dylan Thomas Day page on this website.
- Promote the day on your social media pages.
- Write a blog telling people about the day.
- Share a Dylan Thomas quote.
Tell us about an event
We want to hear about how you intend to celebrate the day. We are aware that May 14th is a Monday this year so, we would be very interested in hearing about events on, or close to, Dylan Day.
If you want us to share details about your event or if you have any questions about how you can be involved please contact us via this website.
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Where can I find out more about the day
Find out more about Dylan Day by checking out our International Dylan Thomas Day page. We will regular update it with things you can do and events as they are announced.
In short, an International Dylan Thomas Day gives us a chance each year to celebrate Dylan Thomas’s achievements. We invite you to tell us about how you are going to mark the day and encourage you, wholeheartedly, to get involved and to love the words.
Hannah Ellis – 14th February 2018.
Hannah is a teacher, writer and consultant. You can learn more about her by visiting the website – www.lovethewords.co.uk