Oyster Boy Review 18  
  Winter 2003–4
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Various Works by Dylan Thomas

Jeffery Beam

  Dylan Thomas: The Caedmon Collection.
Dylan Thomas.
Caedmon, Harper Audio, 2003.
11 discs, $49.95 (audio CD).
ISBN: 0694526592

  Selected Poems 1934-1952.
Dylan Thomas.
New Directions Publishing, 2003.
240 pages, $14.95 (paperback).
ISBN: 0811215423

  The Poems of Dylan Thomas.
Dylan Thomas.
New Directions Publishing, 2003.
352 pages, 1 disc, $34.95 (hardcover & audio CD).
ISBN: 0811215415

My first exposure to Dylan Thomas was through a high school English teacher who would play recordings of Thomas's sonorous Welsh spells and then break into tears. Poetry had called me to its table already, but Thomas's mesmerizing poems convinced me that indeed poetry was "a burning and crested act" sung "at poor peace" "to strangers" "for the love of Man and in praise of God." I signed on immediately. This year, 2003, proves a red-letter year for Thomas fans at the fiftieth anniversary of his death—damn—he died the year I was born. Few poets since have reached his achievement in artistry and unbridled creativity. He seems the last poet born of the ancients, and yet he still seems completely new. Harper Audio's Dylan Thomas: The Caedmon Collection on CD collects all eleven of Caedmon's Thomas recordings featuring poems, essays, stories, and lectures. Thomas's publisher New Directions has reprinted a revised edition of Selected Poems 1934-1952 (a book I have worn out at least three times) and The Poems of Dylan Thomas (including a CD of eight poems courtesy of Caedmon). The selected was originally titled The Collected Poems. The CD collection features commentary and notes by Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Poems of newly includes an essay by Thomas as an introduction. Thomas's work remains as vibrating, excellent, charming, arch, surprising, deep, and canny as ever.