Poet and Priest
R.S. Thomas is a poet that many people recognise as being part of the Welsh Writing in English tradition.
R.S. Thomas was an Anglican priest and poet who was known for his dislike of the anglicanisation of Wales. It may be surprising that a poet who was so well-known for his anger about the encroaching anglicanisation of Wales that he did not write his poetry in the Welsh language. However, Thomas didn’t learn Welsh until adulthood, a reason why his poetry is written in English.
He spent a lot of time in North West Wales and was a student of Bangor University. His poetry often references to the spiritual and depicts Welsh people and the landscape. Thomas is proof that Welsh authors do not necessarily need to write in the Welsh language to express the feelings and emotions of being a Welsh person.
In 2000, the R.S. Thomas Study Centre was set up at Bangor University ‘in recognition of his poetic achievement and in order to promote research into his work.’ The centre holds manuscripts as well as unpublished work.
Thomas’s work is widely accessible and one of a few Anglo-Welsh writers actually taught in schools and colleges. ‘Stark but passionate’ is the description of his Selected Works at Palas Print – a great place to start if you want to learn more about one Wales’s best known poets.
R.S. Thomas Centenary
The Centenary Website set up by Literature Wales lists all the upcoming events to mark the Thomas Centenary on 29th March. It also lists upcoming publications including a collection of previously Uncollected Poems edited by Tony Brown and Jason Walford Davies.