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Poetry of R.S. Thomas

John Powell Ward
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
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R.S. Thomas was perhaps the greatest living British poet, the author of twenty collections of poetry, a writer of international repute and the subject of increasing critical and academic interest. The Poetry of R.S. Thomas was the first critical work about him, an invaluable volume which has yet to be surpassed. Its author has taken the opportunity to completely revise and update the book reflecting on both the development of Thomas’ career and the poetry collections of the last ten years. Grouping the books together thematically, Ward examines Thomas’ growing reputation and discusses the poet’s concerns and subjects, and the images and techniques he uses to express them as they evolve through the increasing Thomas canon. The result is a fascinating guide to over fifty years of writing.

The breadth of Ward’s knowledge, together with his own practise as a poet, ensures he is equally at home with theological argument or the use of metaphor; nationalism or naturalism; Romanticism or the philosophy of Wittgenstein. Ward offers stimulating insights into the character and work of the twentieth century’s greatest religious poet in English, from the early hill-farmer poems which brought him fame through those allied to visual art, the "lost faith" poems, to the philosophical later work. In the process Ward confirms his own position as one of the most profound thinkers about poetry today.

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