R.S. Thomas

Too Brave to Dream

Encounters with Modern Art

R.S. Thomas


Publication Date : 29 Sep 2016

ISBN: 9781780373072

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

When R.S. Thomas died in 2000, two seminal studies of modern art were found on his bookshelves – Herbert Read’s Art Now (1933/1948) and Surrealism (1936), edited by Read and containing essays by key figures in the Surrealist movement. Some three dozen previously unknown poems handwritten by Thomas were later discovered between the pages of the two books, poems written in response to a selection of the many reproductions of modern art in the Read volumes, including works by Henry Moore, Edvard Munch, George Grosz, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Graham Sutherland – many of whom were Thomas’s near contemporaries. These poems are published here for the first time – alongside the works of modern art that inspired them.

Thomas’s readings of these often unsettling images demonstrate a willingness to confront, unencumbered by illusions, a world in which old certainties have been undermined. Personal identity has become a source of anguish, and relations between the sexes a source of disquiet and suspicion. Thomas’s vivid engagements with the works of art produce a series of dramatic encounters haunted by the recurring presence of conflict and by the struggle of the artist who, in a frequently menacing world, is ‘too brave to dream’. At times we are offered an unflinching vision of ‘a landscape God / looked at once and from which / later he withdrew his gaze’.

‘Thomas’s responses to the paintings are intriguing, insightful, often dark, but always unique… a book for lovers of both poetry and art, as well as true Thomasophiles.’ – Meryl Doney, Church Times (Christmas Books)

‘All [the poems] complement the pictures in a vivid, taut-nerved, almost intuitive way, closer to improvisations or quick sketches than to complex parallel compositions. Like little springboards, they impel the reader back to the painting, to see it with a second pair of eyes.... a gift for anyone, not least at Christmas time, with an interest in poetry and art.’ – Carol Rumens, TheGuardian.com, Poem of the Week


R.S. Thomas in 1995

This short portrait of R.S. Thomas was shown in December 1995 by BBC TV's Bookmark after he had been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1996 (which went to Seamus Heaney). With commentary by Griff Rhys Jones and Denis Healey, it includes Thomas reading two poems, "Children's Song' and 'The Other'. Filmed mainly on Anglesey, where Thomas lived in his retirement, the film features his former parishes of Aberdaron on Lleyn and Manafon in mid-Wales (with some archive footage from 1963).


28 colour and 7 b&w illustrations


BOOKS BY R.S. Thomas

Collected Later Poems 1988-2000

R.S. Thomas

Collected Later Poems 1988-2000

Publication Date : 25 Mar 2004

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Uncollected Poems

R.S. Thomas

Uncollected Poems

Publication Date : 29 Mar 2013

Read More   amazon.co.uk


Lammas Alanna
Soul Food
Beyond the Drift
Perfect Blemish / Perffaith Nam

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