Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, was one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. Becoming successful at a young age, he lived a flamboyant public life in London and New York. He wrote plays, including the famous radio-play Under Milk Wood, as well as fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Poems such as ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ and ‘Fern Hill’, as well as ‘Do Not Go Gentle…’ however cemented his reputation as a poet.
‘Do Not Go Gentle…’ was written about the death of his father and is a form of poem called a vilanelle, and is a poem full of symbolism. A recording exists of Dylan Thomas reading ‘Do Not Go Gentle…’, but in this film Benjamin Zephaniah brings his own performance style to the poem.
The poem has become incredibly popular and is referenced in many other artworks. Composer Ivor Stravinsky set the poem to music for his work ‘In Memoriam Dylan Thomas’, and artist Ceri Richards painted a series of paintings inspired by the poem. More recently it has been used in the film Interstellar and in an advert for a WWE Wrestling computer game.
You can also watch on Vimeo.
Writing resources – Benjamin Zephaniah and Dylan Thomas