BOOK REVIEW: QUITE EARLY ONE MORNING by DYLAN THOMAS
BOOK: Quite Early One Morning
AUTHOR: Dylan Thomas
GENRE: Poetry, Short Stories
FIRST PUBLISHED: 1954
PUBLISHER: J. M Dent and Sons LTD
This one time it started raining when I was in town. I didn’t have an umbrella with me and the only place where I could shelter from the rain (which came un-announced) was outside some shops across the street. I hated the rain that day. You see, the day started out clear. The sky was blue and there was no sign that it would rain. I went to town to run a few errands and just as as I had stepped in the C.B.D, the skies opened and it rained so heavily. That kind of weather usually astonishes me. How does it happen? One moment it’s all sunny and calm, then it suddenly rains like the heavens are expelling demons. I was rained on. I, my kinky African hair and the cute outfit I had on. I felt so bad, I cursed the weather. I hated the rain, the sky, the clouds and everything involved. The rain, 1). Ruined my hair and outfit, 2). Made me cancel my plans. I sobbed silently. It stopped raining after a few minutes. I then decided to go home and before I got to the bus stop, something caught my eye. Guess what, it was a Dylan Thomas book! It was there on a stand on the other end of the street.
I couldn’t believe it. You know why I was excited? Sometimes I usually go on a book shopping spree with some authors in mind. I often fail to get their books, and after several attempts and failing to get the books, I just pick what’s usually on sale. Dylan Thomas is one of the authors I’m talking of. I’ve searched East and West, I just never get any of his books. Seeing the Dylan Thomas book made me forget that I had been rained on. I even forgot about my ruined plans. I was happy again! I then purchased the book, plus two others and left.
***I’m sorry about my story. It has kind of made this post extra long. I hope it won’t ruin the review. I just felt like I should talk of how I came across the book. It felt wonderful spotting the book. 🙂 ***
There is some form of zing and energy that accompanies one when they hold this book. It’s how the author puts his narrative. Dylan Thomas was born in Wales during the the First World War. He tells reminiscences of his childhood, and boy, you’ll love how he recounts it. Growing up in the sea city, Dylan Thomas loved every bit of it. It was his world. “I like very much people telling me about their childhood, but they’ll have to be quick or else I’ll be telling them about mine.” This line from the first part of the book confirms one thing, that Thomas was a natural when it came to story telling, and by extension poetry. He wasn’t one that struggled to come up with words. It also made me realize something about my self. I’m sort of the opposite of what the famous poet said about himself. I am more of “Tell me about your story, I’m not so good with mine.” I like listening to people’s tales more than sharing my own.
There was an old man who the author mentions. The man often sat on a bench looking over the swanned reservoir in his town. The man, the author recollects, was always there, whether during the summer or winter. Dylan Thomas wrote a poem about the man years later. How fascinating! The Poem was titled “Hunchback in the park“. The author goes on to describe his early days. Like any other kid, he engaged in activities like those of his peers. He recalls the times and memories during Christmas and other holidays in Swansea. He also talks of his visit to America, later when he was an adult. He talks of the people in America, political scenes, and his general experience there. His stories are exquisitely told, that one can picture how pleasurable he must have felt while talking about them.
“Hunchback In The Park” is the first poem in the book, and as you read on, you come across several other well crafted poems. You see, that’s the beauty of this book. You’ll read short stories about the author, and before you know it, you bump into a poem. Exciting. Right? It kind of breaks the monotony that comes with most novels. (Hey, I don’t mean this in a negative way.) The arrangement of the book is meritorious.
Part two of the book is him talking less about himself and more about other literary figures in the U.K. He starts with Wilfred Owen, an English poet. Born in 1893 and killed in 1918, Owen was the greatest poet of The First Great War. Thomas says of him. He also adds a couple of Owen’s poems, including “Exposure“. I enjoyed this piece. It’s perhaps my most favorite of all Wilfred Owen poems. The author also tells the story of Walter De la Mare and Sir Philip Sidney, other English poets. Though presented as mini-biographies, Thomas seems like he is paying a tribute to the English poets. It’s like a commendation for what they did. He is saluting them, praising their works and personalities.
Welsh poets. Being from Wales himself, Dylan Thomas of course observed the literary atmosphere, and especially poetry and poets.He gives his view point, and opinion about them.
This book covers some of Dylan Thomas’s works. The book consists of radio scripts which were compiled and edited. There’s so much to learn about English and Welsh poets in the book. I am officially a fan of Dylan Thomas, a very talented creative born during the Great War. It’s a good read. You can take your time reading through the texts, or rush through the pages, as this masterpiece is as easy to understand as ABC.
This is a nice pick for lovers of poetry. I loved the arrangement of the text and style of writing. I’d recommend it to anyone, not just poetry lovers. There’s more than a handful to know about Welsh poets. You can read and share so much in this book, and perhaps criticize if you feel like it. If I were to rate it, I’d give it an 8 out of 10 stars.
P.S: This book is a collection of radio materials/ scripts compiled and edited by Aneirin Talfan Davies, once controller of the B.B.C. Welsh Region.