This new centenary volume brings together 52 poems – 4 previously unpublished – by RS Thomas to his wife ‘Elsi’, the distinguished artist Mildred E Eldridge. Together the poems reveal much of the changing (and challenging) dynamics of a complex yet vitally creative relationship.
Tender and honest at one moment, ironic and accusatory the next, there are poems on marriage, family, anniversaries and bereavement – offering up a candid portrait of emotional intimacy, the painful process of ageing, and of loss.
RS Thomas was born in Cardiff. Ordained as an Anglican priest in 1936, life in the rural parishes of north Wales became the inspiration for much of his poetry; it was in his first post in Denbighshire that he met ‘Elsi’. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal in 1964, and nominated for the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. A Penguin Modern Classics Selected Poems was published in 2004, followed by Bloodaxe’s Collected Later Poems (2004) and Uncollected Poems (2013). He died in 2000.
Damian Walford Davies teaches at Aberystwyth University. His latest poetry collection is Witch (Seren, 2012). He is General Editor of the forthcoming Oxford Literary History of Wales.