2014 is the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas. It’s also the centenary of the birth of his friend and fellow-poet, Ruthven Todd. To celebrate this, HappenStance has produced two limited-edition prose pamphlets (prose pamphlets by poets).
The Ghost of Dylan Thomas is by the little-known Scottish poet Ruthven Todd, who outlived his friend and fellow-poet Dylan Thomas by a quarter of a century, establishing a reputation as both a Blakean scholar and author of the children’s Space Cat series. Todd also wrote wonderfully well about the literary characters of his time. Most of that writing remains unpublished in the archives of the National Library of Scotland, but some sections have been rescued for this pamphlet.
After Dylan Thomas’s premature death, Todd was commissioned to write the official biography, but his task was never completed. The Ghost of Dylan Thomas, in his own words, explains precisely why not. The publication includes Todd’s poem to commemorate the death of his friend, and there’s an afterword by Peter Main, Todd’s biographer.
Optionally, you can buy Todd's essay, together with the The Mythic Death of Dylan Thomas, by Robert Minhinnick, the Welsh poet, essayist, novelist and translator. It explores the advantages (for a poet) of dying young—and more particularly of being Welsh and dying young in New York. (This mischievous overview was delivered as a short talk in the StAnza Poetry Festival ‘Past and Present’ series, 2013.)