Dylan Thomas in Interstellar

There's been a spike in interest about Dylan Thomas recently because his most famous poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" was featured heavily in the film Interstellar. The movie was pretty good, though the use of the poem was a bit ham-handed. (Michael Caine repeated it melodramatically about 10 times.) In any case, the poem is about raging "against the dying of the light" probably in terms of getting old and dying. The film used it on a more profound level: humans colonizing other planets as an act of "raging" against an existential threat.

Interestingly enough, Michael Caine says he KNEW Dylan Thomas irl:

In Interstellar, you recite Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” which sounds a lot harder to nail than math talk.
As an actor, you just read the reality of what is going on. I love that poem. I also knew Dylan Thomas quite well. I knew him, but he didn’t know me. He was always drunk when you met him. I know he’s dead, but I’m sure if you said, “Did you ever meet Michael Caine,” he’d say, “I don’t know.” He was a fabulous poet. He was just around in the bars and clubs in London. He was a very bright Welshman who drank too much.

See the full interview on Vulture: http://www.vulture.com/2014/11/michael-caine-interstellar-interview.html


Thomas on Thomas

Thomas describes his technique in a letter: “I make one image—though ‘make’ is not the right word; I let, perhaps, an image be ‘made’ emotionally in me and then apply to it what intellectual & critical forces I possess—let it breed another, let that image contradict the first, make, of the third image bred out of the other two together, a fourth contradictory image, and let them all, within my imposed formal limits, conflict.”


Selection for Jan/Feb 2015

Dylan Thomas: Selected Poems

O, kingdom of neighbors, finned
Felled and quilted, flash to my patch
Work ark and the moonshine
Drinking Noah of the bay
My ark sings in the sun
At God speeded summer's end
And the flood flowers now.