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R.S. Thomas

(Everyman Poetry Library #7)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  16 reviews
EVERYMAN'S POETRY LIBRARY: This new series of the world's greatest poetry features the hallmarks of Everyman Classics: top-quality production and reader-friendly design along with helpful notes and critiques. Each edition is also a great value, especially for those readers beginning to explore the work of this remarkable poet. ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 15th 1997 by Everyman Paperbacks
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Lance Kinzer
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The last quarter of the moon
of Jesus gives way
to the dark; the serpent
digests the egg. Here
on my knees in this stone
church, that is full only
of the silent congregation
of shadows and the sea's
sound, it is easy to believe
Yeats was right. Just as though
choirs had not sung, shells
have swallowed them; the tide laps
at the Bible; the bell fetches
no people to the brittle miracle
of bread. The sand is waiting
for the running back of the grains
in the wall into its blond
glass. Religion is over, and
what will
Daniel Jr.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thomas should have a much bigger following in circles interested in poetry with explicitly "sacred" or religious concerns; i.e. many of my friends and colleagues. A unique and fascinating Welsh priest and poet, his body of work is distinctive and well-represented in this small volume. I also recommend POEMS OF RS THOMAS, and RS THOMAS--SELECTED POEMS, 1946-1968 for the early stuff. ...more
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A crusty, solitary Welsh vicar feels the universe.
Jonathan Berry
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lovely book of poetry that seems poignantly perfect for 2020.

From the first line of the introduction: "From the first, the poems of R.S. Thomas have been challenging statements about isolation, written in isolation"

Here's to hoping 2021 brings with it less isolation as the year wears onward, but for now, do yourself a favor and dip into this challenging yet beautiful work.
Nathan Huffstutler
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, sehnsucht
In a review of a biography of twentieth-century poet R. S. Thomas, one writer says that Thomas’s poetry raises “a deep and unanswered question: What is life for? Is it simply to consume more and more, and divert ourselves with ever more elaborate entertainments and gadgetry? What will this do to our souls?” This is a good summary of Thomas’s concern in his poetry.

As an Anglican minister in rural Wales, Thomas loved the land and its people. But he hated what was happening to Welsh culture. The lo
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't read much poetry. But, author Philip Yancey, a non-fiction author whose work I have read and enjoyed, recommended the poetry of R.S. Thomas in an essay that Yancey wrote last summer for the Washington Post. I got this book of Thomas poems, and have slowly read (and occasionally re-read) the poems in it over the fall and early winter. To my surprise, I really like many of them. The poems are short, usually 20 to 40 lines. Unlike other modern poets I've tried to read, I understand the la ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this edition of R.S. Thomas' 'Selected Poems' when it came out in the mid-1990s - around the time that the Welsh former priest was nominated for the Nobel Prize - and have dipped in and out of it ever since. This was the first time that I had read it cover to cover, however (by virtue of being laid up with a bad back).

'Bleak' is the adjective most commonly applied to Thomas' poetry and 'solitary' to the man himself. He wrote about life in one small corner of the world and revisited fam
Johanna Rupprecht
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I enjoyed this book on the whole, although I’m still not sure what my overall impression of Thomas’s poetry is. Many of these are difficult poems, I felt, especially among the earlier works, and I didn’t know what to make of many of them. But there is a lot of beauty here, too.

I was a little troubled by the attitude that seems to be taken towards the rural people, and their lives, who are the subjects of many of the earlier poems. I’m not sure if that’s a fair reaction. I started reading this b
Michelle Hoogterp
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
beautiful. I want to read more of his work.
Robin Helweg-Larsen
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This Welsh rural Church minister wrote psychologically insightful poetry about the physically bleak lives of the old peasant farmers, and the spiritually bleak lives of the younger generation and the English newcomers who had given themselves over to the age of the Machine. Decay is everywhere,
"the smashed faces
of the stone farms with the stone trickle
of their tears down the hills' side."

He wrestles with his own religious doubt in a time of religious decay, seeing God's church as a
"stone trap
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Great collection that left me wanting to read more of Thomas. Also some of the best Christian poetry I've ever read. Thomas accomplishes this through the sheer physicality of his verse. You get your fingernails dirty reading these lines, which are often rooted in the Welsh countryside, where Thomas was pastor for so many years. He knew the people (farmers, peasants, etc.) -- and the land, and for him that was an authentic pathway to God. However, as the collection went on, Thomas gets a bit more ...more
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some beautifully dark, bitter poetry here, by a minister keen to see his flock share his concern for religion and language, yet gradually resigning himself to them leaving both behind.

"There is no present in Wales, and no future; there is only the past, brittle with relics, wind-bitten towers and castles with sham ghosts; mouldering quarries and mines; and an impotent people, sick with inbreeding"
Giles Denmark
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing

the hard life of the farmer in wales
a priest speaks from his gut about god church and parishioners
great engaging poetry from a man who loved nature in all its guises
Shawn slate
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
beautiful poetry about ministry in rural wales. the struggles and beauty of living in place. A great theology of place and people
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2014, poetry
A selection that evokes much of Wales, the land and faith.
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2012
Generally enjoyed the later poems more than the earlier ones.
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Ronald Stuart Thomas (otherwise stylised as R.S. Thomas) was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who was noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the anglicisation of Wales.

Other books in the series

Everyman Poetry Library (6 books)
  • Dante Alighieri: Everyman's Poetry Library
  • Jonathan Swift: Everyman's Poetry Library
  • Four Metaphysical Poets (Everyman Poetry Library #24)
  • Arthur Hugh Clough: Everyman's Poetry Library
  • John Skelton (Everyman Poetry Library #29)

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