March is quite the month of reading events, and I’ve been happy to be able to take part in the Reading Ireland event. However, this month is also a time to look at literature from Wales with Paula’s #Dewithon23 and I’ve been happy to take part in this in previous years, with books by Saunders Lewis and R.S. Thomas. This year I’ve found myself running out of time a little, and with nothing obvious on Mount TBR; so I thought I would pull out some of my volumes of poetry by R.S. Thomas, who’s a perennial favourite, and just have a dip. I’ve picked up more of his books in recent months, to fill some gaps, and in fact I often feel that some his later poetry is amongst his best.

The three books here are intriguing ones. “No Truce with the Furies” (published by the excellent Bloodaxe Books) is one of my favourite Thomas collections, featuring such wonderful poems as ‘Still’, ‘No Time’, ‘The Morrow’, ‘Remembering’, ‘Silence’ and of course the stunning ‘Reflections’, which features the title phrase. I think this was the first of Thomas’s works I bought and if I could only take one of his books to a desert island it would most probably be this.

The “Selected Prose” volume was one I picked up on a holiday in Wales, many moons ago, and it’s published by the Welsh press, Seren. It collects together a fascinating range of Thomas’s prose, from 1945 to 1988, ranging over such subjects as the depopulation of areas of the Welsh country, Scottish writing, Christmas, introductions and reviews, plus of course the state of Wales. The breadth of Thomas’s thought is bracing, and I’m sure there is room out there for a complete prose collection

Some of my R.S. Thomas books

Finally, “Residues”, again from lovely Bloodaxe; this was a recent purchase as I realised there were a number of Thomas collections I didn’t have, plus I always like an excuse to support Bloodaxe! It’s a posthumous release, gathering a number of works which were collected loosely into a folder, and there are some real treats in the book – this one particularly grabbed me:

I do have quite a collection of R.S. Thomas’s books and he’s an author I’m always happy to return to. If you haven’t read his work, I do recommend giving him a try; he’s a powerful and fiercely independent poet, and his verse really stays with you. Thanks, Paula, for the nudge back to my Welsh books – revisiting Thomas has been a treat!