Letters from R.S. Thomas

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 AED/2/1/1/1/1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      19 pieces Piece /17 is badly water damaged and /18 has a large coffee stain.

Scope and Content

The letters contain information on Thomas's holidays and trips to America. Also mentioned are payments made to Thomas for sound recordings, and Dyson's chronic ill health. A significant number of the letters are undated and all are on rough paper. Items of interest include:

  • /1: Undated letter: Thomas describes how he finds writing more difficult the older he gets and states that "so called Anglo-Welsh criticism is very poor on the whole".
  • /6: Letter dated 12 March 1976: Thomas states "I expect you saw the demolition work on me in the T.L.S. [Times Literary Supplement] a fortnight ago" and goes on to say "I find the lack of balanced, catholic, critical standards among reviewers disturbing. One hails you as a major poet, another treats you like a rather inferior Patience Strong".
  • /15: Letter dated 2 December 1998: Thomas writes "I, like you, laugh at the names being put forward for the Laureateship - minnows all of them. There is some attempt in Anglo Wales to nominate me. I have said I wouldn't dream of accepting even in the unlikely event of being offered. Polite standards have all gone to hell and trivial minds are getting excited by trivial poetry".
  • /16: Letter dated 22 April 1995: Thomas is glad that Macmillan is going to publish Dyson's book [The Fifth Dimension]. He mentions his experience of the recent BBC cutbacks and notes that Bloodaxe has agreed to publish his poetry.


These letters were originally dispersed throughout the collection. There is a larger group of R.S. Thomas letters to Dyson at AED/1/1/4/1 and a single Thomas letter at AED/1/3/10. It is believed that Brian Cox extracted a number of Thomas letters, leaving the remainder behind, perhaps having missed them.