The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas contains poems that Thomas
personally decided best represented his work. A year before its
publication Thomas died from swelling of the brain triggered by
excessive drinking. (A piece of New Directions history: it was our
founder James Laughlin who identified Thomas' body at the morgue of
St. Vincent's Hospital.) Since its initial publication in 1953,
this book has become the definitive edition of the poet's work.
Thomas wrote "Prologue" addressed to "my readers, the strangers" --
an introduction in verse that was the last poem he would ever
write. Also included are classics such as "And Death Shall Have No
Dominion," "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," and "Fern Hill"
that have influenced generations of artists from Bob Dylan (who
changed his last name from Zimmerman in honor of the poet), to John
Lennon (The Beatles included Thomas' portrait on the cover of Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band); this collection even appears in
the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road when it is
retrieved from the rubble of a bookshelf. And death shall have no
dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind
and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and their
clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though
they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea
they shall rise again, Though lovers be lost love shall not: And
death shall have no dominion. (From "And Death Shall Have No
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