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12 Artists respond to the poems of Dylan Thomas

The Hours Cafe & Bookshop in Brecon are ardent supporters of the Arts in all their forms and as one of only 1000 independent bookshops remaining in the UK, they are champions of reading and literature and of Poetry in particular. The centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth will be celebrated across Wales and the world in ways big and small and the wonky green building on Ship Street that houses this bookish and culinary enterprise is no exception.

For two months this Autumn the upstairs gallery in this Grade II listed building will host ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ in which, at the invitation of the owners, twelve Artists will each have responded to a Dylan Thomas poem with a painting. Leigh, who is a huge Dylan Thomas fan confesses this was no mean feat:

‘Selecting twelve poems from Dylan’s vast and beautiful body of work was every bit as hard as I imagined it would be. We’d done this type of project before with other books, and already knew which Artists we were going to ask to participate. We’ve selected twelve Artists with not only very different styles and ideas but also different experiences of Dylan and his work. We also didn’t want to necessarily use the poems that always get the most exposure, but for the exhibition to be an opportunity to bring more of Dylan’s poems out of the shadows to be shared, discussed and enjoyed’. She added: ‘We hope that is just what people will do, come along and enjoy the Art then be inspired to go away, seek out his writing and keep reading. Dylan is Wales’ Shakepeare, he should be celebrated, admired and cherished and he should certainly be on every school curriculum.

I’m not sure I would have come across him myself if my own Mother hadn’t instilled a love of Poetry in me at a young age – she read ‘Fernhill’ aloud once and from then on I was hooked. His writing opened up a world of wonder at the sheer beauty of words that is still with me today. He’s certainly not someone we were told about at school and I think in this centenary year that is something we definitely need to ensure changes in the future. Dylan 100 is about creating a legacy for Dylan Thomas’ work and we hope that here in Brecon we are playing our own small part in that’.

Participating Artists include: Karin Mear, Veronica Gibson, Bronte Woodruff, Robert Macdonald, Roy Powell and Kim Howells.

‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ previews at The Hours Cafe & Bookshop, 15 Ship Street Brecon, LD39AD on Friday October 3rd at 7pm and will run until November 30th. It will be opened by Chair of The Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain, ‘The Dylan Thomas Guy’ Jeff Towns.