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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 16:23 GMT
Swansea's burgeoning poetry industry
By Jon Gower
BBC Wales' arts correspondent

Dylan Thomas
Thomas tourist numbers have nearly trebled in the last six years
Dylan Thomas is ubiquitous in Swansea. There's the Dylan Thomas centre, the Dylan Thomas pub in Llansamlet, not to mention the Dylan Thomas Wine Cellars in Sketty.

Sculptures of the cherub-faced poet have sprouted.

Sean Kier from Swansea County and City Council says that the success of a current exhibition about the man shows how keen the interest is.

"Six years ago, there were 19,000 people visiting but now it attracts 58,000. People want to know about arguably the world's greatest writer after Shakespeare," he said.

There's a one-stop shop in the city for Dylan Thomas related retail therapy.

Dylan's Bookstore in the wonderfully-named Salubrious Passage has been trading since 1970 since when owner Jeff Towns has been scouring the country, the continent and America for memorabilia.

"The Grail would be the poem 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' written in Dylan's own hand.

"Something like that went though the sales room last year for well in excess of 30.000, "he says.

Dylan Thomas trail sign
The area is full of Dylan Thomas landmarks

After perusing the thousands of books in Towns' characterful shop visitors can slake their thirsts at the Uplands Tavern, where there is a Dylan Snug with a poem in praise of "the taste of beer/Its live white lather/Its brass bright depths."

Howard King is both inn-keeper and Dylan enthusiast said: "We have a room dedicated to the memory of Dylan Thomas.

When it was called the Uplands pub this was his first watering hole and he waxed lyrical about it."

Nearby, at No 5, Cwmdonkin Drive is the house where the poet lived as a boy. The Dylan Thomas House Trust has been set up in the hope of turning the clocks back as its chair, Letitia Anne Rhys explained:

"We want to buy the home for the nation and then restore it to the way it was in, say, the Thirties. Over 60% of his work was written in that home."


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