Thomas Book Up For Auction/Maltese Poet Laureate – Poetry News Roundup 17th July

Today in our poetry news round up we bring you articles about a first copy Dylan Thomas poetry book that will be going up for auction and the first poet laureate of Malta.

A Copy of First Poetry Book of Dylan Thomas up for Auction

As part of an auction of literature that was owned by Charlie Watts, the late drummer of the Rolling Stones, the personal copy of Dylan Thomas’s first book of poems will be going up for sale.

Watts died two years ago, and the auction, which includes his substantial collection of literature, will have a number of rare first editions in it.

It is expected that Thomas’ copy of 18 poems will fetch in the region of £10,000 when the auction takes place in September. Not only was this copy owned by the poet himself, but it also includes messages that he wrote to a couple of his love interests.

The poems in the collection were first published just a month after Thomas’ 20th birthday in December 1934. It includes The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower, a poem that he wrote when he was just 19 and which is said to be the verse that made him famous.

There is an ink inscription written on the inside of the cover of the book, it has been crossed out, but it was written by Thomas to the writer Pamela Hansford Johnson, his first serious girlfriend, to who  he almost got married at point. The inscription reads


There is also  a pencil inscription in the book which reads “My Own Copy”, and also “Given to Emily in 1937”  the later inscription suggests that he may have gifted the book to another girlfriend.

The auction will also include a signed copy of the Great Gatsby which it is hoped with fetch between £200,000 and £300,000.

First Maltese Poet Laureate Inaugurated

Maria Grech Ganado, the first Poet Laureate of Malta was inaugurated during a ceremony that took place on 11thJuly.

She was given the title of poet laureate back in 2019 by the National Book Council. In the same year, she was also a winner of the National Book Prize for Poetry. In 2015, she was given a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Council for the contributions that she has made over the years to both English and Maltese language literature.

As part of her role as the official poet laureate, she will be at the service of the presidency and the state and will be required to write poetry for important occasions periodically.

Born in 1943, she is the first Maltese woman to have taken up a position as a full-time lecturer in the University of Malta where she worked in the Department of English. She has published a total of 10 collections of poetry, 5 of which are in Maltese and 5 in English. Her most recent was The Bell, which was published in English in 2023.

Her poetry has been translated into 15 different languages including Esperanto.

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