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Remembering the poet R.S. Thomas

In a special programme on Monday, 25 March, S4C's Pethe will look at the legacy of the poet R.S. Thomas, who was born 100 years ago this month.  There will also be a chance to see R.S. Thomas' last full-length television interview the following night in the archive programme, R.S. Thomas.

Dr Jason Walford Davies and Professor Tony Brown, Co-Directors of the R.S. Thomas Study Centre in Bangor University have collected over a hundred of R.S.'s unpublished poems in a new collection, Uncollected Poems. Lisa, the programme's presenter, will be in Bangor talking to Jason about the importance of the new collection, and two experts on the work of R.S., former National Poet of Wales and Bangor University Honorary Fellow Gwyneth Lewis, and Professor M Wynn Thomas, will be looking back at career of the poet and Anglican priest.

"When I was a student at Cambridge University he came to speak to us," says Gwyneth Lewis recalling the first time she met R.S. Thomas. "I offered to interview him for one of the student magazines but I was so scared of him I made one of my friends come with me! But we had a wonderful afternoon; he was such a good-natured man."

Throughout his life and in his poetry R.S. was prepared to discuss himself, his fellow Welshmen and his country openly and honestly and it was this boldness in his work that appealed to Gwyneth.

"His work is unique. The tone of his voice is different to that of anyone else and what I like is the fact he is not afraid to look at himself, and our condition, the sad and sometimes pitiful side of life. He is truly one of Wales's great literary figures and it's imperative that we celebrate his work."

The following night, Tuesday, 26 March the archive programme R.S. Thomas is a conversation between Jason Walford Davies and R.S. originally broadcast in 1999 as part of the 'Croma' series and was R.S.'s last extended TV interview. It's a revealing conversation which discusses all aspects of the bard's life and work and includes a special, visual treatment of four of his most famous poems.

Publication date: 15 March 2013