Dylan Thomas’ writing shed

18 08 2014


Dylan Thomas’ writing shed snuggled into place on Conwy’s quayside, it looked like it had grown on the wharf naturally. The Liverpool Arms, pouring into the view from his open curtained windows, seemed as though it was musty with tales of Thomas’ games of cats and dogs, of Caitlin, of Vernon Watkins, bruised bottles, and of words worming.

I settled into the wicker chair and tried to write nine poems. In twelve minutes. The queue for the ‘Sunday takeaway’ hadn’t abated and the clothes line, full of thematic requests varying from Whales to Wales, had begun to sag slightly. I wrote, trying not to move anything on the desk, trying to move myself from any tourists’ photograph, trying to look a little at Thomas’ gallery of faces, his lists of assonance, trying, trying.


And when I had conquered the orders and the glutinous diners were licking the bones of my briefest verse, I hastened off to read a selection of nature poems in the Guild Hall. Between Wales’ Children’s Laureate, Martin Daws, and its Poet Laureate, Gillian Clarke, my poems felt rushed and riddled and the hour was longer than it seemed. But the room was full and the audience was kind enough to smile when they were supposed to, frown when I prompted to. And all the books I took were gone when I left.


The day before, a string of wonderful writers collected words from Conwy’s web of walls and we amassed poems from the produce. Hinton’s bookshop provided their cloister for the task, their kettle for the process.


In the evening David Crystal enchanted an audience on the ‘100 words that made English’ and spoke of the reasons why ‘roe deer’ was a crucial to the language as ‘thingy’ and ‘dooberry’ and ‘Twittersphere’.

The highlight? A Spanish couple who arrived to Dylan’s shed and, instead of taking a poem, took away a request for one. I gave them the catalyst ‘charity’ and they gave me back ‘A Toast for Glyn’. Inside the poem were the lines, ‘now, he’s the host of Thomas’ ghost’ and, for that sentiment alone, thank you.




11 responses

23 08 2014
S.C. Hickman

Nice, sounds like you’re having the time of your life! Do it!

23 08 2014

I could stand outside that shed and peer through the limy windows for hours. To be inside it was a treasure. To be inside it as a poet was invigorating.

13 09 2014

Thanks for the lyrical account, and for liking my blog post. Here’s to Dylan Thomas and the rest of the happy inhabitants of Llareggub Hill.

13 09 2014

(You may have already received this message–just wanted to warn you in advance) Thanks for the lyrical account and congratulations on your success. Also, thank you for liking my blog post. Long live the happy inhabitants of Llareggub Hill!

13 09 2014

Twice is always preferable! Many thanks for the comment. I’m in the shed again at the Chester Lit Fest. A danger of becoming typecast into glynfshedwards?

26 09 2014

I love the found poetry that makes a little coda:


26 09 2014

It was intended to look like a waiter’s order pad, but now I appreciate there seems an ironic subtext! Thanks

26 09 2014

Great piece with or without it!

26 09 2014

Thanks – I really enjoyed the Autumnal piece today on your blog

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