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Reading Dylan Thomas$
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Edward Allen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411554

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411554.001.0001

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Wave Power: The Effacement of the Caesura in Dylan Thomas’s Poetry

Wave Power: The Effacement of the Caesura in Dylan Thomas’s Poetry

(p.15) Chapter 1 Wave Power: The Effacement of the Caesura in Dylan Thomas’s Poetry
Reading Dylan Thomas

John Wilkinson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter attends to the supposed indulgence of Thomas’s poetry, and includes a positive valuation of the charge that Thomas’s work is masturbatory. It argues that in his poetry Thomas seeks to efface what Freud termed the caesura of birth, to collapse temporality and thus efface the caesura of death, and in certain late poems to erase the prosodic caesura through use of syllabics. The marked horror of heterosexual intercourse evident from the start in Thomas’s poems is linked to this endeavour to erase poetic thresholds, so generating the ever-changing unchangeability of ‘wave power’, an oceanic state incorporating past, present and future. The horizons of individual experience fold into the poem prosodically at the same time that the caesuras between earth, sea and air appear and are cancelled or confused. The chapter focuses its discussion on a reading of ‘Poem in October’ and draws on both psychoanalytical and theoretical poetic writing on caesura.

Keywords:   ‘Poem in October’, Caesura, Prosody, Syllabics, Psychoanalysis

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