R. S. Thomas

Ronald Stuart Thomas (1913 – 2000), published as R. S. Thomas, was a poet and Anglican priest who was noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the anglicisation of Wales. John Betjeman, in his 1955 introduction to Song at the Year’s Turning, the first collection of Thomas’s poetry to be produced by a major publisher, predicted that Thomas would be remembered long after he himself was forgotten. M. Wynn Thomas said: “He was the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn of Wales because he was such a troubler of the Welsh conscience. He was one of the major English language and European poets of the 20th century. Thomas was an ardent supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and described himself as a pacifist, but also supported the Meibion Glyndŵr fire bombings of English-owned holiday cottages in rural Wales. On this subject he said in 1998, “What is one death against the death of the whole Welsh nation?” He was also active in wildlife preservation and worked with the RSPB and Welsh volunteer organisations for the preservation of the red kite. He resigned his RSPB membership over their plans to introduce non-native kites to Wales.


  • The Stones of the Field (1946) Druid Press, Carmarthen
  • An Acre of Land (1952) Mongtomeryshire Printing Co, Newtown
  • The Minister (1953) Mongtomeryshire Printing Co, Newtown
  • Song at the Year’s Turning (1955) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • Poetry for Supper (1958) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • Judgement Day, Poetry Book Society, 1960
  • Tares, [Corn-weed] (1961) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • The Bread of Truth (1963) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • Words and the Poet (1964, lecture) University of Wales Press, Cardiff
  • Pietà (1966) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • The Mountains (1968) illustrations by John Piper, Chilmark Press
  • Postcard: Song (1968) Fishpaste Postcard Series
  • Not That He Brought Flowers (1968) Rupert Hart-Davis, London
  • H’m (1972) Macmillan, London
  • Selected Poems, 1946–1968, Hart-Davis MacGibbon, 1973 and St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1974; Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1986
  • What is a Welshman? (1974) Christopher Davies Publishers, Swansea
  • Laboratories of the Spirit (1975) Macmillan, London
  • Abercuawg (1976, lecture) Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru
  • The Way of It (1977) Ceolfrith Press, Sunderland
  • Frequencies (1978) Macmillan, London
  • Between Here and Now (1981) Macmillan, London
  • Later Poems, 1972–1982 (1983) Macmillan (London)
  • A Selection of Poetry (1983) edited by D. J. Hignett, Hignett School Services
  • Poets’ Meeting (1983) Celandine
  • Ingrowing Thoughts (1985) Poetry Wales Press, Bridgend
  • Neb (1985) (Welsh, third person autobiography), Gwasg Gwynedd, Caernarfon
  • Destinations (1985) Celandine
  • Poems of R. S. Thomas (1985) University of Arkansas Press
  • Experimenting with an Amen (1986) Macmillan, London
  • Welsh Airs (1987) Seren, Bridgend
  • The Echoes Return Slow (1988) Macmillan, London
  • Counterpoint (1990) Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Blwyddyn yn Llŷn (1990) (in Welsh)
  • Pe Medrwn Yr Iaith : ac ysgrifau eraill ed. Tony Brown & Bedwyr L. Jones, (1990) (essays, in Welsh) Christopher Davies Publishers, Swansea
  • Cymru or Wales? (1992) Gomer Press
  • Mass for Hard Times (1992) Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Collected Poems, 1945–1990 (1993) Dent
  • No Truce with the Furies (1995) Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Residues (2002, posthumously) Bloodaxe Books, Tarset
  • Collected Later Poems 1988–2000 (2004, posthumously) Bloodaxe Books, Tarset

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