Grey Gowrie considered R. S. Thomas as an Anglican or, as Thomas would prefer, an episcopalian poet, and place him in the context of other poets unfazed by the devotional: T. S. Eliot, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden and Geoffrey Hill. He illustrated his talk with readings from R.S. Thomas.
Grey Gowrie has interviewed R. S. Thomas and read Thomas poems with him at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. Born in Dublin in 1939, he made his home in Ireland until 1983, though he professionally engaged in England and the USA. He taught English and American Literature at Harvard and UCL and in 1972, on publishing his first book of poems, he left an academic career for business and public life. He has been Minister for the Arts, Chairman of the Arts Council of England and Provost of the Royal College of Art. He and his wife have lived in the Welsh Marches since 1983 and he is a member of the Welsh Academy. Third Day, a selection of his poems, was published in 2008 and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and a Guardian and TLS book of the year. The Italian Visitor, a new selection, was published in 2013, and his Collected Poems will be published in the US this autumn.
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