Poetry as autobiography
in R. S. Thomas

This chapter explores the idea of poetry as autobiography using R. S. Thomas's poem 'This To Do'. 'This To Do' is a good place to start because it falls 'on the cusp', as it were, of Thomas's geographical move and a corresponding intensification of the autobiographical instinct. It is a good start of place also because it says something about what poetry as autobiography is for Thomas. The chapter relies upon Michel de Montaigne's writings in his Essays and on much of the prose work of Seamus Heaney. It suggests specific parallels in the theoretical work of Charles Olson and Wallace Stevens, and in the poetry of Derek Walcott. In addition to these parallels, the author wants also to suggest that Thomas's 'project' in autobiography has much in common with Carl Jung's theories of the subconscious and unconscious as Jung writes in Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

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R. S. Thomas

Identity, environment, and deity

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