Tony Curtis


Tony Curtis was born in Carmarthen in west Wales in 1946. He studied at Swansea University and Goddard College, Vermont, and is the author of several collections of poetry, including War Voices (1995); The Arches (1998); Heaven's Gate (2001) and Crossing Over (2007).


He has also written books of criticism, including How Poets Work (1996) and Welsh Painters Talking (1997), The Art of Seamus Heaney (1982) and Dannie Abse (1985). He is the editor of several books, including The Poetry of Pembrokeshire (1989); The Poetry of Snowdonia (1989); and Coal: an anthology of mining (1997).


In 2007, he edited the anthology, After the First Death, and published his latest collection of poetry, Crossing Over.


Tony Curtis is Emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of Glamorgan where he established Creative Writing in the 1980s and directed the M.Phil In Writing for many years. In 2001 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded a D. Litt in 2004.  He has toured extensively giving poetry readings and lectures and won the 1993 Dylan Thomas Award and a Cholmondeley Award in 1997. He lives in Barry, Wales.

Photograph by Jemimah Kuhfeld.

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Upcoming Events


Tony Curtis

My Life with Dylan Thomas Talk 2014 Centenary Tour

Professor Tony Curtis, poet and critic, presents his talk/reading based on the book published by Mulfran Press in a signed limited edition.

Feb 28th – the National Museum of Wales

March 13th – the Paris Lit Up reading, Paris

March 17th – the Cardiff and County Club Lunchtime Talk

March 20th – the Irish Writers Centre, Dublin 7pm

March 27th: chairing the Q&A (with Tom Hollander, Ruth Caleb and Gruff Rhys Jones) at the Wales premiere of the feature film “The Poet in New York” Cineworld, Cardiff  from 5.30.

April 10th– the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea 7.30

May 3rd – Radio interview with The Arts Hour, Australian National ABC Radio …

May 23rd – Tony’s curated Dylan Thomas Art Exhibition at King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, from 5pm and talk.

June 25th Worcester Lit Festival St John’s Church, 4pm (also a poetry reading at 7pm)

August 7th Penrallt Bookshop, Machynlleth   7.30 War Poems and Dylan at War

September 4th – Mulfran’s First Thursday at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. 7.30 –

September 13th – opening of Tony’s curated Dylan Thomas Art Exhibition at Art Central, Barry. From 2pm.

September 18th - Art Central, Barry - My Life with Dylan Thomas - the talk, – 7pm.

October 15th – University of Lincoln English and Creative Writing staff and students  2pm and 4.30..

October 25th – The Fitzrovia Festival in the Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London  3.30 - 4.45.

October 27th – The Nicholas Boas Charity soiree at Bob Boas’s house in 22, Mansfield Street, London 7pm for 7.30. With Suzi Digby, Dannie Abse, Clive Merrison, Elin Managhan Thomas, Tim Whitehead, the London Youth Choir and others.

October 29th – the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, lunchtime talk 1.15pm.

November 2nd – 2pm. Wantage/Betjeman Festival, Oxfordshire.

November 7th The Chilterns Welsh Society, Coleshill Village Hall. 7.30.

November – Swansea University – date to be confirmed.

November  11th – 24th USA  – Western Illinois U at Macomb and Bradley U. Peoria: Illinois and Gettysburg Seminary and St Mary Mount, Harrisburg, Maryland. – TBC

Check venue and organisations’ websites for confirmations and updates.

Tony Curtis was born in Carmarthen in 1946 and so for seven years shared that town with Dylan, his family and friends, for whom it was the main railway station and watering-hole on their way from Laugharne to the rest of the world.

Wales’s first Professor of Poetry describes being taught, as an undergraduate,   by Vernon Watkins at Swansea University in 1967 and he goes on to trace Dylan’s influence on his own writing and the experiences of other writers and artists, including Dannie Abse, Jonah Jones, John Pudney, John Ormond, Glyn Jones, Aeronwy Thomas and Ceri Richards.

Tony Curtis has published over thirty books, including eight collections of poetry and has won the Western Mail’s Dylan Thomas Prize and the Dylan Thomas Award for Spoken Poetry, judged by Dannie Abse and Dylan’s daughter Aeronwy.

My Life with Dylan Thomas is a flexible presentation with over fifty Powerpoint images; it can run from between 45 mins and an hour, with time for questions.

To learn more and to book the talk: please reply to this email. If in Wales, writers may be booked via Literature Wales and their website, who may pay 30% of the fee. Tony Curtis will advise about this.


Helen Dunmore in the Observer’s Summer Reads – "I also took the Welsh poet Tony Curtis's brief, funny and illuminating My Life with Dylan Thomas: "Dylan was the mountain you had to climb or bypass; tunnelling through him left you in the dark."

Jo Furber, Literature Officer, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea: “Thank you very much for such an engaging and erudite talk, which we thoroughly enjoyed.”

Valerie Bistany, Director of the Irish Writers Centre: “Thank you very much for a wonderful and enlightening reading last Thursday evening.  It was much complimented and enjoyed.”

Jane Clarke, poet: “In case anyone gets the chance to see it, I'd recommend Tony's show/presentation, My Life with Dylan Thomas. He had a packed audience in the Irish Writer's Centre last week with a very warm response.”

Shauna Busto-Gilligan, novelist: “At Dublin it was a lovely evening, very informative and also entertaining. Another view of Dylan Thomas.”

Mel Gooding, Art Critic:  “I’m delighted your delightful and cunning little book is getting so many airings.”


On the first day of Dylan’s centenary year I called in at his regular watering-hole The Boar’s Head in Carmarthen. There would surely be a plaque, possibly details of a Dylan-themed weekend. The bar-man stared blankly back at me as I asked about Dylan and what they had planned. Nothing

“It’s Felinfoel brewery that owns it,” he said.

“I think they might be missing a trick,” I said.

“Can I get you anything?” he said.

I walked out into Lammas Street: Dark Gate to the right and directly across the road the English Baptist Church’s four-column Corithian portico loomed behind its narrow iron-railing gates. Augustus John punched Dylan Thomas right here, between alcoholic oblivion and the bible-bound gaze of the Lord’s people. Then, leaving the roaring boy flat on his back in the road, he bundled Caitlin into his car and, having his wicked way with the gear-box, drove off into the sunset towards Laugharne.


From my father’s work-shop on our way back home to Pentrefelin Street we’d make our way up Lammas Street towards Brian the Butcher’s whose plumped breasts, splayed legs and firm sausages were carefully weighed and wrapped as double entendres. It is a sunny autumn day with candy floss clouds and not a hint of rain from the west. As we pass the Boar’s Head Hotel a man emerges, half-stumbling, loudly proclaiming in mid-sentence, “…Carmarthen, Carmarthen, on my pennyfarthen’…” and my mother takes my hand more firmly and pulls me a little too quickly down the street.




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