Poet Dylan Thomas - dirty, naughty,always lovable

As famous for a life of heavy drinking and showmanship as his often tender poetry, Dylan Thomas, who died 60 years ago this week, had quite a following. But as Jonathan deBurca Butler discovers, much of the bravado was an act that ultimately killed him

Shock: Dylan Thomas actively encouraged the perception of himself as a poetic drunk with a willingness to shock. Something which his wide fanbase enjoyed, particularly in America

Jonathan deBurca Butler

By the age of 20 Dylan Thomas was already something of a celebrity. His first collection of poetry entitled 18 Poems, although initially received without much fuss, had gradually come to be highly-regarded amongst the artists, critics and literati of London. He had moved there from his native Swansea less than a year beforehand and had become as well-known for his drunkenness and his willingness to shock as his poetry. He was, as one of his contemporaries put it, "like a toddler" – always dirty, always naughty but irresistibly loveable.