Dylan Thomas Walking Tour printable PDF to take with you.
487 Hudson Street at the corner of Grove Street
Begin on the west side of Hudson just south of Grove.
On Friday, 13 November 1953, four days after Dylan Thomas had died, around 400 people attended a memorial service for him here in the 3rd oldest church in New York. His wife, Caitlin Thomas, along with other chief mourners, was at the front of the church. The gathering included poet e.e. cummings and sculptor David Slivka. It was also the day when a grieving Caitlin accompanied the coffined body of her husband, aboard the SS United States, on the long and lonely journey back to Britain.
Dylan was one of the most famous poets in the English-speaking world, and his popular and electrifying tours had made him a much loved celebrity in America. While touring, he had found himself in the company of some of the 20th century’s cultural greats including Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Thomas Mann, Henry Miller and Max Ernst. The sales of his books rivalled those of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W.H. Auden and John Betjeman. Dylan’s Collected Poems, published on 10 November 1952, sold 30,000 hardback copies in Britain within a couple of years, and went on to be even more successful in America.
His early and unexpected death was a great shock on both sides of the Atlantic. Leading British newspapers acknowledged his genius and his colourful lifestyle. The British poet Philip Larkin said, “I can’t believe that DT is truly dead. Three people who’ve altered the face of poetry and the youngest has to die.” The other two poets were Auden and Eliot. Vernon Watkins, a close friend of Dylan and Larkin, was, in fact, asked to write an obituary before Dylan was actually dead.