Susan Daicoff

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Forum Home > Poetry Analysis (a little offtopic) > Poem Comparisons and Some Hypotheses

S. Daicoff
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At our house, in an analysis of Mother Night, the poem originally published in Century Magazine and later in the 1922 anthology of African-American poets' works, edited by the famous African-American writer, poet, and lyricist James Weldon Johon, a striking resemblance to Dylan Thomas' even more famous poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, became apparent.  We found a number of words that were similar, concepts that were either identical or exactly opposite, and great parallels.  Fascinated, we did some research to discover that Thomas, who was said to have written his poem in 1950 or 1951, could have possibly read Johnson's poem, written before 1922.  Notably, Thomas visited the US for the first time in 1950, going to New York (and dying there, in 1953, in what sounds like a drunken spree).  Johnson was part of the Harlem Renaissance in 1920-40 and was a professor at New York University, so his influence could easily have still been present in the City in 1950 among the intelligentsia and bohemians.  What bothers me is that the Thomas poem seems more well-known and yet the Johnson poem may have actually inspired many of Thomas' lines!  More to come.... 9/19/11

September 19, 2011 at 7:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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