The other rock star poet named Dylan

In a review of a new biography of Dylan Thomas, Adam Kirsch reflects on the poet and his work.

Elizabeth Hardwick remembered how professors and students alike were mesmerized by his alcoholic high-wire act: “Would he arrive only to break down on the stage? Would some dismaying scene take place at the faculty party? Would he be offensive, violent, obscene? These were alarming and yet exciting possibilities.” As Andrew Lycett writes in his new biography, “Dylan Thomas: A New Life” (Overlook; $35), Thomas “exhibited the excesses and experienced the adulation which would later be associated with rock stars.”