Dylan Thomas: Especially When the October Wind

Seminar Paper, 2005

12 Pages, Grade: 2.3


Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

2.0 “Especially When the October Wind”
2.1 The Form
2.2 The Content
2.3 Stylistic Means

3.0 Conclusion

4.0 Bibliography

1.0 Introduction

Dylan Thomas’s 18 Poems was published in December of 1934, when he was only 20 years old[1]. Even though the poet was almost still a teenager, this collection, “… exhibited the deeper insight and superb craftmanship of a major twentieth century English poet.”[2] Ackerman tells us that 18 Poems was the product of a young and obsessed mind. He also mentions the unity of theme, technique and attitude in Thomas’s first collection of poetry.[3] Actually, the first half of his poetic work was written within eight years. It was produced in his period of adolescence and early manhood. This extraordinary creative period started when Thomas was 16 years old and ended when he was 24 years old.[4]

It is very noteworthy that such praised poetry was written at such a young age, since poetry is the most concentrated literary genre. Language is reduced and the core of a problem, or a fact is presented right away. Usually, it takes an experienced and wise mind to produce essential literature like poetry.

The poem, which will be discussed in this paper is “Especially When the October Wind”. It was first published on October 24 in 1934, a couple of days before Dylan’s birthday, though he did not publish it as a ‘birthday poem.’[5] Later, it was also published as one of Dylan’s 18 Poems and therefore belongs to that highly respected series of poems that Dylan produced as a young man.[6]

Predominantly, it could be labeled as a fall, or “October poem,”[7] because a fall scene at the seaside is presented. As always with Thomas however, there are various levels of interpretation possible and the fall scene only seems to be the outward layer of a multidimensional understanding of the poem.

In this paper, I would like to go into detail about the form, content and stylistic means of “Especially When the October Wind.” I will cite various Dylan Thomas experts on this poem to show how diversely Thomas poetry can be understood. Finally, I would like to focus on my personal understanding of “Especially When the October Wind,” which is not always congruent with that of the Dylan Thomas experts.

2.0 “Especially When the October Wind”

2.1 The Form

The discussed poem has four stanzas and each stanza has eight lines. Therefore, “Especially When the October Wind” contains a total of 32 lines. Although the poem appears to be in a set form – with at least the same number of lines for each stanza – none of the fixed poetic forms fit Dylan’s ‘October poem.’[8]

The literary form that comes closest to that of the poem in focus is the Italian sonnet. It starts out with eight lines (“octave”) and it ends with six lines (“sestet”), therefore it has a total of fourteen lines.[9] Of course, “Especially When the October Wind” does not have this form. Two lines of the last stanza are in parentheses, though:

“(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,

The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)”[10]

Thus, the last stanza could also be counted with only six lines.

The Sonnet, as well as the Italian Sonnet, often presents a situation that is commented upon, or resolved in the last part of the poem.[11] This is also true for the poem in focus, but I will go more into detail about its content in the main part of this paper.

Ryhmes can also be found in the discussed poem. The first and the last stanza do not have rhymes, but the second and the third stanza contain so-called “full” and “near rhymes.”[12] In general, the first and the last stanza seem to have certain aspects in common, but this will also be examined in the main part of this paper.

“Mark” and “park”[13] in stanza two are full rhymes, because the phonemes of the two words are congruent, except for one. “Signs” and “sins”[14] from stanza three are near rhymes, because more than one phoneme differs between those two words. The given rhymes are also “end rhymes,”[15] due to their position at the end of the line. Furthermore, “mark” and “park,” “beeches” and “speeches,” “clock” and “cock,” “signs” and “sins,”


[1] John Ackermann, A Dylan Thomas Companion: Life Poetry and Prose (Houndsmill: Macmillan, 1991) 75.

[2] „Thomas, Dylan.“ Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online 12 Jan. 2005 <http://www.search.eb.com./eb/article?tocld=9072164>

[3] John Ackermann, Dylan Thomas: His Life and Work (Houndsmill: Macmillan, 1964) 38.

[4] Ackermann, Life 38.

[5] Ackerman, Companion 81.

[6] Ackermann, Life 57.

[7] Ackermann, Companion 81.

[8] Michael Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1996) 762-783.

[9] Meyer 765.

[10] Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems (New York: New Directions Books, 1953) 20.

[11] Meyer, 765.

[12] Vera and Ansgar Nünning Grundkurs anglistisch-amerikanische Literaturwissenschaft (Stuttgart: Klett, 2001) 62-63.

[13] Thomas 19.

[14] Thomas 19.

[15] Meyer 728.

Excerpt out of 12 pages


Dylan Thomas: Especially When the October Wind
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
PS Dylan Thomas
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Dylan, Thomas, Especially, When, October, Wind, Dylan, Thomas
Quote paper
Daniela Daus (Author), 2005, Dylan Thomas: Especially When the October Wind, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/53329


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