Feb 22, 2015

Dylan Thomas 2015 - An Interview With Lance Burns

AmeriCymru spoke to Lance Thomas Burns about the upcoming event 'Dylan Thomas 2015' at The Hill House Retreat, Llanstephan

AmeriCymru:  Hi Lance and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us about your upcoming event 'Dylan Thomas 2015'?

Lance: This retreat will take a personal approach to the life and work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas through discussing our own individual interpretations of his poetry and short stories, and the feelings they evoke.  We will also explore the connection between the written words and the spoken voice when interpreting Dylan’s poems.
There will be an opportunity to visit nearby sites connected to Dylan Thomas such as the village of Laugharne, where he lived the last years of his life, and the local Llansteffan pub, The Castle, which he frequented. You might try some reading aloud and writing as part of this retreat, and to prepare you in advance you will receive a compendium of Dylan’s poems and short stories.

The retreat takes place in the beautiful landscape of Carmarthenshire; there will be convivial dinners together but also free time to reflect individually. It’s about ‘You, Me and Dylan‘ and the land where some of Dylan Thomas’s greatest work was created.

We are very pleased to welcome the Swedish poet and Dylan Thomas authority, Klara Norling, to lead us through the ‘You, Me and Dylan‘ experience.  In her own words :
“I read my first Dylan Thomas book aged 13 and so fell in love for the first time… ”
“I have a firm belief that every individual is a paradox… and that poetry can be found in everything… ”  

AmeriCymru:  Hill House is located in Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire. What can you tell us about Llansteffan and the surrounding area?

Lance: Llansteffan is one of those rare but fast disappearing memorable Welsh villages. Once you’ve experienced the magical beauty of a sunset over the castle above the River Tywi,  it becomes very difficult to imagine how on earth, you’d ever managed to miss such a priceless gem. But then Llansteffan has been described as Wales’ best kept secret, a sort of Never Never land known only to locals.   Llansteffan, whilst still very Welsh in essence and character,  is also very cosmopolitan in outlook, and a hub of social activities.

Llansteffan is renowned for its twelfth-century Norman castle, now a ruin but in a good state of preservation. Entrance to the castle is free, and free parking is available at the main beach car park. It is one of a number of well-preserved castles which can be visited in this part of Wales.  The views from the castle are truly spectacular. Opposite the entrance to the driveway of Hill House is the medieval church of St Stephen, whose tower is visible from many windows of the house.

AmeriCymru:  What can you tell us about Hill House itself? Care to describe the accommodation?

Lance: Hill House is a distinctive Victorian villa  (1855) full of character and charm situated on a hillside overlooking the quaint village of Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. Hill House was built in 1855 as a ‘gentleman’s villa’ by Robert Parnall of Llansteffan, who made his fortune in the clothing trade in London. The beautiful situation and unique character of Hill House offers the visitor a memorable stay, where light, space, tranquility and natural beauty are a key part of the visitor’s experience.

Hill House is set amidst a peaceful and quiet location in a conservation area on the coast of West Wales and offers glorious beaches and woodland walks within easy walking distance of the house.

The accommodation at Hill House offers several options.  There are two large suites with private shower rooms, kitchenettes, period fireplaces and bay windows inside the Victorian house.  There is a quiet, modern apartment towards the back of the house with its own kitchen, shower room, second bedroom and a sitting room with a double sofabed.  There is also the Lookout Suite which takes up the entire top floor, and the Ground Apartment on the ground floor.

So the accommodation consists of the Ground floor flat,Grand Suite(first floor), Bay Studio(second floor), Lookout Suite (top floor) and the Garden Apartment.  

AmeriCymru: Care to describe your own relationship to the poet? What are your favourite works by Dylan?

Lance: My favourite book is "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog".  I find his writing very accessible and love his unique imagery.  Klara Norling, who is running the event introduced me to his work, so I am relative novice!
AmeriCymru:  How can people contact you for further details?

Lance: I will attach a "flyer", but further details are available through the website at www.hillhouseretreats.co.uk  ( view the flyer here )

AmeriCymru:  Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Lance: Just that, as this is the inaugural event, it would be brilliant to have Welsh expatriates to  add colour to the group!  We only have places for 8-10 guests so hopefully we will fill up and be able to run this event again.

Travelling so far, they might like to stay beforehand and/or after the actual event.

Llanstephan Castle

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