Out of the Dockyard School classroom Tony Clarke and Mike
Thompson attended Harri's Workers Education Association (WEA) evening classes
on English Literature held at the Teacher Training College in Portsmouth. So
they probably knew Harri better than most of the 4th year. Mike can recall
going back to his house to listen to his, and others, poetry over a pint in
mugs made by his very attractive potter wife.
John Flower's father got
to know him quite well for they drank at the same pub and occasionally assisted
him home. As for John he felt very uneasy that his father and one of his
teachers were that friendly.
It is unlikely that any of his students
knew of his interesting past and or learn of his future as the following
JONES, THOMAS HENRY (1921-1965), poet and literary
critic, was born on 21 December 1921 at Cwm Crogau, near Llanfihangel Bryn
Pabuan, Brecknockshire, Wales, only son and eldest of five children of Llewelyn
Morgan Jones, road-mender, and his wife Ruth, née Teideman. Although his
father spoke Welsh, Harri and his siblings adopted their mother's language,
English. The bare hills and hard weather of the isolated region where he was
raised were to provide the imagery for many of his poems. He attended (from
1932) the county school at nearby Builth Wells, wrote proficiently, was adept
at languages and poetry, and won a scholarship in 1939 to the University
College of Wales, Aberystwyth (B.A., 1945; M.A., 1947).
studies, in 1941 Jones joined the Royal Navy. He served in the Mediterranean
and experienced the horrors of the Malta convoys-which he recorded in later
poems-before being demobilized in 1946 as a leading wireless telegraphist. On
14 December that year at the register office, Camberwell, London, he married
Fanny Christina Madeleine Scott, an art student who became a potter. From 1951
he taught English at the Portsmouth Dockyard School (later Technical College).
His poetry first appeared in the Welsh Review in 1946. Over the next ten years
he was remarkably productive. (Sir) Rupert Hart-Davis unhesitatingly published
The Enemy in the Heart (London, 1957) and the three volumes which followed:
Songs of a Mad Prince (1960), The Beast at the Door (1963) and, after Jones's
death, The Colour of Cockcrowing (1966).
In 1959 Jones was appointed a
lecturer (senior lecturer from 1962) in English at Newcastle University College
and emigrated to New South Wales. Participating enthusiastically in the local
literary community, he published verse and reviews in Quadrant and Meanjin. A
number of the poems he wrote in Australia dealt with his sense of exile and his
resentment at having to live abroad due to the lack of opportunities in Wales.
There are, however, poems which show his delight in his new home and the
enjoyment of friends and children. The monograph, Dylan Thomas (Edinburgh,
1963), established his claims as a critic. He accidentally drowned in the
waters of the Bogey Hole, Newcastle, on 29 January 1965; survived by his wife
and three daughters, he was cremated with Anglican rites and his ashes were
buried at Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan.
Jones's early poetry was highly
formal and mannered. His writings later assumed a more muscular and individual
voice, though the rhetorical cadences of Milton and the Bible can still be
heard. Much of his work was concerned with the temptations of sensuality and
with the puritan traditions of the Nonconformist Welsh churches. Australia
became the hedonist antithesis of the Spartan theology and life of Wales. At
the time of his death, his work had developed an authority and fluency which
enhanced his reputation in Wales as one of the best Anglo-Welsh poets of the
1950s and 1960s. His Australian poems are fine records of the postwar
immigration experience and have often been included in anthologies. The
Collected Poems of T. Harri Jones (Llandysul, Wales, 1977) depicts a form of
his name he never used.
Author: Julian Croft
Dictionary of Biography