Dylan Thomas is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and he is easily the most famous writer from Wales. To mark the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, Visit Wales brought together a number of groups and organizations to host numerous events related to the poet’s life. As a part of the yearlong celebration of Thomas’s life, the group also produced a literary map.
Unlike other maps that we have seen for specific authors, works, or regions, this map is also a collection of events. Calendar icons indicate the locations where events such as readings took place during 2014.
Alongside these markers are more traditional pins, which indicate locations that were significant enough to Thomas for him to have included them in his writing. Each marker on the map opens a small popup with an image and a link to a page that provides a detailed description of the event or the location. Many of the descriptions of the places include both information about how Thomas was connected to the place and where references to the place appeared in his work.
I was delighted to discover a marker for Fern Hill, the subject of my favorite Dylan Thomas poem. As many times as I had read this poem, it never occurred to me that it was in fact a real place he was describing. In retrospect this seems foolish, but his words create a fantastic world that had always seemed to be describing another reality. Recognizing these connections, of course, is the main goal of Booma.
Overall the map is exceptionally thorough for focusing on a single author. The group focused on making the events for Thomas’s birthday interactive and much of this has been captured in the links from the map. Other than the inability to link to a specific location on the map, I admire the overall design and layout of the map.
Maps are a great way to celebrate literary events and specific authors, and for a writer as significant to his country as Thomas, it is not surprising that Visit Wales would do so much to celebrate his life and the places he knew intimately. My only hope is that after events like these and the initial fanfare passes, the maps themselves and the important information they contain will be preserved.
Have you been under the apple boughs? Know any other maps created for a single event? We would love to hear about your it in the comments below or by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.