Byron Rogers' biography of Wales's national poet and vicar, R.S. Thomas has been hailed as a 'masterpiece', even as a work of 'genius', by reviewers from Craig Brown to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Within someone considered a wintry, austere and unsociable curmudgeon, Rogers has unearthed an extremely funny story - 'riotously' so, in Rowan Williams' words. Thomas is widely considered as one of the twentieth-century's greatest English language poets. His bitter yet beautiful collections on Wales, its landscape, people and identity, reflect a life of political and spiritual asceticism. Indeed, Thomas is a man who banned vacuum cleaners from his house on grounds of noise, whose first act on moving into an ancient cottage was to rip out the central heating, and whose attempts to seek out more authentically Welsh parishes only brought him more into contact with loud English holidaymakers. To Thomas's many admirers this will be a surprising, sometimes shocking, but at last humanising portrait of someone who wrote truly metaphysical poetry.
Byron Rogers is a Welsh journalist, essayist and biographer. He has contributed to The Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Guardian, and was once a speech writer for the Prince of Wales. He is also author of seven books published by Aurum, including: An Audience With an Elephant, one of several collections of his journalism; The Man Who Went into the West, a critically acclaimed biography of the iconic twentieth century Welsh poet, R. S. Thomas, which was awarded the James Tait Black Prize for Biography in 2007; and The Last Englishman, a biography of the quintessential Englishman and celebrated novelist J.L. Carr. Me: The Authorised Biography, was published in 2009. His most recent book is Three Journeys. He currently lives in Northamptonshire and Carmarthen.