Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Forgotten Poets of the First World War

I began this commemorative exhibition project in May 2012 when, at the request of Dean Johnson of The Wilfred Owen Story in Birkenhead, Wirral, UK, I looked for women who wrote poetry during WW1 for an exhibition at the WOS in November of that year.   I decided that I did not want to include the well-known poets because they get a great deal of coverage, instead I looked for those who were lesser known, such as Rosaleen Graves, sister of Robert.  Rosaleen was a nurse in London and France during WW1.

I also decided that, as this was the first truly world war and affected every country in the world, I wanted to include poets from as many countries as possible.  I am still adding to the list and still searching for women poets from other countries.  You can find out my progress so far by clicking on "List..." at the top of each weblog page.

Those who follow my other weblogs will know that when I found out about Mary Riter Hamilton, the Canadian artist who was commissioned by the Canadian War Amputees Association to go and paint the aftermath on the Western Front in France in 1919, I could not leave her out and so added "Inspirational Women of World War One".

As I continued searching, I came upon a gentleman called Philip Gosse.  Gosse was a doctor with a practice in the New Forest and he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of WW1.   Gosse became the official Rat Catcher Officer of the 2nd British Army on the Western Front and his story was so fascinating that I couldn't leave it out - cue another heading "Fascinating Facts of the Great War".

Just recently, some relatively unknown male poets have been brought to my attention so I have decided to create a further section in order to include them all - Forgotten Poets of the First World War.   As with the other sections, I should like to include poets from as many countries of the world as possible to reflect the global impact of the conflict.  In order to do that, some of the poetry included may not be about war.

Please let me know if you have any names to add to any of the lists.

If you have not been able to visit an exhibition, there are companion books available which give you a rough idea of the project - see  for details.  Exhibition panels are printed in black on white card and are A3 size with brief biographical details, a photograph where possible and one or two poems, etc.  I do not comment on the poems but let the poets speak for themselves.  If you would like to organise an exhibition do please get in touch.

The project is in loving memory of my Maternal Grandfather Lewis Jackson who was an Old Contemptible with the Royal Field Artillery.  Grandfather survived the war but my Great-Uncle James Yule was killed at Arras on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 - the same day as the poets R.E.Vernède and Edward Thomas were killed.   James has no known grave but is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in France.

Photos: Commemorative James Yule, Arras Memorial and panels at the exhibition at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood, August 2014