I’ve just received a copy of the first issue of the Wilfred Owen Association Journal. (It used to be the Newsletter, but it has been re-christened and re-launched, complete with ISSN number.)
The Journal contains some interesting biographical snippets and a guide to Owen’s Edinburgh that I shall definitely make use of as and when I re-visit that city. I particularly liked a short essay about Owen’s Schoolmistress, which locates the poem in a particular house in Ripon:
Having, with bold Horatius, stamped her feet
And waved a final swashing arabesque
O’er the brave days of old, she ceased to bleat,
Slapped her Macaulay back upon the desk,
Resumed her calm gaze and her lofty seat.
There, while she heard the classic lines repeat,
Once more the teacher’s face clenched stern;
For through the window, looking on the street,
Three soldiers hailed her. She made no return.
One was called ‘Orace whom she would not greet.
Dr Roger Kendall has done some good detective work, with the help of Kelly’s Directory, reckons that he has located a private girls’ school in Ripon, with windows facing the pavement, that Owen would frequently have passed when walking from the camp to the town. Intriguingly the owner of the school was called Sarah Jane Aslin, and Owen is known to have visited some of the Aslin family when at Ripon camp.
There is also a description of Wellington Quarry in Arras – recently inaugurated as a museum/monument commemorating the tunnelers. Another place I’d like to go.
The issue finishes up with some book reviews, including my own review of the excellent poetry anthology edited by Hibberd and Onions, The Winter of the World.
You can find out more about the Wilfred Owen Association here.