Category Archives: Poetry

Twenties Novelists consider War Poets

I’ve just put online a paper I wrote a few years ago. It’s called ‘I too am a Murderer’: Representations of War Poets in Fictions of the 1920s. You can find it by clicking here. I first wrote it for the excellent Oxford centenary conference in 2014, where it was received quite well. I went […]

The 1921 Census

I’ve already posted about Evadne Price’s interesting appearance in the census, and will be adding a few more details about other writers in due course. I consulted the census at the Manchester Central Reference Library, a place dear to me since my BA student days, nearly sixty years ago. Apart from the National Archives at […]

Kipling does not mince his words

Ever since the sentimental film My Boy Jack, a myth has grown that his son’s death at Loos made Rudyard Kipling less warlike, more pacific. The evidence mostly points the other way. Kipling was tremendously affected by John’s death, of course, but in ways that made him even more committed to the war effort, more […]

A Kipling bargain

I can’t believe my luck. Some years ago, the Cambridge University Press published Thomas Pinney’s three-volume edition of Kipling’s collected poems. I blogged about the publication at the time, but the price of the set was £225 -beyond the budget of an ageing pensioner such as myself. A few weeks ago, loitering on Bookfinder.com, as […]

Charlotte Mew

This is just a note to say how much I am enjoying the new edition of Charlotte Mew’s Selected Poetry and Prose, edited by Julia Copus, and recently published by Faber. The Mew poems that speak most to me are her dramatic monologues, often with a touch of dialect, and the poems about people whose […]

‘Days beyond compare’

I’m still worrying at Kipling’s story ‘Dayspring Mishandled’. (I shall be giving a paper about it at the Kipling in the News conference in London in April.) It’s a story full of hints and ambiguities. The first paragraph is packed with them: IN the days beyond compare and before the Judgments, a genius called Graydon […]

T.S. Eliot and Nesta Webster

One vast conspiracy! To destroy the social order. Thank God, we have people alive to it! Nesta Webster, a great invigilator – laughed at, at the time. Now T.S. Eliot. You should read T.S. Eliot. One of the Master Minds of our age. A great influence. Restrained, fastidious, and yet a Leader. The Young adore […]

Playing with FaceApp

What kind of poet would Wilfred Owen have become had he survived the war? It’s one of the unanswerable questions that it’s fun to occasionally consider. It happened to be in the back of my mind when I was playing with the silly but clever little computer program, FaceApp, which takes any photo portrait and […]

A yawning poet

John Smart has left an interesting comment/question on the Parodies of Modernism page of this blog. Since the list of comments on the right hand side for some reason only lists comments on recent posts,  I’ll repeat his question here so that more people will see it . In 1917 Elizabeth Asquith held a Poets’ […]

Ben Shephard (1948-2017)

I am sorry to hear of the death of Ben Shephard, author of A War of Nerves. He died in October, but for some reason his obituary only appeared in the Guardian newspaper this morning. A War of Nerves cuts through many of the pieties about shell-shock and PSTD, and looks at the conditions, and […]