Category Archives: Poetry

Some better ones from Jessie Pope

Jessie Pope always gets a bad press these days, especially from teachers who use her as an example of how not to write a war poem. Was she always that dreadful? I’ve just become an Honorary Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, and one of the perks is that I get access to databases through […]

Margate, 1922

In The Waste Land (1922). T.S. Eliot, having spent time in Margate while recovering from a nervous breakdown, wrote: “On Margate Sands. I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken finger-nails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing.” In 1922 (the annus mirabilis of modernism) Margate was also referenced in another key […]

Why teach Jessie Pope?

Jessie Pope is no longer a household name, but during World War One she was one of the most widely read poets. After decades in obscurity she has re-emerged to become a fixture on the English literature syllabus, but for all the wrong reasons. That’s the beginning of The WW1 Poet Kids are Taught to […]

G. F. Bradby

Last week, as I mentioned, I was impressed by this Kipling parody, which I found in the conscientious objectors’ magazine, The Tribunal Processional Lord God of battles, whom we seek On clouds and tempests throned afar, When, tired of being tamely weak, We maffick into deadly war. If it should chance to be a sin, […]

Kipling in ‘The Tribunal’

I’m mostly working on an essay about Kipling at the moment, so my day at Bradford reading the conscientious objectors’ paper The Tribunal was quite a bracing change of tone and political attitude. I was therefore slightly surprised when I found Kipling within these pacifist pages. As well as news of tribunals, and of the […]

Rupert Brooke in Space

On Newsnight tonight, Benedict Cumberbatch read out an astonishing memo. It was written to Richard Nixon in 1969, at the time of the Apollo mission to the moon. William Safire had been asked to draft a speech for the President to make to the nation in preparation for the worst eventuality: that the astronauts, having […]

Register of effects – Julian Grenfell, Edward Thomas, Saki

Yesterday I mentioned the Register of Soldiers’ Effects, which lists monies paid to the family of those killed in action, and showed Isaac Rosenberg’s record as an example. Officers’ records are listed by initial rather than by full Christian names. Here, from early in the War, is Julian Grenfell’s record. Click on it for a […]

Isaac Rosenberg’s death payment

Online now at Ancestry.co.uk is a new resource, the Soldiers’ Effects Registers, which show the money paid by the British Government to the next of kin of men killed in action in WWI and the Boer War. As an example, here is the record of Isaac Rosenberg. It shows the final balance of his pay, […]

T. S. Eliot and Haig’s funeral

On 7 February, 1928, T. S. Eliot wrote a letter to his mother, describing Douglas Haig’s funeral procession, on its way to Westminster Abbey: The funeral started at the Scotch church, which was flying the Scotch flag at half-mast [….] Well then there were the Scotch pipers of the Guards, and they started the ‘Lament […]

Kipling, ‘Lyde’, Lloyd and Lauder

The Kipling Journal arrived yesterday. The journal is now eedited by Janet Montefiore, who seems to be full of good ideas, especially about special issues devoted to a particular Kipling topic. This issue concentrates on Kipling’s poetry, and includes a range of his poems, each with a commentary by an expert or enthusiast. All are […]

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