Category Archives: Poetry

Geoffrey Hill (1932 – 2016)

Geoffrey Hill has died, a remarkable poet and a profound critic. I heard him lecture  on war poetry at Oxford a few years ago, and wrote about it here.

Arnold Bennett and Friends – at Stoke

I had a very good day yesterday at the Arnold Bennett Society conference at Stoke-on Trent. I haven’t been to one of these annual shindigs since 2009 (I described that visit on this blog). Since then I’ve often wanted to return, but the conference date has clashed with other events where I have had standing […]

Ivor Gurney

This is just a note to say that Tim Kendall’s excellent documentary, ‘Ivor Gurney: The Poet who loved the War’, is now available to watch in full on Vimeo:

Edgar Wallace as War Poet

Edgar Wallace was once the best-known and best-selling author in Britain. His thrillers caused sensations and were read by just about everyone. His plays packed theatres.  His sales in Germany and elsewhere were immense, too. Is he still read, except as a curiosity? I don’t think his thrillers have worn as well as Sapper’s. He […]

Kipling’s ‘The Sons of the Suburbs’

I’m currently enjoying Peter Keating’s 1994 book, Kipling the Poet. (Peter Keating was one of my course tutors when I did my M.A. at the University of Leicester, back in the early seventies, and I can hear his voice in the book.) The chapter ‘Armageddon’, on the poetry Kipling wrote during the Great War is […]

Kipling and Horace

‘Tis cold ! Heap on the logs—and let’s get tight ! The Gods can turn this world for just one night. I will enjoy myself and be no scorner Of any nice girl giggling in a corner. That’s Rudyard Kipling’s compression of a twenty-four-line Ode by Horace (Book One, ix) into a quatrain. I like […]

Eliot and Wodehouse?

The new annotated edition of the poems of T.S.Eliot, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue is a delight and a revelation, and easily the most engrossing book that I have read in the past year. Its voluminous notes illuminate the familiar canonical poems, and it includes a wealth of hitherto unpublished or scattered material, […]

A war poem

I’ve written a lot here about other people’s war poems, so when one of my own is published, I might as well post it here too, even though the war is not the Great one that I usually write about. The  Spectator sets a literary challenge each week.  This time it asked us to imagine […]

‘We’

Re-reading J.G. Fuller’s very good book Troop Morale and Popular Culture in the British and Dominion Armies 1914-1918 (1990) I came across this poem (or maybe it’s just a snippet from a longer text – I don’t know) quoted from a 1917 issue of The Outpost (Journal of the Glasgow Commercial Bn.) No author is […]

F. W. Harvey in the Daily Mail

I was browsing around, looking at 1915 issues of the Daily Mail, searching a bit vaguely for something else entirely, when I was delighted to find an article featuring that very likeable poet, F. W. Harvey, and the story of how he won his medal:

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