Category Archives: Poetry


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:

Armine Wodehouse in the Times of India

I’ve written here before about the war poetry of Armine Wodehouse (Pelham Grenville’s brother), and I’ve written more, by the way, in a contribution to the forthcoming collection of critical essays, Middlebrow Wodehouse. I knew that after the War Armine W. returned to India,and I knew that he contributed light verse to Punch. What I […]

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 […]


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