Category Archives: Poetry

Ted Hughes

I spent yesterday at the Ted Hughes conference in the smart Heritage Quay suite at Huddersfield University. I gave a paper titled ‘Ted Hughes and Gallipoli’, about his representations of his father’s war (William Hughes was on the peninsula with the 1st/5th Lancashire Fusiliers and, Hughes wrote, remained ‘undemobbed’, still troubled by his experiences for […]

The National Service Board – and A.E. Housman

In 1940 Percy Withers recalled occasions when, during the previous war, he had told A.E. Housman about his work at the National Service Board: He was greatly interested too in the technicalities of the work, the material it exploited, the revelations it brought to light, the ugliness, the momentary relief, the sordidness, the enduring pity. […]

Sassoon and slanginess

An article in the Guardian alerts us to an interesting new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. It tells the story of a century of anti-war protest, and one of the exhibits is a manuscript copy of ‘The General’ by Siegfried Sassoon.

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, […]