Category Archives: Poetry

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 Its voluminous notes illuminate the familiar canonical poems, and it includes a wealth of hitherto unpublished or scattered material, […]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:

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 […]