Why a book of images to link poetry from the Great War with modern-day responses?
By way of explanation, I would like to share my notes as Editor for the England Remembered Book.
“Love of the English countryside draws me to the romantic poetry of Wordsworth with his vision of golden daffodils ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’(1) and Housman’s Cherry Tree ‘hung with bloom along the bough’.(2) Yet it is the patriotic verse of Rupert Brooke, whose thoughts of home ‘hearts at peace, under an English heaven’(3) which seems to embody the emotive power of England’s pastoral scene.
The poetry penned by the Soldier Poets of the Great War 1914-18 has provided the inspiration for the photographs contained within the book England Remembered. The images symbolising the nations collective memory and uniting geographical imagination with a sense of national identity. Placed with these poems, they offer a calm backdrop to the relentless turmoil experienced by the Poets. The animation lines created by Helen June Crumpholt, blend the visual and written content further, their sinuous forms distilling each image down to its very essence.
Although these tragic events have now slipped from living memory, the emotional legacy lingers as part of our collective psyche. Here a group of modern-day writers and poets have joined together to explore their feelings for a fateful generation. The responses guide us through a myriad of emotions from Simon Root’s plea ‘Let the angels weep for you’(4) to Denise Bennett’s letter where ‘the same moon lights the darkness of my trench, and I taste your kiss’.(5) The imagery of their figurative language creating pictures in our minds and allowing the reader to complete this sensory circle”.
Jacky Dillon MA
This blog offers the opportunity to share current research for the soldier poets’ biographies and to introduce our modern day writers and poets (more details in the About section). This is very much a collaborative project and I will be including posts by our contributors as well as interviews and excerpts of their work.
Follow us as I continue work on the England Remembered Book. Hopefully, you will find these posts interesting and join us for the website launch and crowdfunding events in Summer 2021.
(This non-profit charity book provides donations for H4H (Help for Heroes) and will be available to purchase in Autumn/Winter 2021 – Many apologies for the delay in publication.)
Hear more about the visual connections between poetry and art and an update on recent progress with the England Remembered Book (March 2020) – Writer & Photographer Jacky Dillon in conversation with Poet Denise Bennett – Poetry & Art – The England Remembered Book
There is now @englandremembered on instagram to share the amazing archive images of the Soldier Poets, their friends and families with snippets from these posts. Read more at England Remembered Instagram.
England Remembered Book and Cover designed by Natalie Dowse
Header image Duotone © Jacky Dillon (Edwardian Pergola, West Dean Gardens)
(1) Wordsworth, William – I wandered lonely as a Cloud – (Poems in Two Volumes 1807)
(2) Housman, A.E. – Loveliest of trees, the cherry now – (A Shropshire Lad II 1896)
(3) Brooke, Rupert – The Soldier – (Sonnets ‘1914’ New Numbers Magazine 1915)
(4) Roots, Simon – Desolation Angels (2014) – England Remembered p36
(5) Bennett, Denise – Letter to… (2014) – England Remembered p52