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 during the completion of 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 hope to include posts by our contributors over the next few months as well as interviews and excerpts of their work.
Follow us as we near completion of the England Remembered Book in preparation for a website and crowdfunding launch in Autumn 2019.
(This non-profit charity book provides donations for H4H (Help for Heroes) and will be available to purchase in Winter 2019.)
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