Dear Members and Friends of the WPA,

I hope that you and your families have had a peaceful and very happy Christmas.

At the end of October a WPA party of 50+ of us based ourselves in Arras and from there we followed the ‘final hundred days’ of the First World War and the remarkable series of victories of Field Marshal Haig’s army through to the conclusion and the Armistice on 11 November 1918. We read poetry and considered a number of First World War poets, in particular  Edward Thomas, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen. The World’s Worst Wound was our third and final tour commemorating the centenary of the Great War.  Reports of our trips are elsewhere on this website. All of our visits were led by Andy Thompson and Jean Liddiard, to whom we owe very considerable thanks for their work for the WPA over these last four years.

The centenary years have produced some remarkable ways of remembering and commemorating the First World War — The poppies in November 2014 in ‘The Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red’ creation in the moat of the Tower of London; and then four years later and also at the Tower, the Armistice centenary tribute ‘Beyond the Deepening Shadow 10,000 flames’; Danny Boyle’s extraordinary ‘Pages of the Sea’ commemorative event on 11th November 2018 with portraits of soldiers on 32 beaches including one of Wilfred Owen on Sunny Sands, Folkestone, Kent; and also shown on television on 11th November, Peter Jackson’s use of colourised archive footage in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, showing the First World War as it had not been seen before.

And in these years our consideration of war poetry and the war poets has also been extended and now the works of women poets, Empire poets and  non-combatant poets.  This includes the poetry of ‘men and women who served at the Front, but not with a gun in their hand’ collected as ‘Poetry of Rescue in the First World War’  in Paul O’Prey’s recent anthology, Counter-Wave.  Poetry of other dimensions is increasingly presented to us.

The WPA will be involved in this.  We plan, without forsaking support for the poets of the First World War, increasingly to look at other war poets.  We suggested this in the last issue of our War Poetry Review with an article on Charles Causley and reviews of new books about Keith Douglas, Alun Lewis and Sidney Keyes.  We will be hearing much more about and from them.  In the Spring we will be having a meeting, probably in London, at which we will review what we have been doing and looking at what we will be doing. Details will be posted on the website once they are fixed.

The WPA Committee is changing. I will be reporting on this and details will also be posted here on the website as they happen.

And finally if you know anyone who might wish to join or who might be interested in the WPA do pass on the WPA’s details to them or put them in touch with us.  New members and support are always very welcome.

Best wishes for the New Year.

David Worthington

Chairman, War Poets Association

6th January 2019