A nationwide beach event organised by director Danny Boyle to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War will take place tomorrow, 11 November, Armistice Day. Danny Boyle has also commissioned a new poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, The Wound In Timewhich will be read on the beaches:

THE WOUND IN TIME

It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018

(All rights reserved.)

Members of the public are invited to assemble at any one of dozens of beaches around the UK on 11 November to hear the new poem, and perhaps other poetry. Visitors to each location will also see a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the war drawn into the sand at low tide and washed away as the tide comes in.

These events may be of particular interest to those who attended the WPA’s and Eyewitness Tours’ battlefields tour to the Western Front last month and will have heard the Association’s Chairman, David Worthington, reading Carol Ann Duffy’s new poem and explaining about Boyle’s forthcoming event on many beaches around Britain. To find where the nearest event will take place on a beach near you, or read more about what is happening, visit the The Pages of the Sea project website and map.

These events, named Pages of the Sea, are part of 14-18 NOW, Britain’s official Arts programme to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The draft itinerary below has been produced by Eyewitness Tours Ltd for the third in their series of battlefield tours organised for the WPA to commemorate the centenary of the First World War and the lives and writing of poets who fought on the Western Front 1914—1918.

A copy of the itinerary published as a PDF by Eyewitness Tours Ltd may be downloaded here for easy printing. Contact Andy Thompson by e-mail via the Eyewitness Tours website at http://eyewitnesstours.com/about to enquire about any details or remaining places available for the 2018 Tour.

Click on ‘Battlefield Tours’ on the top menu of this WPA website for further details of previous tours, which have all been related to war poets and their poetry.

Battlefields Tour:

The World’s Worst Wound

27—30 October 2018

Draft itinerary:

Saturday 27th October 2018

Once across the Channel, we drive to directly to Arras to begin the tour at the observation post where Edward Thomas was killed on April 9th 1917. We continue our study of Thomas at his grave at Agny Military Cemetery, before checking into the Hotel de l’Univers, a 4* hotel that has been tastefully developed in a beautiful building that was once a hospital. The historic centre of Arras is a short walk away.

Dinner will be served in the hotel dining room.

Sunday 28th October 2018

After breakfast, we depart Arras and travel north along the former Western Front and head for the Ypres Salient. The British Army defended ‘Wipers’ (Ypres) for the duration of the war and suffered appalling casualties in the putrefying, cloying, mud. We examine the impact of the Battle of Passchendaele where Sassoon, Blunden, Graves, Gurney and David Jones all struggled through the mud, chaos and confusion and look at how their experiences shaped their views
during and after the war. Sassoon’s damning verdict of the battle “I died in hell, they called it Passchendaele” expressed the thoughts of many. The Americans fought at Ypres in 1918 and our time in the Salient will allow us to study how the War was viewed across the Atlantic.

We dine at a restaurant in the Grote Markt set against the backdrop of the great Cloth Hall in Ypres, before participating in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. We then return to Arras.

Monday 29th October 2018

After breakfast, we depart for Ors where Wilfred Owen was killed on 4th November 1918 leading a desperate bid to cross the Sambre canal, where the German Army was making a last-ditch stand. We then enjoy a private visit to the Maison Forestière where, in a crowded cellar, Owen wrote his final letter to his mother. At his grave we will read some of his most powerful words before travelling to St Symphorien Military Cemetery. Here, at the graves of Private Parr (KIA 21st August 1914) & Private Ellison (KIA 11th November 1918), we will try to make some sense of the 1,564 days that give our tour its brutal title.

We return to the hotel for a pre-dinner aperitif before dining in Arras.

Tuesday 30th October 2018

We depart d’hôtel l’Univers after breakfast, and make the short journey to the grave of Isaac Rosenberg, killed on April 1st 1918 during the final German offensive of the war. We work our way north via the village of Neuville St Vaast, fought over in the bloody Battle of Arras in 1917. Here, buried almost side by side are French, British and German men who died fighting for a better future for Europe. Our final stop is at a new memorial, dedicated by the French in 2015 to the 585,000+ men who were killed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais during the First World War. Listed alphabetically by family
name and without rank or nationality, the 500 three-metre high panels include the names of many writers, poets, philosophers, musicians and artists, who together make powerful comment as to the dreadful waste that was the First World War and how ‘The Lost Generation’ of Europe’s young men became a major factor in the turbulent inter-war years.

Our tours of 2014 and 2016 were underpinned with camaraderie, insight and a warmth of shared experiences and the War Poets Association PALS end the tour with a relaxing lunch in the sumptuous and tranquil setting of the Chateau Tilques before boarding our inbound shuttle en route for London.

 

This new book by Owen biographer Dr Guy Cuthbertson uses letters, diaries and newspapers to build an hour-by-hour account of 11 November 1918, the day that brought the First World War to an end with the signing of the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th month of 1918.

A number of previous accounts have examined the military and political events of that day, but this new book looks in hour-by-hour detail at ‘how the people of Britain experienced the moment that peace became a reality’.

Further details of the book are on the Yale University Press’s website, here.

Guy Cuthbertson is also author of Wilfred Owen (Yale, 2014). He edited Edward Thomas’s Autobiographies (Oxford, 2011), co-edited Thomas’s England and Wales (Oxford, 2011), and Branch-Lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry (Enitharmon, 2007).  He studied at St Andrews and Oxford universities, and is an Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University.

On Thursday 1 November 2018 6.30 p.m. to 7.45 p.m. Guy Cuthbertson will give the this year’s Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, titled ‘I should want nothing more: Edward Thomas and Simplicity’. The lecture will be given at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH. Admission is free but seats must be reserved in advance. For details and to book visit: https://www.britac.ac.uk/events/edward-thomas-and-simplicity.

Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s new biography of Robert Graves in the years 1895 – 1929, a period which included Graves joining the Army as an officer at the age of 19 at the outbreak of the First World War, his near-death from wounds during the Battle of the Somme, his marriage to Nancy Nicholson and the births of their four children, study at Oxford, and the many tumultuous events that followed after he met the American poet Laura Riding in January 1926, was published on 2 August 2018.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Graves’s son William Graves (from Robert’s second marriage, to Beryl Pritchard), will be examining Robert Graves’s position as a major First World War poet as well as a master prose chronicler of the War, at this year’s Wimbledon BookFest. Their talk will be on Thursday 11th October 2018 at 4.30 – 5.30 pm and the hour will include the presentation of the second Robert Graves Poetry Prize.

Tickets and further information can be found here:

Latest (19/09/2018): A video recording of this new composition by Roxanna Panufnik which used lines from Isaac Rosenberg’s poem ‘In the Underworld’ and formed the opening performance of Last Night of the Proms 2018, can be found on the BBC’s website at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/4c898ad2-3743-46c4-b3ce-00e4ec1af05c.

The performance of this opening A BBC Radio 4 broadcast interviews the composers Roxanna Panufnik and Anna Meredith about their recent commissions to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One and to produce a new work for the Last Night of the Proms 2018. The work, Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light features a poem ‘In the Underworld’ by First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg and will be included in the BBC’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’ this year, as the opening item on 8th September 2018, commencing at 7.15 pm. A copy of the poem is reproduced below, although it is possible that a revised version may be used in the concert.

Listen to the Radio 4 interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzmptFT7P-k.

Isaac Rosenberg’s relative Bernard Wynick has described the inclusion of the poem in the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ as ‘fantastic’ and writes to the WPA as follows:

‘This is a great honour and a fitting tribute in the 100th.anniversary of [Isaac’s] death in action in France in the First World War.’

IN THE UNDERWORLD

I have lived in the underworld so long:
How can you, a creature of light,
Without terror understand the song
And unmoved hear what moves in night?

I am a spirit that yours has found,
Strange, undelightful, obscure,
Created by some other God, and bound
In terrible darkness, breathing breath impure.

Creature of light and happiness,
Deeper the darkness was when you,
With your bright terror eddying the distress,
Grazed the dark waves and shivering further flew.

Isaac Rosenberg

To mark the centenary this Autumn of the end of the First World War, and on the theme of ‘Unity’, The Bach Choir will perform Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Westminster Cathedral, London on Wednesday 3rd October, at 7.30 p.m.. Visit http://www.thebachchoir.org.uk/concerts for tickets and more information.

Guest speakers will interject the music with readings linked to the theme of war and the horror and pity of war, including some from the poems of Wilfred Owen

This major new anthology of war poetry brings together for the first time the work of poets who saw active service on the Western Front, but not with a gun in their hand. Their role was to save life, not to take it.

Ernest Hemingway and E E Cummings drove ambulances. Mary Borden, Carola Oman and Vera Brittain were nurses. All of them volunteered their services to help those caught up in the war, often at great personal risk to themselves.

Finding themselves amid scenes of unimaginable horror, each one experienced the realities of the war first-hand and wrote about what they saw and did with great honesty and compassion.

Release date: June 2018

Book launch: Professor Paul O’Prey will speak about the book at La Caixa Cultural, Palma de Mallorca, Spain on Wednesday 11 July, at a small launch event during the XIV International Robert Graves Conference there, 10-14 July 2018. The date and time of the launch is to be confirmed. Contact pjvilla@aol.com for further details.

Copies of the anthology, published by Dare-Gale Press, can be ordered via Amazon in the UK or through the University of Chicago Press in the USA.

 

Ivor Gurney: poet and composer

Free Event

At the Ivor Gurney Hall; King’s School Gloucester, Gloucester, GL1 2BG
7.30 pm and 8.30 pm, Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tel: 07739910510

Ivor Gurney: poet and composer

FREE EVENT

For further details, and a map of the venue, click on the link below:

http://www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk/whats-on/ivor-gurney-poet-and-composer-p2490093

On Thursday 1 November 2018, 6.30 p.m. to 7.45 p.m., Dr Guy Cuthbertson of Liverpool Hope University will give the this year’s Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, on Edward Thomas, titled ‘I should want nothing more: Edward Thomas and Simplicity’. The lecture will be given at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH. Admission is free but seats must be reserved in advance. For details and to book, visit https://www.britac.ac.uk/events/edward-thomas-and-simplicity.

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