A new biography of Robert Graves by Dr Jean Moorcroft-Wilson is due to be published by Bloomsbury in August 2018, covering the years from his birth in London, school at Charterhouse, holidays in Harlech, his service with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the First World War, his marriage to Nancy Nicholson, study at Oxford, the arrival of the American poet Laura Riding, departure to Egypt with both women and his and Nancy’s children in 1926 to be a Professor of English at Cairo University, and their return to England. It will also cover their and their circle’s tumultuous relationships in London, until Riding’s jump from a high window and Graves’s eventual departure to Mallorca with Riding, but without Nancy or his children, after writing his autobiography Good-bye To All That at the age of 33.

‘Robert Graves: From Great War Poet to Good-bye To All That 1895-1929’ by Jean Moorcroft-Wilson will be published by Bloomsbury Continuum on 23 August 2018.

Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson is well-known to many WPA members for her writing and lectures and has been described as the ‘doyenne of war poet biographers’. Her publications include biographies of Isaac Rosenberg (on whom she lectures worldwide), Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Thomas and Virginia Woolf. This new biography will cover the whole of the period in which Robert Graves wrote most of his work about war, from the publication of his first book of poetry Over the Brazier in the year of the Battle of the Somme, in which he was severely wounded and left on the battlefield presumed ‘died of wounds’, to that of his famous memoir of the war, Good-bye To All That.

Publishers Bloomsbury Continuum are offering a pre-publication discount of 10% on the hardback price of £25, for copies ordered directly from them. In a rather Catch-22 move for books costing £25, orders over £25 are post-free. Order 2 copies post-free for £45 or one for £22.50 plus postage, at https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/robert-graves-9781472929143.

Stephen Fry has lent his backing to an exciting new national poetry competition to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

A competition named A Poem to Remember and chaired by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is intended to honour and convey the challenges faced by the current men and women serving in the Military, and their families.

The winning poem will be chosen by the public and read by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at a special event at the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) this summer. It will also be mounted at the DNRC and its author will receive a cash prize of £2,000, with four runners-up receiving £500. Only one entry is permitted per person. Entries are acceptable from any location. Poems must be no longer than 25 lines. The closing date and time for entries is April 9, 2018, at 23.59 pm. The competition is open to everyone aged 17 and over.

Entries will be whittled down to a long list of 25 before a short list of five judged the best are selected by a panel of short list judges, chaired by historian and broadcaster Dan Snow and including Stephen Fry and Andy McNab. The winner will then be decided by a public vote.

More information on how to enter the competition can be found here.

This series was produced as part of the University of Oxford, Faculty of English Spring School (3-5 April 2014) and is aimed at members of the public, particularly those who have read some World War One poetry and are now seeking a deeper critical appreciation.

Oxford University has made theses podcasts available on an on an open education basis and under a Creative Commons licence. Visit the following page to see a list of the lectures recorded and listen to them: http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/british-world-war-one-poetry-introduction . Under the terms of the CC licence the recordings should not be republished commercially.

Mary Borden Poems of Love and War edited by Paul O’Prey (Dare-Gale Press)Borden foto 4x3

Suffragette, socialite, novelist, nurse, Mary Borden wrote some of the most remarkable poems of the First World War. Still in her twenties, she used her own money to set up and run a field hospital for French soldiers at the Somme, situated ‘as close to the fighting as possible’. Her poems are spontaneous, passionate reactions to what she saw and did. Although married with three children, she fell in love with a young British officer she met at the Front. The poems she wrote to him while they were both at the war have an immediate and reckless intensity.

Mary Borden is featured in several major anthologies of First World War poetry, but this is the first full book of her poems to be published, 100 years after they were written. Many of these poems are published in book form for the first time, including the love poems.

Borden’s memoir, The Forbidden Zone (1929) is one of the most compelling accounts of Front Line service in the war.

The book was launched at the Wimbledon Book Festival on 11 October 2015, by Shirley Williams and Paul O’Prey.

Borden front cover for NIELSEN

Download the PDF here

To mark the centenary of the CWGC’s foundation by Royal Charter in 1917, a ground-breaking exhibition is being staged at CWGC Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking, Surrey.

It was officially opened on Saturday 20 May by English actor and adventurer Brian Blessed OBE and will run for six months.

For Then, For Now, Forever celebrates the first 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Curated by CWGC Archivist Andrew Fetherston, it is being staged in the Grade 1 listed Canadian Records Building at Brookwood Military Cemetery – the largest CWGC site in the UK with more than 5,000 burials and 3,500 commemorations on the Brookwood Memorial.

The exhibition tells the history of the CWGC from its foundation during the First World War through to the present day, using historic objects and artefacts from our archive and collections.

Many of the exhibits have never been publicly displayed before. They include an original First World War grave marker and a petition from the 1920s addressed to our then-President, HRH Edward, Prince of Wales. The petition contains more than 8,000 signatures – predominantly from mothers who had lost sons in the war – asking the Commission to reconsider the use of a uniform headstone in favour of a cross.

These and other objects tell the sometimes difficult story of how the vision of one man — Fabian Ware — came to forever change the way we remember the war dead.

There are also daily tours at 11am and 5pm, from volunteers, telling individual and collective stories of the cemetery and of those commemorated there.

For more details please visit www.cwgc.org or email community@cwgc.org


Jennie Sweeney
Head of Community Engagement


In June 2017, Enitharmon Press will be publishing the long awaited illustrated biography of Edward Thomas by the Edward Thomas Fellowship’s chairman, Richard Emeny. This is the culmination of many years’ study of the poet’s life and work and draws also on Emeny’s extensive knowledge of Thomas’s family, friends, literary associates, publications and the places he either lived or visited. Offering in some ways a revisionist biographical portrait, the book combines the story of Edward’s life with numerous illustrations, including photographs, printed material, maps and original letters, many of which have never been published before. It will add significantly to what is already known of Thomas and his family before and after his death by putting his biography into a visual and historical context.



Those of you who wish to subscribe to Richard Emeny’s book in advance of publication may opt to have your names included in a ‘List of Subscribers’ to be printed at the end of the book. The publication price will be £30, which is inclusive of postage within the UK. To subscribe (the deadline for subscribers is Thursday 13 April), please email: info@enitharmon.co.uk, telephone Enitharmon on 020 7430 0844, send a cheque payable to Enitharmon Editions to 10 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, or visit the Enitharmon website page with this link: http://www.enitharmon.co.uk/product/thomas-life-pictures/


A hundred years ago Edward Thomas was killed in the Battle of Arras (April 1917). The reputation of his poetry has never been higher. Professor Edna Longley has already edited Thomas’s poems and prose. She now marks his centenary, and adds to the growing field of Thomas studies, with this close reading of his poetry. Longley places the lyric poem at the centre of Thomas’s poetry and of his thinking about poetry. Drawing on Thomas’s own remarkable critical writings, she argues that his importance to emergent ‘modern poetry’ has yet to be fully appreciated. Thomas, as a leading reviewer of poetry in the early 1900s, was deeply engaged with the traditions of poetry in the English language, as well as with contemporary poetry. Under the Same Moon takes a fresh look at Thomas’s relation to the Romantic poets, to Great War poetry, to Robert Frost, to W. B. Yeats. By making detailed comparisons between their poems, Longley shows how the aesthetics of Thomas and Frost complement one another across the Atlantic. She argues, perhaps controversially, that we should think about Great War poetry from the perspective of Thomas as ‘war poet’ and critic of war poetry. And she suggests that to focus on Thomas is to open up poetic relations in the ‘Anglo-Celtic’ archipelago. Under the Same Moon is also a study of lyric poetry: its sources, structures and forms; the kinds of meaning it creates. Longley asks what exactly happened when, in December 1914, Thomas morphed from a prose-writer into a poet; and she approaches the lyric from a psychological angle by comparing Thomas with Philip Larkin.

£25 hardback, April 2017. To order, please email: info@enitharmon.co.uk, telephone Enitharmon on 020 7430 0844, send a cheque payable to Enitharmon Editions to 10 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, or visit the Enitharmon website page with this link: http://www.enitharmon.co.uk/product/under-same-moon/


Closing Date is 15th Septemeber

Entrants must be 25 or Under


‘War poetry’ is a phrase that, for many of us, brings to mind the lines of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon   – “what passing-bells for these who die as cattle?”; “O, but Everyone/ Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.” The poetry of the First World War has been consistently anthologized, remembered and studied in classroom and universities across the world. The poetry of the Second World War, in contrast, seems to have much more of a fragile grip on our public consciousness – although this is a balance that many are seeking to redress.

The Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Prize, hosted on Young Poets Network, was created and memory of a young poet and pilot killed in 1941 at the age of 20. Timothy Corsellis’ poems explore the experience of the Blitz and the combined boredom and exhilaration of flight training. Originally a conscientious objector, Timothy volunteered for the RAF in 1940. However, horrified to be put under Bomber Command, which would involve the bombing of civilians, he requested a transfer, and before his death, spent six months as an Air Raid Precautions Officer, helping civilians through the Blitz. There is a fascinating biography of Timothy here on the War Poets Association website if you’d like to find out more, and you can also hear actor Tim Bentinck reading Timothy’s poems ‘Engine Failure’ and ‘Dawn After the Raid

planesThe Timothy Corsellis Prize, named in his memory, was originally launched in 2014 and encourages young poets up to the age of 25 to explore the poetry of the Second World War, and the lives and legacies of its authors, by producing their own poetic responses. The 2016 Prize profiles the work of seven poets writing during the war years: Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, and Anna Akhmatova.

All these poets – lesser-known to many than Sassoon, Owen or Rosenberg, but poets of just as much power – wrote with great insight of their experience of war. Keith Douglas noted that “Hell cannot be let loose twice”, and there seems to have been a sense of this among poets of the Second World War, resulting in a markedly different – although no less vivid or valuable – style of war poetry. You can find out more about each of the seven poets featured in this year’s prize, and read examples of their work, by following the link to this special article on Young Poets Network.

The winner of last year’s Corsellis prize, Jenny Burville-Riley, used Alun Lewis’ poem ‘All Day It has Rained’ as the inspiration for her own haunting tribute and prize-winning poem:


Hovering ghosts in Himalayan foothills
skin beautifully cool, eyes
hollow as spent cartridges
we exhale smoke from Victorys
by the side of a road that passes
the convalescence hospital.
Rough cut layers of mountain above
march in sturdy sequence to
a towering crescendo of white summits.
Geology softens in morning light
transforms to crumpled piles of jumble
waiting to be rifled through.
Beneath, a lone Sherpa
starts his slow ascent, bent back
burdened with a baby grand piano
stiff legs skyward as a big game trophy.
We watch the weighted figure
with amazement for the Sherpa
is a mere eighth-rest of a man.
“Look at that lazy bugger”
quips Dusty and quick laughter
landslides in a throaty scree.

Jenny writes: “In Lewis’s poem there is the juxtaposition of mundane details such as “darning dirty socks” with dramatic images such as “dropping bombs on Rome” and “herded refugees”. I tried to create juxtapositional images too: a raw, rugged environment vs the strange, unexpected appearance of a refined instrument – the baby grand piano – on a man’s back!”

Young Poets Network has already received many fantastic entries to the 2016 Corsellis Prize, and it’s encouraging more! As well as poetry, Young Poets Network also welcomes the insights of essayists in its Corsellis Young Critics Prize, which runs concurrently with the poetry prize, and asks you to write about which three poets of the seven listed above you think are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time, and why.

Both prizes are open to all young writers aged 25 and under, living anywhere in the world. The deadline for all entries is Monday 15 September.



The judges for both prizes will be Professor Fran Brearton (for the War Poets Association), a leading authority on war poetry; Nic Vanderpeet from Imperial War Museums; Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society, and, new to the panel this year, Wendy Cope, noted poet and author of, among other collections, Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis.

Prizes include book tokens, a selection of poetry goodies, and publication on Young Poets Network. The first prize poem will be published in The Poetry Society’s quarterly paper Poetry News, and the first prize essay will be published on The Poetry Society’s website.

For more information and for details of how to submit your work, please visit the Timothy Corsellis Prize page on Young Poets Network.

Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25. Here you’ll find features about poets and poetry, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. We also bring you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers.

Young Poets Network would like to thank the Corsellis family for their generosity in establishing this Prize and their continuing support of The Poetry Society.




Follow this link to see this article, published by the Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/my-father-robert-graves-the-war-poet-who-cheated-death/?WTmcid=tmgoff_soc_spf_fb&WT.mc_id=sf31585123