Thursday, 1 August 2013

"Wij werden honderd jaaar ouder (We aged one hundred years)" An anthology of poems put together by Chris Spriet, Belgium

We always had to say "White Rabbits" on the first of the month in our house when I was growing up!

Thank you very much indeed to Chris Spriet from Belgium for letting me have a peek inside his forthcoming book.  I can't wait to read it.

 "Wij werden honderd jaar ouder (We aged one hundred years) will be published by Davidsfonds Leuven in September 2013 -  available at

Chris Spriet says:

"Being the grandson of a civilian victim of the Great War I have had a keen interest in War Poetry for many years. For several years I taught seminars devoted to the War Poets, participating in a number of theatrical projects as well as Peace Tours to the Ypres Salient and the Somme. As a member of the Committee of the Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum (VIFF) I have a set literature feature in VIFFflash, the magazine of our organisation. As a member of the War Poets Association, the Wilfed Owen Association, the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship and the Ivor Gurney Society, on several occasions I contributed articles to periodicals at home and abroad.

Here is the list of female poets whose work is included in my book as well as a survey of biographies:
Nancy CUNARD (US., Zeppelins)
Anna AKHMATOVA (Russ., In memoriam, July 1914)
Elinor JENKINS (The Last Evening)
Vera BRITTAIN (St Pancras Station, August 1915)
Jane CATULLE-MENDES (Fr., Qui? / Who?)
Helen MACKAY (Train)
Jessie POPE (War girls)
Edna ST VINCENT MILLAY (US, Conscientious Objector)
Elizabeth DARYUSH (US, Flanders Fields)
Theresa HOOLEY (War film)
Vera BRITTAIN (To my brother)
Eva DOBELL (Night Duty), one of my favourite poems
Andrea FRAHM (Germ., Zu Hause / At home)
Eleonora KALKOWSKA (Pol./Germ., Man tat uns dieses an / Dit deden zij ons maan / They did that to us)
Jeanne PERDRIEL-VAISSIERE (Fr., Complainte des filles qui ne seront pas mariées, Klaagzang van de meisjes die niet getrouwd zullen zijn/ Complaint of the girls who will never be married)
Margaret POSTGATE COLE (Falling leaves)
Vera BRITTAIN (Perhaps)
Henriette SAURET (Fr., Elles / They)
This poem stands out because it has survived history and anthologies in its maimed version. AS the poem was found to be too controversial to be acceptable to the (French) national censor, several lines and stanzas were scrapped, whilst the remainder of the poem was granted the right of publication. The poem has survived the Great War much in the same sense in which a handicapped or gassed war survivor did, ie, with the inclusion of the handicap or physical loss as a characteristic of the survival itself. Sauret's poem is very much a 'traumatized text'. On serveral occasions in the text it says '8 règles censurés, 8 lines censored,...) 
Sara TEASDALE, (US., 'And soft rains will come')
 It might strike you that, of many of these women poets' lives, only some sparse details have survived. Owing to her love relationship with the war poet Roland Leighton (1895-1915), Vera Brittain stands out. Immediately after Roland's untimely death, Vera broke off her academic prospects to go and serve as a VAD nurse in France. She wrote intense and compassionate poetry. After the War she continued to live a life of intense involvement in the causes of feminism, political justice and pacifism. She was the mother of Shirely Williams, who has been, for some time, chair of the British Liberal Democrats.

Edna ST VINCENT MILLAY was a well-known American poet who was greatly admired by a host of male suitors.

Helen Mackay was an intellectual woman of high class. Her poem "Train" depicts the wel-known iconographic scene of a Railway station, where the leaving of a soldiers for the front takes place.
I have also written several articles for the Edmund Blunden website and regularly review war-related books on Amazon.   I own a collection of over 2,000 books to do with the history, the cultural and literary heritage of the Great War."

Thank you very much indeed Mr Spriet.   Some of the poets you mention are already on my list but there are some new to me so I must get on and research them.

I look forward very much to reading your book.


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