Wednesday, 10 February 2016

'England's Boys' WW1 collection of Constance Ada Renshaw (1891 - 1964)

Today it is fashionable to scoff at poetry written about the First World War by women.  What would mere women know of the true conditions in the trenches!   And yet it is easy to forget that life was very different in 1914 - even 'less well educated' people read, appreciated and wrote poetry.  If you don't believe me, look at the very talented Isaac Rosenberg for instance.  After Rosenberg's death, Edith Sitwell wrote:  'Isaaac Rosenberg is one of the two great poets killed in the war - the other being Wilfred Owen'.   And yet, neither Rosenberg nor Owen had a university education.

In her WW1 collection 'England's Boys', which is available on Archive, Constance Ada Renshaw (see post of 23rd September 2015) wrote poems that were appreciated by many, but especially by soldiers. You will be able to read some of the comments made by fighting men about her poems if you follow this link:

Constance's other WW1 collections were:

'Battle and Beyond', Erskine Macdonald, 1917
'Lest we forget', Oxford, Blackwell, 1937
'Narcotics', Merton, P., 1924
'Up to the hills', Merton, P., 1922

Her poems were also featured in four First World War poetry Anthologies.

To find out why many women did indeed know what conditions were like in the trenches and in other theatres of WW1, please see the weblog Inspirational Women of WW1