Monday, 12 June 2017

Catherine Wells (1872 - 1927) - British

If you follow my weblogs you will know that I quite often receive information from people regarding new poets, etc. to research.  I am very grateful for such help with this project.  Today I had an e-mail from Henry Gott of Blackwells Rare Books in Oxford.

Henry said: “have just been cataloguing 'The Book of Catherine Wells', a collection of stories and poems by the wife of H.G. Wells; it includes a trio of war poems - 'Spring 1915', 'June 1916', and 'Red Cross Workroom; 1917'. These were new to me - it doesn't mention where they were first published, if indeed they were published prior to this volume.”

Catherine Wells (1872 – 1927) was the second wife of the writer Herbert George (H.G.) Wells (1866 – 1946).

Catherine was born Amy Catherine Robbins in Islington on 8th July 1872.   Her parents were Frederick and Maria Catherine Robbins.   Catherine, who was known as Jane, was a student of H.G. Wells.  They were married in St. Pancras, London in 1895.
After Catherine’s death in 1927, Wells had her poetry and short story collection published under the title “The Book of Catherine Wells” published by Chatto & Windus in 1928.

Catherine's poem "Red Cross Workroom; 1917" tells us about her contribution to the war effort:

Daily here my body sits, My fingers tearing bandage strips,
My drilled eyes watch the pattern fits,
My agile scissor cuts and snips,
But truant Brain leaps out at play
And flies to some pellucid day
And suddenly I seem to hear
A sea maid singing at my ear
And straight am with her on a strand
Of cockle shells and pearly sand.
Where rainbows crown the leaping surf
And green weed wraps the rocks with turf.
We wreathe her yellow hair with weed
And play with coriander seed
And coral beads and horns of pearl -
The while that here my body sits,
My fingers tearing bandage strips.

(From "The Book of Catherine Wells" - short stories and poems - published in 1928 after Catherine's death by Chatto and Windus, London, 1928, page 201).

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