Sunday 30 June 2013

Greetings on 30th June 2013

I have had the most amazing weekend - it has been Armed Forces Week here and at the Gala Dinner on Friday I spoke with many veterans and would like to say a special "Hello" to our new-found friends from the East Coast of England and from Wales - some of whom you will see on the photos here with the reigning Miss Blackpool 2012 - the lovely Kim Brathwaite.  How I came to be a fan of the Miss Blackpool Beauty Pageant is another story!  Incidentally, the Final of Miss Blackpool 2013 is on 16th August 2013 - to find out more check out their website (with thanks to photographer Howard Barton for the website.)

Both photos at the Gala Dinner by Paul Breeze - in the second photo along with a gentleman from Wales and Kim is Miss Blackpool organiser Karen Cookson from Angels Elite Modelling Agency.

I am always on the lookout for poets I have missed so far, so if any of you know of any please let me know so that I may add them to my list and hopefully include them in an exhibition.  I think it would be lovely to include some Welsh language poems too.   I'm also looking for poems in Gaelic and Scottish and indeed any in dialects.

I also spent time this weekend chatting via Facebook with Sara Wong Tze Yain from America, John Seriot from Norway and Sally McBride from New Zealand who are teachers/university lecturers involved in teaching First World War Poetry.   They have been extremely inspirational and it has opened my eyes to realise that, for instance, if you are a student in Brunei (Hello to all of you working hard on your assignments in Brunei, especially those at the Aberystwyth University there) you will interpret the war poets in a different manner than someone who lives in Birkenhead on the Wirral where Wilfred Owen was brought up and educated.  I am looking forward very much to moving a cross-continent exchange on this subject forward and thank you all for replying to my messages.

30th June 2013

Monday 24 June 2013

Virginia Woolf - Professor G. Kellman, University of Texas

I am deeply indebted to Professor Steven G. Kellman of the University of Texas who sent me this fantastic and detailed reply to my e-mail asking if he knew whether Virginia Woolf wrote poetry:

"What an exciting project, and what a tantalizing question.

One would think that, especially since her fiction is often described as “poetic” and the Hogarth Press was instrumental in advancing the reputations of T. S. Eliot, John Masefield, and other poets, Virginia Woolf would have tried her hand at the form.  And I imagine that there must be some poems among the juvenilia in the Woolf papers at Sussex and Cambridge. However (and please note that I am not a Woolf specialist), Woolf’s innovative prose was in direct rebellion against a Victorian literary tradition in which poetry was prissy and “feminine.” I do not know of any poems from Woolf’s mature period, except perhaps for two very short pieces, “Blue” and “Green,” that she wrote around 1920. Biographer Panthea Reid describes them as each a single paragraph “offering diverse associations produced by the colors, but not by an identifiable scene” (p. 232). Perhaps they qualify as prose poems.

In a letter of October  16, 1930, Woolf wrote to Ethel Smyth that: “After being ill and suffering every form and variety of nightmare and extravagant intensity of perception – for I used to make up poems, stories, profound and to me inspired phrases all day long as I lay in bed, I think, all that I now, by the light of reason,  try to put into prose (I thought of the Lighthouse then, and Kew and others, not in substance but in idea) – after all this, when I came to, I was so tremblingly afraid of my own insanity that I wrote Night and Day mainly to prove to my own satisfaction that I could keep entirely off that dangerous ground.”

I take that to mean Woolf was so apprehensive about the bits of verse that flitted through her mind that she made sure to translate them into prose. Perhaps poetry represented to her the derangement that she struggled against throughout her life.

In any case, I wish you much success in organizing the exhibition. I am sorry that I will not be able to see it.

Best wishes,

Steven G. Kellman
Professor of Comparative Literature
University of Texas at San Antonio

Thank you so much Professor Kellman - there is so much material for thought and discussion there.

Sunday 23 June 2013

The Great War Forum

Thank you to "Michael Bully" of the Great War Forum, a brilliant site for exchanging views:

Michael is looking for poems about and by seafarers during the First World War.  He also mentioned the project on the Western Front Association (WFA) Forum.

Thank you for your continuing help, encouragement and advice Michael.

Saturday 22 June 2013

22nd June 2013

My thanks to Bairbre O'Hagan who is currently researching Winifred M. Letts.  Bairbre can be contacted on

Bairbre's help is invaluable and I am very grateful to Bairbre for contacting me.

And thank you to William Grace, Library Manager at the Tyrrell Historical Library of the Beaumont Public Library System.

This morning I have been trying to find a female poet from Newfoundland.  I had not realised that Newfoundland did not join Canada until after the Second World War, consequently I have spent the morning immersed in Newfoundland WW1 history and it is very, very moving.

I managed to find one poet - Georgiana Cooper (1885 - 1980) - thanks to the website and I have sent out my usual, numerous e-mails and letters to try to find out more.

Looking at the cemeteries in France dedicated to the memory of the Newfoundlanders who died during WW1 reminded me of the vastness of the sacrifice.

We really do owe it to all those who served never to forget their sacrifice.


Monday 17 June 2013


A sincere thank you to Dr. Hazel Hutchison who pointed out that the date of death of Grace Fallow Norton was incorrect.  I have now corrected this.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Winifred M. Letts

Thank you so much to Bairbre O'Hogan, whose mother was a friend of Winifred M Letts when she lived in Ireland.

As a child, Bairbre remembers spending time with Winifred and being inspired by her.  Bairbre is currently researching Winifred's life and would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any information.

Bairbre can be contacted by e-mail:

Beatrix Brice Miller

Thank you to David Reynolds who contacted me.  I have now corrected the spelling of Beatrix Brice Miller's name in my list of poets and continue the search to find out more about her life.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Further thanks

Thank you for your kind help and encouragement to

Dr. Kate McLoughlin who is
 Senior Lecturer in English Literature at
 Birkbeck, University of London
 Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX

Among the books Dr McLoughlin has written are:

 The Modernist Party (Edinburgh University Press, 2013)

 Authoring War: The Literary Representation of War from the Iliad to Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
 A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012-13

 Plums (flipped eye publishing, 2011)


Dr. Jeanne E. Glesener, Dr. Karen Tengbergen Moyes and Dr. Dieter Heimbockel who have been trying to find a female poet from Luxembourg for me.

and to

Mr Bishop from Devon whose helpful suggestions and encouraging communications are greatly appreciated.

I am busy working on a revised list which I hope to post soon.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

More Exciting News!


Polish singer songwriter Lilly Mallow has recorded some musical recitations of poems by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasanoszewska and  kindly given permission for us to use some of them for the soundtrack for the Female Poets Of The First World War exhibition at the ACE Centre in August.
In the meantime, you can find out more about Lilly and hear some of  her modern compositions here:

Latest News: Textile Artist/Storyteller from Scotland to be featured in Ace Centre Exhibition

Exciting news:

We plan to include two examples of the work of Textile Artist/Storyteller Sonia Bidwell in the exhibition to be held at the Ace Centre in Nelson from 15th August - 3rd September 2013.   Sonia's work is amazing and I should like to thank Sonia for her continuing support for the project.