Monday 30 June 2014

Canadian Poetry of WW1

My sincere thanks to Steve Cloutier from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who sent me the titles of Canadian poetry collections of the First World War.  That is absolutely fantastic Steve - thank you again.

It means so much to me to be able to collect together so many women poets from all around the world to share with all those who enjoy poetry and to spread the word about those amazing women, many of whom appear to have been overlooked.

I will go through these as soon as possible and report back to you.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Poetry written by School Children during after and about WW1

My grateful thanks to Kelly Jones of Wimbledon High School who sent me a fantastic number of poems, stories and illustrations concerning the poems and war efforts of pupils at the school during WW1.  These are very impressive.  I will process them and share them with you as soon as possible, as well as producing a panel for the exhibitions.


Emma Hattersley and Mrs Clarkson of the Godolphin School in Salisbury who also sent me a large number of poems written by pupils at that time.  Dorothy L. Sayers, who is perhaps better remembered for her prose but who also wrote poetry, was a former pupil of The Godolphin School, which she left in 1911.


John Barnes, Chairman of the Old Trafford Branch of the Royal British Legion, Greater Manchester, for giving me a copy of the poetry written recently by pupils of St. George's Primary School, Darlington Street, Tyldesley, Greater Manchester - great to see today's school children are also remembering WW1. I thought you might like to see this, so here is the link:

and to

Stanley Kaye of Peterborough (he of poppy see planting fame) who sends me regular suggestions for poets.

I have a large amount to go through, research and write up so I am not going to be bored.  If I did nothing else at all between now and June 2019 I still don't think I would have the complete picture.

Thank you all for your very valuable help with this project.


Thursday 26 June 2014

Slight departure - Event celebrating the life of Isaac Rosenberg the WW1 soldier poet - Friday, 27th June at National Portrait Gallery, London at 18.30 BST

There is to be a Free Public Event at The National Portrait Gallery in London on Friday 27 June 2014 at 18.30 BST.

To view the full colour flyer click on the link to the website of The War Poets Association Website

The event is entitled "The Ballad of Whitechapel: A commemoration of the life and work of Isaac Rosenberg: the school boy, the soldier, the poet, the portrait painter" -

With grateful thanks to Stanley Kaye for bringing this to my attention.

For details of the appeal to raise funds to build a statue to the memory of Isaac Rosenberg, please see the website - the Chairman - Clive Bettington - has been very supportive of my project.

New WW1 Anthology "Great Ward Poetry"

The British actress Prunella Scales has helped to launch a book that gives a fresh look at the First World War through the poetry of the men and women of one of London's WW1 hospitals - the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building in Wandsworth, known as No. 3 Hospital.

"Great Ward Poetry" tells the story of the men and women who worked or were treated at the Hospital/.

For every books sold, a contribution will be made to SSAFA - the charity that looks after the families of serving forces personnel.

With grateful thanks to Stanley Kaye of the Facebook Group "Remembering World War One in 2014 One Hundred Years".  Stanley's idea is to fill the world with poppies in remembrance.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Thank You

Stanley Kaye, who started the wonderful Facebook Group "Remembering World War One in 2014 One Hundred Years" several years ago with the aim of planting poppies the world over in Remembrance, is a regular supporter of my project.  Stanley has been in touch with me today giving me valuable information about WW1 poets and poetry.   I will go through everything asap  and report back to you.  In the meantime, here is an interesting link that Stanley sent me about a Conference held in Austria last year:

I would also like to say Hi and welcome to Sarah - hope you enjoy browsing Sarah and thank you so much for your invaluable help today.

And a huge thank you to Steve Cloutier from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who sent me a parcel of photocopies of Canadian war poetry books which arrived this morning.

Thank you all so much - your support, help and advice is very much appreciated.

Photo:  Cornflowers by P. Breeze

Note:  Cornflowers, according to my French friends 'bluets', were originally the symbol of Remembrance in France where they grew in profusion among the wheat, corn and poppies of Flanders.  I understand they are now quite rare so I've been trying to find packets of seeds so as to bring them back.  Here are some I saw recently - to say "Hi" to all my friends over the Channel.  Cornflowers were also the favourite flower of my lovely friend Ann Fothergill Moss who sadly died many years ago but who is never forgotten.

Friday 20 June 2014

Seeking Information about Sarah Toye

I posted a poem written by Sarah Toye on the weblog on 8th December 2013.   A few days ago I received a lovely message from a lady called Rozzie.

If you read this Rozzie, please can you let me have further information about Sarah?  And do you know if she wrote any more poems?

I hope to hear from you and from anyone who knows of poets I have not yet discovered.

Frida Bettingen (1865 - 1924) - German

Frida Bettingen was born Frida Reuter in Ronneburg in Thüringen in 1865.

Frida was an expressionist poet about whom very little is known. She grew up in Altenburg and married the school teacher Franz Bettingen from Krefeld in 1885.  The couple had a son who was killed in 1914 in the early part of the war. 

In 1921 Frida spent some time in a psychiatric clinic in Jena, returned home, was sent there again in 1923 and died there the following year. Her main works were Eva und Abel. Kriegsjahr 1918, den Müttern zugeeignet. 1919; Gedichte. 1922; Himmelsbürde. 1937

Information for this panel was collected, translated and contributed by Penelope Monkhouse from Germany.

Penelope Monkhouse (*1952) is a German-British scientist living in Schwetzingen/Germany and is a granddaughter of the novelist, dramatist and literary critic Allan Monkhouse. Literature of the early 20thcentury is presently one of her chief non-scientific interests; she is presently engaged on a comparative study of German and English poetry of this period. She also writes poetry of her own and translates poetry to and from German and English. 

My grateful thanks to Penelope.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Canadian WW1 Female Poets

My grateful thanks to Geoff Harrison who contacted me via the Facebook Page for Female Poets of the First World War.

I am so pleased when people suggest poets I haven't yet found as I do love to discover poets to add to my ever growing list.

Geoff suggested the following :

"We are the dead Canada's Answer" - an anthology which Geoff tells me contains a poem by Elspeth Honeyman
and - which contains a number of women poets new to me.

Thank you very much Geoff.

And thank you to all of your who have contacted me - I try to mention you all for your contribution is important.

Note:  A quick Internet search reveals that Douglas Honeyman and his brother Stuart joined the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion in 1914 and served in the UK and in Europe for the whole of WW1.  I will write to the National Archives of Vancouver and see if I can find out more.  In the meantime, if anyone knows anything about Elspeth, please could they get in touch with me.

New WW1 Anthology - edited by Paul O'Prey

I am deeply grateful to Eve Khan who is the Antiques Correspondent of the New York Times for sending me details of a new anthology.

Edited by Paul O'Prey, a former President of the War Poets Association, the anthology features 15 of the poets who served during WW1 and includes some of the women who nursed in the various theatres of war during that period.

"First World War Poems from the Front" has a beautiful cover featuring red poppies - which everyone by now knows were designated as The Emblem of Remembrance of the First World War by Moina Belle Michael, an American poet, who was working for the YMCA in New York when the idea came to her after reading again John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields".

The volume has been published by the Imperial War Museum and costs £9.99.  Further details here:

Many thanks to Kate Crowther of the Imperial War Museum for her update on that and for the link to the IWM shop -

Thursday 12 June 2014

More poets to add to the list

With grateful thanks to Dawn Dyer of Bristol Reference Library, I can now reveal the names of a few more poets to add to my ever-growing list -

Emily Caroline Kington Blair-Oliphant or Ardblair Castle, Blairgrowie whose collection of poems entitled "Chrysoprase" was published in 1916 and sold in aid of the Prince of Wales's Fund.**

Miss M.L. Notts of Clifton Down who collected together a 'booklet of prose and verse' with the help of Sir Henry Newbolt, Rudyard Kipling, Harold Begbie and others and added poems written by herself and by her sister Miss J.P. Nott - sold for the sum of sixpence in aid of sick and wounded horses.

Margaret Hobhouse, whose son Stephen published some of her writing in 1934 under the title "Margaret Hobhouse and her Family" (Stanhope Press, Rochester)

Helen Lanyon - whose poems were  published in "The Englishwoman" and

Grace James - whose poem "Barnaby Bright" was published in "The Englishwoman" April - June 1916.

As always I will do my best to find out more about these women and report back to you.

** The Prince of Wales Fund was set up following an appeal made by the Prince of Wales which was published in "The Times" newspaper of 7th August 1914.  This was to be a National Fund for War Relief.  £250,000 was collected by midnight and in the first week £1 million was raised.  Even by today's standards those are decent sums but don't forget that average weekly wages back then were
counted in shillings not pounds...

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Eva H. Longbottom (1892 - 1957) - British poet and Musician

I am extremely grateful to Dawn Dyer of Bristol Reference Library who has found several poets in the Library’s archives who are not on my list so far.

The first one on Dawn’s list is Eva H. Longbottom, who we think was probably born in Yorkshire in around 1893 and who later moved to the Bristol area.  Eva apparently also spent some time in Liverpool.

Eva was blind from birth.  She was a very accomplished musician, taught music and also wrote poetry.

A small piece written in “The Western Daily Press” newspaper of 17th July 1915, quotes some verses from Eva’s poem entitled “When will my Spring come?”

Dawn kindly photocopied some of the pages of Eva’s memoires, which were published by Rankin Bros. Ltd of Bristol in 1933 under the title “Silver Bells of Memory” by Eva H. Longbottom.

Eva said: “In my humble opinion, the best war poem I wrote is entitled ,”When will my Spring come?”  The title was suggested by an article from the pen of Mr James Douglas, in which he said that when he listened to a certain thrush, it seemed all the time to be singing the words, “When will my Spring come?”  It is only the title I owe to Mr Douglas, however.  The thoughts in the poem itself are mine, and mine alone.” (p. 201).

Extract from the poem:

“Dweller on German soil, list to my warning,
True strength of nations lies not in their might,
Honour prevaileth;  if thou in thy sadness
Canst this great lesson learn, spring shall bring gladness,
Crowning life’s morning with rosiest light.”

By Eva H. Longbottom.

I am pursuing several leads and hope to be able to bring you more about Eva shortly.

Thank you Dawn.

Photograph from the title page of "Silver Bells of Memory" - if you look closely you can see that there is some Braille writing underneath the photo of Eva.

Friday 6 June 2014

6th June 2014 - Remembering the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

I just received this from an American friend and just had to share it with you on this day of Remembrance -

A different war, but a female poet; I thought that you might enjoy this.” Mary, 6th June 2014


Somewhere in France he is sleeping
Under sacred Normandy's moon
Our hero whose flower of manhood
Was shipped off for heaven last June.

There in the green of the hillside
They laid him beside his men;
Nothing shall shatter his slumber
No one shall hurt him again.

Winds sigh the chant of his requiem
Moonlight illumines his cross;
Soft helpless rain like our teardrops
Echoes the pain of his loss.

Yet his is the truest triumph,
Death brings the perfect peace.
The living will always be militant
Till life and its struggles cease.

By: Sister Marcella of the Sisters of Mary, Binghampton, NY 1945

 Thank you so much Mary for sharing this with me.


My grateful thanks to David Collard for pointing out to me that I had placed Dame Margaret Postgate Cole under "P" when she should have been under "C".

I will have to go through my list very carefully and see if there are any other, similar, errors...

Thursday 5 June 2014

May Sinclair Symposium, Sheffield University, July 2014

The May Sinclair Society have recently announced the May Sinclair Symposium to be held at Sheffield University on Friday, 18th July 2014. 

To register and for further details please contact the Society via their website

May Sinclair Symposium

Sheffield Hallam University
The Cantor Building
Room 9020a

Friday 18 July 2014


9.00-9.15 Coffee and Registration

9.15-9.30 Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Dr Rebecca Bowler and Dr Claire Drewery

9.30-11.15 Panel 1 – Scientific and Philosophical Discourses: Psychoanalysis and Sublimation

Sanna Melin Schyllert
Why British Society Had to ‘Get a Young Virgin Sacrificed’: Feminism, Idealism and The Great War in May Sinclair’s The Tree of Heaven (1917)

Leslie De Bont
Portrait of the Female Character as a Psychoanalytical Case: The Ambiguous Influence of Sigmund Freud’s Case Histories on May Sinclair’s Novels

Faye Pickrem
Ontological Fantasy, Libidinal Anxiety, and The Erotics of Renunciation in May Sinclair

Alan Saeed
May Sinclair. William James, Henri Bergson and Stream of Consciousness 1918-29


11.30-12.45 Panel 2 – Exterior Spaces: The Artist and the Public Sphere

Elise Thornton
Learning Greek: The Woman Artist as Autodidact in May Sinclair’s Mary Olivier: A Life

Terri Mullholland
Architecture, Environment, and ‘Scenic Effect’ in May Sinclair’s The Divine Fire (1904)
Emma Liggins
‘May Sinclair and Representations of Women’s War Work’

12.45-13.45 LUNCH

13.45-15.00 Panel 3 – ‘Feminine’ Identities: Self-Sacrifice and Revelation

Audrey Minutolo Le
Incendiary Endings: Creative Fire in May Sinclair’s “Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched”

Wendy Truran
“She knew only one thing about perfect happiness: it didn’t hide:” Embodied Affect, Revelation, and the Challenge of Happiness in May Sinclair’s Mary Olivier.

Charlotte Beyer
Dolls and Dead Babies:  May Sinclair’s Social Critique of Constructions of Motherhood in Life and Death in Harriett Frean


15.15-16.30 Panel 4 – Artistic Influences: Sinclair and Modernism

Ana Drobot
Travelling in the writings of May Sinclair, Virginia Woolf, and Graham Swift

Susan Reid
Platonic critics: May Sinclair, her female contemporaries and the “philosophy of Art”

Charlotte Jones
Impressions of Modernity: May Sinclair, Ford Madox Ford and Avant-Garde Ambivalence


17.00-18.15 KEYNOTE – Suzanne Raitt
“What we must remember, what we would forget”: May Sinclair, fame, and obscurity

Catherine Bridson (1889 - 1956) - Liverpool WW1 Poet

Catherine was born in Liverpool in 1889. Her parents were Thomas Philip Bridson and his wife Alma Victoria nee McKim.

In 1911, the Bridson family were living in Everton, Liverpool and Catherine was a primary school teacher.

Catherine’s brother, who, like his father was called Thomas Philip Bridson, was a Private in the Coldstream Guards during the First World War.  He was killed in action on 22nd August 1918 aged 31. Thomas Philip was buried in the Bucquoy road Cemetery, Ficheux, Pas-de-Calais, France.

Catherine published a collection of her own poems in 1926 under the title “Poems”.   She died in Wallasey in December 1956.

Sydney Fowler Wright included Catherine’s poem “Peel Fishing Fleet” in his anthology “Poets of Merseyside: An Anthology of Present-Day Liverpool Poetry”, Edited by S. Fowler Wright and published by Merton Press Ltd., London, in 1923.

With grateful thanks to the following from The Wirral Peninsula:

Sheena Gaskell and her team of The Birkenhead Reference Library, who found me a copy of “Poets of Merseyside” which enabled me to contact

The Wirral Globe newspaper who published my letter asking for further information about Catherine and to

Angela Duffy of Vertu Antiques in Hoylake who read the article in “The Wirral Globe” and contacted me, bringing the collection of Catherine’s own poems to my attention.

I am still trying to find a photograph of Catherine...

Peel Fishing Fleet by Catherine Bridson

Bronze sail set to the bearing wind,
On wrack-strewn path, with foam-sprayed keel;
Borne on the ebbing, ev’ning tide,
Sets out the fishing fleet at Peel.

The setting sun half veils his light]
In grey dusk cloud and purple mist;
Foreshadowing what drear night-shades
Shall chill the waves – at noon sun-kissed.

Home with the dawning
Of a new morning;
The well-filled creels bring the spoils of the sea;
Nets on the field spread,
Pillow for tired head
Dreams of star silence and night’s mystery.