Monday, 2 January 2017

The War Poets Association

The War Poets Association promotes interest in the work, life and historical context of poets whose subject is the experience of war.  To find out more, visit the Association's website:

Monday, 26 December 2016

Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925) - American poet and writer

Amy was a Pullitzer Prize-winning, cigar-smoking poet from Bookline, Massachusets America. She coined the phrase “unrhymed cadence” for blank verse.   In London during 1913, it was Amy who asked Rupert Brooke to ‘speak up’ when he read his poems at The Poetry Bookshop.   

Amy's WW1 collection “Men, Women & Ghosts” was published by The MacMillan Co., New York, in 1916.

Another collection, with the title of “Sword Blades & Poppy Seed” was published in 1914 by Houghton Mifflin & Co., New York.

Amy died in 1925 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusets.

Sources:  Wikipedia and Cecil Roberts "The Years of Promise" (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1968)

Friday, 23 December 2016

List update

Many thanks to "In the Know" who pointed out that Hilary Douglas Clark Pepler (HDCP) should be on the list of Forgotten Poets and not Female Poets.  This will be put right forthwith.  I must admit that I did put a question mark against the name in Catherine W. Reilly's "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) and had not got around to researching Hilary.   Hilary, as "In the Know" points out is both a male and female name in the UK and indeed I have a cousin Hilary and a cousin Elliott, who are female and a neighbour called Cameron who unlike Cameron Diaz is male.

I am indeed grateful to the eagle eyes of those 'in the know' who are helping me compile a list of both male and female poets of the First World War.

My current project is the poets who were involved in WW1 in 1917 as it was the year in which my Great Uncle was killed.  He was lost on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 at Arras.

Now to include Hilary on Forgotten Poets of the First World War.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Kathleen Ethel Burne (1879 - 1959) - British poet and school teacher

My grateful thanks to Lesley Young for providing the following information:

Kathleen Ethel Burne was born in Kensington on 11th May 1879.   Her father was Thomas Burne, who worked as a clerk in a colliery in Co. Durham, and her mother was Mary Isabella Burne, nee Simons.   The family moved to London in 1864 when Thomas worked for the Civil Service, re-organising the War Office accounts during the Boer War.  He then became an Officer's secretary at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Thomas and his wife had several children - Adeline, Godfrey, Cecil and Ormond who went to teach in Germany.  One of Thomas and Mary's sons and a grandson became mining engineers.  Thomas died on 22nd March 1903.

Kathleen attended boarding school in St Andrews, Fife  in 1891 and went on to study at Girton College, Cambridge in 1901.   From 1907 until 1925, Kathleen worked as private secretary to Edmund Lamb MP at his estate in Borden Wood, Essex, where she lived at 3 Garden Cottages, Borden Wood.   During that time Kathleen helped Edmund Lamb research his book ‘Some Annals of the Lambs: a Border Family’ published in 1926.

Kathleen was a teacher for a time and worked for over 25 years with Father Andrew in Plaistow, East London.  She never married.   Kathleen's nephew Harold Burne was killed in Palestine on 3rd November 1917.

Kathleen died after an illness aged 80 on 10th June 1959 at the Hostel of God, Clapham Common, but her WIll states her usual residence was Lake Cottage, Bobbolds Farm, Milland, LIPHOOK, West Sussex.

Kathleen's poetry collection "Poems by K.E.B." includes several poems written during the First World War.

Sources:  Information kindly supplied by Lesley Young who has carried out extensive research on the life and work of Kathleen, and members of Kathleen's family.

Christmas Eve, 1916 by Kathleen Ethel Burne

The little lamp burns bright; the Babe
Lies in the manger there;
The mother bends above; her hands
Are clasped in praise and prayer;
Her tender face a-light with love
Looks down upon Him there.

This little Child was born, they say,
To save the world from sin.
So still and peaceful lies the scene-
How crept the evil in?
What madness swept across the earth
And plunged the world in sin?

The Shepherds kneel, simple souls,
Beneath the open sky
They learn to read the signs of God
And humbly drawing nigh
They worship here the Sign that flamed
From out the midnight sky.

The Wise Men from the East with gifts
In adoration dumb
Bend low. Stern searchers after truth,
But yet in faith they come:
Before the Mother and the Child
Their restless doubts are dumb.

The gentle large-eyed ox, the ass,
Stand gazing without fear;
The camels through the open door,
and small wild things draw near-
Where all is love and peace and joy,
What room is there for fear?
So sweet and peaceful is the scene-
Ah, whence crept evil in?-
Give peace, O God, to weary hearts
And cleanse our souls from sin !
Stretch forth Thine arms, all-loving God
And draw Thy children in !

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Female Poets of the First World War Volume 2 now out

In time for Christmas.   Volume 2 concentrates on British poets and features some of the lesser-known women writers.  Also featured is poetry written by Munitions Workers and Schoolgirls, plus a guest article about poetry and knitting in WW1 by Phil Dawes.

To order a copy please go to

"Wonderful book - well researched. Definitely worth getting a copy" - Dominic Sheridan.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Exciting News from the May Sinclair Society!

Exciting news regarding May Sinclair, who was one of the most important and famous writers at the time of WW1 on both sides of the Atlantic.  May helped to fund, and accompanied, Dr. Hector Munro’s Flying Ambulance Unit to France in September 1914.  She stayed to help out for six weeks before returning to Britain to write about her experiences.  May Sinclair was the first poet I researched for the exhibition of Female Poets of the First World War at the Wilfred Owen Story Museum in Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.  May is also one of the poets featured in Volume 1 of Female Poets of the First World War, available from - also available as a download.

From: Dr Rebecca Bowler (Keele University), Dr Claire Drewery (Sheffield Hallam), and Suzanne Raitt (William & Mary College)
“We received some exciting news yesterday: our proposal for a series of critical editions of May Sinclair's works has been approved by Edinburgh University Press!

The Edinburgh Critical Editions of the Works of May Sinclair will publish Sinclair’s collected prose works: twenty-one novels, six short story collections (bundled in two volumes of ‘shorter fiction’), two volumes of philosophy, one biography (of the Brontë sisters) and one memoir (of the First World War). There will also be one volume of Sinclair’s collected non-fiction, including The Way of Sublimation. Non-fiction and fiction will appear side by side so that the dialogues between each can be explored. Rebecca Bowler, Claire Drewery and Suzanne Raitt are the General Editors.

May Sinclair was an innovative and influential Modernist writer, and these critical editions will, we hope, attract further scholarship on her writings and revive interest in Sinclair as an important modernist writer and public intellectual.

We will be in touch in the New Year with a call for expressions of interest from scholars who wish to edit individual volumes.”

Find out more about The May Sinclair Society -
And follow them on Facebook here -

The Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK, CH41 6AE. Open Tuesday - Friday 11 am till 2 pm or by appointment o7903 337995.

Also on Facebook


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) – American poet “The Poetess of Passion”

Many people today may know the line “Smile and the world smiles with you” from Ella’s poem “Solitude”, first published in “The New York Sun” in 1898, but how many people have heard of the American 'poetess of passion'?   “Ella Wheeler Wilcox was probably the most widely read poet of the day” selling 100,000 copies of her poetry collection “One Hundred Poems” in the early years of the twentieth century (Hollis, 40). 

When planning his trip to America, Rupert Brooke suggested he might take a “message for the continent of America and for Ella Wheeler” (Hollis, 67).

Ella travelled to France during the First World War to read poetry to the American Troops.  They were very pleased to see her and really appreciated her performances. In spite of her fame, Ella Wheeler Wilcox is now one of the ‘forgotten’ poets of the First World War.

Ella features in Volume 1 of Female Poets of the First World War available from

Also available as a download.

Source:  “Now all Roads lead to France  The Last Years of Edward Thomas” by Matthew Hollis (Faber & Faber, London, 2012)