Searching for female war poets
9:01am Thursday 26th September 2013 in Letters
I NOTICED the mention of the church at Penarth in the Penarth Times and thought I would get in touch. I recently discovered Dave Horne from Bebington, Wirral, who has written a book about the WW1 heroes in his church. The book is beautiful - with photos, biographical details and photos of the graves.
I wondered whether any other communities had produced similar books?
For my part, I live on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire and am currently researching women who wrote poetry during the First World War for a series of exhibitions aimed at informing members of the general public about the First World War through the medium of poetry written by women who were alive at that time. I was asked to undertake this research and produce an exhibition at the Wilfred Owen Story in Birkenhead, Wirral, for November 2012.
I began by looking for a female poet from the Wirral - Wilfred Owen went to school in Birkenhead, where his family lived for some years - and discovered that May Sinclair was born in Rock Ferry. Rock Ferry is a town near Birkenhead on the Wirral. I added two more poets from the North West then looked for poets from other countries involved in the War.
The exhibition was so successful that it has been retained throughout 2013 and I have continued with my research. This is not an academic study - I don't analyse the poems. Panels contain brief biographical details, a photograph and one or two poems according to length. The poems do not have to be about War but the poets should have been old enough to write poetry then. I have also included some poems written by schoolgirls during WW1.
Details of my, self-funded, project are on www.femalewarpoets.blogspot.co.uk
I would like to hear from anyone who has a poet to suggest, for I am hoping to include poets from all of the countries involved in the conflict. I am very aware that I have scarcely begun and am constantly up-dating my list of poets so far.
I would love to include some Welsh language poets. I recently discovered Alice Helena Alexandra Williams who sounds fantastic. I can't find any of her poems though. Can anyone help?
In order to include details of women who were not poets, I have added a section entitled 'Inspirational Women of World War One' and another entitled 'Fascinating Facts of the Great War', for I keep finding interesting facts that I would like to share. Each exhibition is different - depending on the requirements, size, etc of the venue.
There is an exhibition running throughout 2013 at The Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 6AE - Tuesdays - Fridays 11am - 2 pm; phone 07539 371925 to make sure it is open if you plan to go.
Also an exhibition is to be held at Fleetwood Library, North Albert Street, Fleetwood FY7 6AJ from October 1 2013 until November 11 2013.