Posted tagged ‘war’

Centenary of the First World War

January 18, 2014

2014 is, of course, the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. I am currently co-ordinating a collection of short works at LibriVox on this theme, which will be catalogued in time for the 28th July. It is to be a multi-lingual collection, and I hope to have contributions from many parts of the world relating to all sides of the conflict. It will consist not only of poetry from the trenches but many other aspects of the war, from both military and civilian viewpoints.

Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen entered the public domain in the UK on the 1st January this year, and I shall be recording it for the collection.

In my little part of the world, so close to the coast of mainland Europe, the First World War had a devastating effect in many ways. Aside from the loss of life from air raids in the latter stages of the war, Folkestone was the main port of embarkation for soldiers and a major location for the sick and wounded on their return. There were also many Canadian forces stationed in the vicinity of Hythe and Folkestone, and many refugees from Belgium found safety on our shores. I shall be recording an excerpt on some of these subjects from Folkestone During the War.

In the meantime, I should like to draw your attention to a video made by Robbie Ellis to commemorate the centenary. It is a powerful piece, and you should be warned that some of the footage is (unsurprisingly) distressing. Robbie asked me last year to narrate two poems for his video, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, and his own poem The Window, which I found most moving.

You can find the video, The Great War – Centenary, on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqzDclCZv0U

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Poems for Remembrance

November 13, 2011

At this time of year, I like to co-ordinate a weekly poetry project of a poem specially chosen on the theme of remembrance of the fallen. This year, I have co-ordinated two, The Trenches and To a Dog.

For those of you not familiar with the weekly and fortnightly LibriVox poetry projects, one poem is chosen and recorded by as many LibriVoxers as possible. It is surprising how different the interpretations can be.

The Trenches by Frederic Manning (1882 – 1935)

Manning was an Australian poet living in England at the outbreak of the First World War. He enlisted in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and was in action at the Battle of the Somme. This poem paints a vivid picture of the horror of night in the trenches.

All the recordings may be found at http://librivox.org/the-trenches-by-frederic-manning/

Or download my own version directly from http://www.archive.org/download/trenches_1111_librivox/trenches_manning_rg.mp3

To a Dog by John Jay Chapman (1862-1933)

Chapman’s son Victor was the first American pilot to lose his life in aerial combat, while serving with the Escadrille Américaine in the First World War. This poem tells of the heartbreak of a bereaved father; the sentiment, though attributed to the son’s dog, is familiar to all who have lost someone they loved, in peace or war.

All the recordings may be found at http://librivox.org/to-a-dog-by-john-jay-chapman/

Or download my own version directly from http://www.archive.org/download/toadog_1111_librivox/toadog_chapman_rg.mp3


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