Carcanet Press
Quote of the Day
Your list has always been interesting, idiosyncratic, imaginative and your translations [...] have been a source of pleasure to me.
Al Alvarez

Valentine Ackland (1906 - 1969)

  • About
  • Valentine Ackland was born in 1906. Her childhood embraced extremes of privilege and abuse within a wealthy but unhappy family; at nineteen she made a disastrous marriage which lasted less than six months. As a young woman she became notorious for cross-dressing and wild living, but she was also a dedicated poet. She first began writing poems at Chaldon in Dorset, the artists' colony begun by TF Powys, where in 1930 she fell in love with Sylvia Townsend Warner. The two writers lived together in Dorset, and in 1934 they jointly published the erotic and celebratory poetry collection Whether a Dove or a Seagull. They volunteered for the Red Cross during the Spanish Civil War, and were both committed Communists, for a time under surveillance by M15. At the outbreak of the Second World War Ackland moved with Warner to FromeVauchurch, inland from Chaldon, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

    In the late 1930s their lives were disrupted by Valentine’s infidelities and increasing alcoholism; by the end of the Second World War she no longer drank but she embarked on a serious affair. Although the relationship with Warner survived, it became a stormy one during this period, marked by intellectual disagreements. Ackland’s conversion to Catholicism was particularly disturbing to Warner. During her last years Ackland moved towards a Quaker spirituality. The relationship became happier, and the two continued to live together until Ackland’s death in 1969.



Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Louise Gluck's 'Faithful and Virtuous Night' on the TS Eliot Prize shortlist! read more A Portrait for America: An Anti-Monumental Monument by David C. Ward read more 'A pencil, coffee beans, no alcohol and much muttering'. Vahni Capildeo on judging the Forward Prize 2014 read more A Letter from Wellington: An Unaccommodated Elsewhere by John Dennison read more Carcanet celebrates National Poetry Day! read more Eavan Boland 70th Birthday Celebration read more
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2014 Carcanet Press Ltd