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To the War Poets

John Greening

Cover of to the War Poets by John Greening
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Categories: 21st Century, British, War writings
Imprint: OxfordPoets
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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Paperback (86 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2013)
£9.95 £8.96
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(Pub. Nov 2013)
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  •                 So there
    you lie, about to die
    but not until St George’s,
    when they’ll bury you
    on Skyros, Achilles’ home,
    and watch the trickle begin
    (from brook to river to flood)
    out of this dry island.

    from ‘To Rupert Brooke’
    In To the War Poets John Greening sends dispatches across the decades. In a sequence of verse letters he addresses the poets of the First World War directly, making connections yet always aware of distance: ‘No larks, / just the passing of traffic.’ Greening explores ‘Englishness’, but also, in his translations from German poets, goes beyond it. From the discovery of the Sutton Hoo burial in 1939 to the security forces’ shut-down of Heathrow airport in 2006, the presence or threat of conflict underlies Greening’s precise, unsentimental writing.

    War (Georg Heym)
    On the Eastern Front (Georg Trakl)
    Pleasure in Form (Ernst Stadler)
    In Despair (August Stramm)
    To August Stramm, Georg Trakl, Ernst Stadler, Georg Heym (Langemark)
    The Train
    To Isaac Rosenberg (Dover)
    The Island, A to Z
    To Wilfrid Gibson (The Menin Gate)
    The Hope Valley Line
    To John McCrae (Essex Farm, Yser Canal)
    To Robert Nichols (France)
    Feast Day, Melchbourne
    To Edmund Blunden (Ypres)
    Reading John Clare on New Year’s Eve
    To Laurence Binyon (Sanctuary Wood)
    So it Runs
    In Trafalgar Square
    To Siegfried Sassoon (Near Bapaume)
    Yeats Dances
    Dropping Slow
    To the Sun (After Akhenaten)
    To Rupert Brooke (Grantchester)
    Wadi Halfa
    To Rudyard Kipling (Tyne Cot)
    To Julian Grenfell (Sanctuary Wood)
    Heath Row
    Cycle, with Cytologist
    To One Who Was With Me (St Julien)
    To Edward Thomas (Agny)
    Eglwys Llangwyfan
    Home Office
    To Vera Brittain (Louvencourt)
    Music Group
       New World (1937)
       American Music
    The Mounds at Sutton Hoo
    Waldo Williams in Perry 
    Summer (Ernst Stadler)
    Bugles (Georg Trakl)
    To Charles Sorley (Dunkerque)
    To Robert Graves (Dover)
    Grodek (Georg Trakl)
    Forge House

    Note on Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Sun
    John Greening was brought up near Heathrow, and studied at Swansea, Mannheim and Exeter. Having worked for BBC Radio 3 under Hans Keller, he then joined Voluntary Service Overseas. He and his wife were sent to teach in Aswan, Upper Egypt for two years, and he was awarded the Alexandria Poetry ... read more
    Awards won by John Greening Winner, 2001 TLS Centenary Winner, 1998 Bridport Award Winner, 2008  Cholmondeley Award
    'Delightfully alert to connections and intersections, to historical ironies... [Greening is] a serious (but never excessively solemn) poet, who cares about both 'facts' and ideas and makes his poetry out of the interpenetration of the two.'
    Glyn Pursglove
    'So to conclude calamity in rest.' In his powerful new collection, John Greening opens lines of communication with poets of the Great War, bridging a century with heart-work of immediacy, economy and humanity.'
    Penelope Shuttle
    Praise for John Greening 'A fine collection of verse... constantly fresh and insightful. It is a collection to return to frequently, to immerse oneself in its richness, its darkness, and its felicity of voice'
    David Malcolm, Poetry Salzburg Review
    'It's a loving and inventive meditation on the sources of creative inspiration; the vagaries of artistic confidence... Greening immerses us in the radiant muddle in which Sibelius found himself during the last three decades of his life.'
    Frank Beck, The Manhattan Review
    'Historical encounters are handled with superb formal control, their power coming from the combination of almost surreal imaginative coincidences with a purity of diction'
    William Bedford, The High Window
    'This is an intelligent, satisfying collection and, appropriately for poetry where one of the main subjects is a musician, it is consistently musical'
    Alwyn Marriage, London Grip
     'Beyond the admirable craftsmanship that characterises almost all of his work, one of Greening's great strengths is his historical imagination.'
    Glyn Pursglove
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