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Journey From Winter: Selected Poems
Edited by Frances Bingham
Categories: 20th Century, British, LGBTQ+, War writings, Women
Imprint: Fyfield Books
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (223 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2008)
When we were first together as lover and beloved
We had nothing to learn; together we improved
On all the world’s wide learning, and bettered it, and loved.
Now, you stand on the summer lawn and I am to show you
First how to raise the gun to shoulder, bow head,stare quickly,
Then how to struggle with the clumsy bolt, withdraw, return,
and again fire.
from 'Teaching to Shoot' by Valentine Ackland
Valentine Ackland is best known as the lover of poet Sylvia Townsend Warner, with whom she collaborated on Whether a Dove or a Seagull (1934). She was a distinguished poet in her own right, however, and enjoyed popular success during the 1930s. Considered controversial in her times, she was both a lesbian and a communist. Her first poems are highly sensitive accounts of the Dorset landscape, subtly attuned to the rhythms of the sea. She was also an exceptional war poet, writing about the Spanish civil war, life on the home front during the Second World War, and later protests against nuclear weapons. Some of her finest poems are on the subject of the destruction of the natural world.
Journey From Winter presents Valentine Ackland's finest compositions alongside a useful contextual introduction by editor Frances Bingham. This Selected Poems allows her remarkable achievement to be assessed for the full time, re-establishing her importance in the pantheon of twentieth century women's poetry.
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