Centenary News – First World War 1914-1918

Centenary News is a not for profit social enterprise that has been set up to provide independent, impartial and international coverage of the Centenary of the First World War.

The site has the following sections:

News Items – Debates – Videos – Articles and Blogs – Centenary News Features – Book Reviews – Events Diary – Organisation Profiles

Robert Graves and the First World War – Thirteenth International Robert Graves Conference, St John’s College, Oxford, 7-10 September, 2016

On the 20 July 1916, just four days before his 21st birthday, Robert Graves was seriously injured and left for dead during action in the Battle of the Somme. His Colonel wrote to Graves’s parents that their son was very gallant, and had died of wounds. However, despite a night’s neglect Graves was discovered the next day still alive in an old German Dressing station near Mametz Wood. On 5 August the Times was able to report that Graves, officially reported died of wounds, wished to inform his friends of his recovery. That Graves’s naturally mythological imagination saw this as a kind of rebirth should come as no surprise, and it afforded him an opportunity to draw on his experiences to become one of the best-known chroniclers of the war in his memoir Good-bye to All That (1929), and in a handful of regularly anthologised poems that survived the process of Graves’s own editing out of his early poetry. But Graves’s engagement with the war goes far beyond these important and popularly-known texts, and it was to remain a subject of conscious and unconscious preoccupation for much of the rest of his long life. The war’s transformative effects on Graves, his contemporaries, and subsequent generations is much under scrutiny in these centenary years, and this conference in the anniversary year of the Battle of the Somme looks to use Robert Graves as a way to further our understanding of the Great War in context.

The conference will include academic papers and readings by contemporary writers. Keynote speakers and participants to include Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Professor Tim Kendall, Patrick McGuinness, William Graves, and Professor Fran Brearton.

Conference Organiser: Dr Charles Mundye, FEA, Sheffield Hallam University c.mundye@shu.ac.uk

A Century Back – Writing the Great War, Day by Day

I’ve just come across this site which, along similar lines to our Facebook page, follows 26 writers and posts excerpts of something that was written or discusses something that happened a century ago to the day. The goal is ‘to build a long, slow literary history of the British experience of the Western Front. http://www.acenturyback.com/

Song of the Poets for Choir and Orchestra

This new piece by Canadian composer Abigal Richardson-Schulte was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for the international WWI commemoration project The World Remembers. Song of the Poets is a six minute work for choir and orchestra based on excerpts from five poems written by soldiers of First World War – Canadian John McCrae,  English poet Wilfred Owen, French poets Louis Aragon and Luc Durtain and German poet Gerrit Engelke.

The composer says

These are not graphic poems of fighting, nor are they propaganda to gain support for the war effort. Each of these poems looks at the outcome of war, told with the perspective of poets able to see beyond their own circumstances. The music is simple and narrative in order to best impart the text. Each section has its own distinct musical themes however there are similarities to link each section together to form a unified piece, despite the language and perspective differences of five different voices. We seamlessly follow their stories through place and time.

More information: http://www.musiccentre.ca/node/123356

Composer’s website http://abigailrichardson.com/

Information supplied by Penelope Monkhouse

EA Projects and Contributions

British Poetry of the First World War, Wadham College, Oxford, 5-7  September, 2014

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, the English Association hosted a major international conference, British Poetry of the First World War, in Oxford in September 2014. The conference Patron was Professor Jon Stallworthy (University of Oxford) and the Convenor was Professor Tim Kendall (University of Exeter).

Keynote speakers were Professor Edna Longley (Queen’s University, Belfast) and Professor Jay Winter (Yale University). Events included lectures, readings, a recital presented by the composer Ian Venables, with baritone Roderick Williams accompanied by pianist Gary Matthewman, exhibitions, a book launch and Conference Dinner.

Societies, associations and fellowships concerned with poetry and poets of the Great War were invited to participate in this conference, including having the opportunity for stands to promote their activities and publications. Providing a forum for these groups, who do so much to sustain interest in war poetry and to further understanding of its contexts, was a key aim of the conference. http://englishassociation.ac.uk/conference/exhibitors/

Visit the conference website: http://englishassociation.ac.uk/conference/