Tumult & Tears: An Anthology of Women's First World War Poetry

Tumult & Tears: An Anthology of Women's First World War Poetry

by Vivien Newman


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During the First World War and its immediate aftermath, hundreds of women wrote thousands of poems on multiple themes and for many different purposes. Women’s poetry was published, sold (sometimes to raise funds for charities as diverse as ‘Beef Tea for Troops’ or ‘The Blue Cross Fund for Warhorses’), read, preserved, awarded prizes and often critically acclaimed. Tumult and Tears will demonstrate how women’s war poetry, like that of their male counterparts, was largely based upon their day-to-day lives and contemporary beliefs. Poems are placed within their wartime context. From war worker to parent; from serving daughter to grieving mother, sweetheart, wife; from writing whilst within earshot of the guns, whilst making the munitions of war, or whilst sitting in relative safety at home, these predominantly amateur, middle-class poets explore, with a few tantalising gaps, nearly every aspect of women’s wartime lives, from their newly public often uniformed roles to their sexuality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783831470
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 08/05/2016
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Dr Vivien Newman is a respected expert on women in the First World War, with a particular interest in uncovering the lives of women overlooked by other historians. She is on the judging panel for the annual war poetry competitions organised by Never Such Innocence and has previously published four titles with Pen & Sword.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vii

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 When 'Pierrot Goes Forward, What of Pierrette?' 1

Chapter 2 The Power of the Cross: Religion in Women's Poetry 36

Chapter 3 'Lay Your Head on the Earth's Breast': Nature in Women's War Poetry 59

Chapter 4 'I've Worn a Khaki Uniform … Significant Indeed': Serving Women's Poetry 81

Chapter 5 Giving Sorrows Words: Grief in Women's Poetry 112

Conclusion 'Whose the harder part?" 151

Acknowledgements 154

Appendix 1 Biographies of the poets 159

Appendix 2 The Publishers 195

Appendix 3 The Birmingham War Poetry Scrapbooks Collection 203

Index 205

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