The Intersection of Modernism and the First World War in Women’s Poetry

1 September 2021

Edel Hanley, University College Cork

While women’s First World War writing reveals that women’s war experience was as psychologically scarring as the combatant experience of trench warfare, little work has considered the relationship between women’s war poetry and modernism. Having not served at the Front, women were presumed incapable of understanding war. Claire Buck highlights the problems associated with women’s war poetry claiming that, “readers have often found it disappointingly backward-looking in both style and subject matter, many poems reiterating a version of femininity rooted in home front experiences of waiting and mourning”. [1] In this article, however, I examine the ways in which women poets deploy modernist and Georgian tropes [Romantic literary tradition popularised early in the reign of King George V) to register war experience. Georgian writing emerged in the 1910s with the publication of Edward Marsh’s anthology, Georgian Poetry, 1911-1912, which featured combatants poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke. The anthology established a new style of poetry which modernists would regard as backward-looking, traditional, and overly sentimental in terms of form and content. Continue reading “The Intersection of Modernism and the First World War in Women’s Poetry”

International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices: An Interview with Connie Ruzich

8 February 2020

Connie Ruzich is a professor of English at Robert Morris University; her Ph.D. is from the University of Pennsylvania. Ruzich was a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar at the University of Exeter, where she researched the use of poetry in British centenary commemorations of the First World War. She is the editor of International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices (Bloomsbury, 2020), and she runs the popular blog Behind Their Lines, which discusses poetry of the Great War. Her essay “Distanced, disembodied, and detached: Women’s poetry of the First World War” appears in An International Rediscovery of World War One: Distant Fronts (Routledge, 2020), and she contributed “Language and Identity: Introduction,” to be published in Multilingual Environments in the Great War (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2021). You can follow her on Twitter @wherrypilgrim.

This interview was conducted by Edel Hanley (University College Cork).

Continue reading “International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices: An Interview with Connie Ruzich”

Online Events Dialogue #3

We’re back with the third instalment in our online events dialogue series. Online events are becoming the new normal, and even when we can all meet in person again, our digital event organisers think that online is here to stay (at least in part – we’d miss the egg sandwiches and bad coffee too much). Last month we heard about nearly-carbon-neutral conferences and a digital lecture series, and before that, we were inspired by an enterprising twitter conference and by the agility of an international conference to make the digital switch. This month, we’re going artsy, with a reflection on how poetry is thriving in the digital space.

Continue reading “Online Events Dialogue #3”

Good Trouble: How Protest and Rebelliousness Have Shaped the Twenty First Century

9 November 2020

Chyna N. Crawford, Elizabeth City State University

Content warning: racial slurs; police brutality

America is a country founded on independence, democracy and political rights. A form of free speech – the right to protest – is the first freedom underscored in the Constitution and has endured for two centuries since ratification. Protests have been widely criticised throughout the history of our country, despite this constitutional right. People have continued to take to the streets time after time, holding up signs, flags and fists. Thousands of demonstrators have faced numerous challenges over the years. Over frigid winters and warm summers, tear gas and water bombs, in search of a certain shared goal: equality. Modernism, like the American spirit, has evolved out of a very rebellious temperament and stance regarding social and political issues.

Continue reading “Good Trouble: How Protest and Rebelliousness Have Shaped the Twenty First Century”

Book Review: Form and Meaning in Avant-Garde Collage and Montage

1st September 2020

Alexandra Chiriac, Met Museum

Magda Dragu, Form and Meaning in Avant-Garde Collage and Montage (New York: Routledge, 2020)

Interdisciplinarity is increasingly an academic buzzword, yet successful attempts to master it are still infrequent. Magda Dragu tackles this issue by slicing up a cross-section of modernist production and investigating its every layer, journeying through art, music, film, and literature in an attempt to classify and differentiate the techniques of collage and montage. Continue reading “Book Review: Form and Meaning in Avant-Garde Collage and Montage”

Insufficiency of Lyric: Tadeusz Różewicz’s Revision

Aleksandra Majak, University of Oxford

It was late summer when the father of my best friend brought me to the house of the Polish modernist poet Tadeusz Różewicz (1921–2014). I sat on a dark green folding couch talking with the poet’s widow, Mrs Różewicz. I don’t know when our words changed into music but at some point, we all started to sing a pre-war song. Its lyrics filled the living room. ‘Life passes quickly / like a torrent time rush’– the father and Mrs Różewicz united in a vigorous chant while my best friend and I exchanged looks, trying not to roll around laughing like some absurdist characters from Różewicz’s drama. Not long after, the father of my friend died, and now when I read Różewicz’s poems I keep returning to the memory of the lyrics shared between us in the surreal intimacy of the poet’s house. 

Continue reading “Insufficiency of Lyric: Tadeusz Różewicz’s Revision”

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