Tuesday 9 February 2016

19th March, New Venture Theatre, Brighton Our Sons As Well - poems and prose

“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.”
Wilfred Owen’s ’Strange Meeting’ reminds us of the human cost of the Great War, and of the individual personalities behind the wartime propaganda and the faceless military uniforms.
An evening of poetry and writing from and about a conflict which affected millions - men and women, parents and children, sweethearts and lovers. The event will feature a selection of poems, letters and prose - some contemporary, some modern - read by New Venture actors and special guests. There will also be a short extract from the forthcoming production of ‘How Many Miles To Babylon’.
The image usually brought to mind is of the trenches of the Western Front - but WWI was truly a World War, sweeping up citizens of many nations. European soldiers of all nations, Indian soldiers of Empire (in France and Belgium as well as Mesopotamia), Turks and Anzacs at the Dardanelles. And all these combatants were supported by families and loved ones, as well as the industries and medical services that underpinned the war effort.
‘Strange Meeting’ was written from the Western Front, but the shared humanity of soldiers is universal. The monument at Gallipoli reads - “your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
I am delighted that some of my own work will be performed during this event by New Venture Theatre actors, including Poem for Seven Voices. This long poem, first published in The Half-life of Fathers, is part of Memorandum: poems for the fallen, from which my work will be taken. Far more importantly, poems by Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Sarojini Niadu and many more, form an integral part of the event. I am privileged to be reading Rosenberg's wonderful poem, Break of Day in the Trenches, and the Naidu, The Gift of India. Caroline Davies also has a poem in the lineup, from her forthcoming collection Voices from Stone and Bronze (Cinnamon, May 2016).