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Dymock Poets Special Collection
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Dymock Poets Special Collection

  • DP
  • Collection
  • 1842 - 2021

On the north-west borders of Gloucestershire, in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the First World War, a literary community was formed which came to represent a significant development in the modern poetic tradition. By August 1914, the poet and playwright Lascelles Abercrombie, Wilfrid Gibson, and the American poet Robert Frost had all taken up residence in and around the village of Dymock. Inspired by the beauty of their surroundings and encouraged by a succession of visitors, including Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Edward Thomas and Eleanor Farjeon, a new literary currency was established during that final summer before the outbreak of war.

Their writings represented a movement away from the prevailing literary idiom, regarded by many as rhetorically ornate and emotionally restricted. Instead the Dymock Poets sought inspiration in natural settings and everyday experiences. In this, and their desire for a more direct, authentic register, their work can be located within the traditions of Wordsworth and the principles set out in Lyrical Ballads.

It was a productive time for all concerned, with four issues of a periodical, New Numbers, being written and printed as a true cottage industry. This period was also to see the emergence of Edward Thomas as a gifted and prolific writer of verse and to lead to Robert Frost’s formation of a new poetic philosophy.

This brief idyll was to prove short lived. Within three years both Brooke and Thomas were dead, Frost had returned to North America, and Abercrombie, Drinkwater and Gibson were involved in war work. Their writings, however, continue to form an important literary legacy to this day.

The institution has actively sought to collect material from various sources that centres on the Dymock Poets (Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, Wilfrid Gibson, Lascelles Abercrombie, John Drinkwater, Rupert Brooke) and related authors such as Eleanor Farjeon. Items are donated or deposited by a wide range of people, including some of the families of the poets. Material has also been deposited by both The Edward Thomas Fellowship and Friends of the Dymock Poets regarding the administration of both societies.

The collection is comprised of original paper-based documents, monographs, journals, articles, photographic material and multi-media. Secondary-source material is catalogued on the University’s library catalogue

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

Articles and flyer relating to the Dymock Poets

Magazine article "The origin of a famous war poet" on Wilfred Owen by John W Foster c.1990s
Newspaper article "Poetic injustice" on the decision not to name a road "Farjeon Way" in Ledbury. Published in the Western Daily Press on 22 February 1997
"Dymock Poets: The Four Churches of The Windcross Parishes" flyer c.1990s

University of Gloucestershire

Articles and Publications 1940s

"Books in General" by V S Pritchett published in The New Statesman and Nation, 22 March 1947. Refers to a lecture by Rupert Brooke given to Cambridge University's Fabian Society in 1911

"The Artist Once" published in The Times Literary Supplement, 22 March 1947. Review if "Democracy and the Arts" by Rupert Brooke

Letter from Iolo A Williams published in The Times Literary Supplement 5 April 1947 querying the date of Rupert Brooke's lecture "Democracy and the Arts" at Cambridge

Cutting with photograph of the unveiling of a plaque to Edward Thomas at 61 Shelgate Road, Battersea c.1949

Assignment of copyright of selected works by Rupert Brooke to Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, Lascelles Abercrombie and Walter de la Mare

Indenture signed by Rupert Brooke's mother Mary Ruth Brooke assigning copyright for Brooke's works "Poems", "1914 and Other Poems", "Selected Poems", "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester", "Collected Poems", "Letters from America", and "John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama" to Gibson, Abercrombie and de la Mare according to written instruction from Rupert Brooke who died intestate. The indenture states that this letter also contained "other matters of a very private nature and has since been destroyed by the Administratix" [Mary Ruth Brooke]

Friends of the Dymock Poets Newsletter Issue 66

Includes Autumn in Malvern festival leaflet 2016; Minutes for the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Dymock Poets 3 October 2015; Booking form and programme for the Annual General Meeting Weekend 2016; Friends of the Dymock Poets Constitution 2016

"Abraham Lincoln: a play by John Drinkwater"

Re-issue for the informal reading to mark the centenary of the first performance at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 19 October 1918. Event held on 19 October 2018 at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham. Richard Simkin's copy, who took part in the reading. Event held alongside performances of the "Quilt Song" opera by Suzie Self

Programme for "Quilt Song" opera by Suzie Self

Inspired by the play "Abraham Lincoln" by John Drinkwater. Performed to mark the centenary of the play's first performance on 19 October 1918 at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre. "Quilt Song" performed on 19 and 20 October 2018 at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham

Letter from Robert Frost to John Haines

Written at Ryton, Dymock. Frost arranges to visit Haines with his daughter Lesley. Includes Frost's unvarnished opinions of Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson alongside comments on the beginning of the First World War.

Pencil annotations by John Haines

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