One of the poems in Voices from Stone and Bronze inspired by the work of historian Peter Barton has been commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition. Judge Roger Elkin comments
“Peter Barton’s Lessons of History admirably celebrates the photographic and archaeological research into the mass graves of soldiers and tunnel excavations at the Somme by First World War historian and author, Peter Barton. Each of the four short verses begins with a negative “A trench is not just a trench”, “A tunnel is not just a tunnel”, “This passage is not just a passage”, “A map is not just a map”. This connective structural device, while echoing the cataloguing of historical findings, gives the poem a factually-unsentimental tone, but without any dilution of sentiment. This in turn endorses the celebratory nature of the soldiers’ work “dug out spade by spade”, and with “perfectly square shaft”, while recording the fact they “have no headstones” or just “a cluster of crosses”. This is a moving poem, made more moving by the fact that it does not tug at emotional strings.”
A poem I wrote more recently “From Whitsbury Copse to Mametz Wood” about following in the footsteps of David Jones, author of In Parenthesis is being included in the anthology ‘A way through the woods’ being launched at the inaugural Binsted Arts Festival. I will post more details in June when the anthology has been published.
I’m looking forward to Ouse Muse in Bedford this evening and a chance to hear Anne Berkeley read and then on Saturday I’m off to London to take part in the Poetry and Visual Art workshop led by Tammy Yoseloff. I really enjoyed the workshop in the autumn term, and having been unable to do the spring term, I am pleased to be doing this again.