'British troops having hot tea on their way out from the trenches. Hamel, November 1916', courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM, Q 4542

World Poetry Day launch for international Centenary cultural events and performances

Posted on centenarynews.com on 19 March 2014
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The impact of the poetry and literature of the First World War is to be examined in a wide programme of international cultural events and performances.

It will include a mass book giveaway at a major London station and a series of readings, exhibitions and performances at 32 libraries in Valencia, Spain in October and November 2014.


The programme, under the umbrella of the First World War Centenary Partnership, will remember famous war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon as well as encouraging new poems and looking at modern novels about the war.

                                                              Wilfred Owen

The First World War Centenary Partnership is made up of 2,485 not for profit cultural and educational organisations from 45 countries across the world.

The programme kicks off around World Poetry Day on March 21. In April, people across 33 London boroughs will be invited to commemorate the Centenary by reading the novels “My dear, I wanted to tell you,” by Louisa Young and Michael Morpurgo’s “Private Peaceful.” 

On April 1 there will be a mass book giveaway of 1,914 copies of “My dear, I wanted to tell you,” at St Pancras station, London.

Other highlights announced so far include performances of Our Friends, Our Enemy, a story of the Christmas Truce, written by Alex Gwyther and being presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A British nationwide tour by Feelgood Theatre Productions between August and December 2014 of “Not About Heroes”, by Stephen MacDonald, about the friendship between Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

A British World War One Poetry conference (April 3-5) at University Of Oxford Faculty of English language and Literature discussing women poets as well as Irish and “Empire” poets.

Chelsea Physic Garden, London, will remember regular visitors such as Wilfred Owen who was amongst the first patients from military hospitals to visit the gardens in 1916. To mark the anniversary Chelsea Pensioners and their families will be welcomed into the gardens for 100 days from 28 June).

The British government has released a series of audio recordings of Wilfred Owen’s poetry to celebrate World Poetry Day.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who features in part of the recordings, said: “If you listen in to our Audio Boo App audioboo.fm/DCMS  you’ll hear Christopher Timothy reading Dulce et Decorum Est, one of Wilfred Owen’s most memorable poems, Professor Mary Beard reciting one of her favourite war poems, Shirley Williams reading verse by her mother, Vera Brittain, as well as Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, and me also making our own contributions.”

The Oxfordshire village of Dunsden, where Owen spent two formative years as assistant to the vicar of  All Saint’s Church, has been awarded £22,800 by The Heritage Lottery Fund, to make an Owen trail and smartphone app.

The village will also mark a cultural friendship with Ors, in France, where Owen was killed in 1918.

Details of all the events as they are added can be found on the Partnership’s official website www.1914.org.

Source: IWM Centenary Partnership

Posted by: Mike Swain, Centenary News