Leeds University Officer Training Corps bayonet practice (courtesy University of Leeds Archive)

Poet Andrew Motion to read at Leeds University Centenary commemorations

Posted on centenarynews.com on 14 October 2014
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The former UK Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, will be taking part in a series of events marking the First World War Centenary at Leeds University on October 22nd 2014. 

The day features a programme of poetry and music, the rededication of the university's war memorial and the opening of an exhibition reflecting on legacies of the conflict.

Sir Andrew will join pianist Ian Buckle for an evening programme of poetry and music entitled Anthem for Doomed Youth, after one of Wilfred Owen's best known war poems.

The concert will interweave Sir Andrew’s readings from his own work as well as poems reflecting on the futility of war by Wilfred Owen and Geoffrey Hill, a former Leeds University Professor of English Literature, with Ian Buckle's performance of works including Variations by Anton Webern, who was killed by accident shortly after the Second World War ended.

Sir Andrew said: “We have devised this evening to commemorate those caught up in the tragedies of all wars – but in particular the First World War. It's our hope that the music and words we have chosen will reinforce and resonate with one another.”

Earlier, Sir Andrew will read at a rededication ceremony for the university’s Brotherton War Memorial. The names of 25 men from Leeds who served in the Great War were added to the memorial in August 2014. 

The stories of the men, all of whom who had connections to Leeds University, were uncovered during preliminary research for a new exhibition opening there on October 22nd

University of Leeds: Legacies of the First World War, focuses on some of those commemorated on the memorial, as well as illustrating aspects of university life during the conflict.

The exhibition and the rededication service form part of Leeds University’s 'Legacies of War' centenary project. Professor Alison Fell, who leads the project, said: “The diversity of university staff and students’ responses to the war that we have uncovered reflects the extent to which few people remained untouched by the conflict and its legacies.

“The rededication, exhibition and concert on 22nd October will provide a series of important opportunities for people to both learn about and reflect on the centenary of the First World War.”

More details of the 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' concert programme, and booking information, are available here.

Information & images supplied by University of Leeds

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News