Commemorating the Battle of the Somme

“There is nothing retrospective in memorialising the Great War. In some ways, its immensity makes it a continuously contemporary event. Whether we are aware of it or not, it resonates through us all.” 
– John Glenday, 2014

In 2014, The Poetry Society and the Fleming Collection commissioned a new poem from Scottish poet John Glenday, written in response to the painting ‘The Eve of the Battle of the Somme’ by Sir Herbert James Gunn. The new poem, ‘The Big Push‘, was displayed with the painting when it was shown at the Fleming Collection.

To mark the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916, a new filmpoem has been commissioned to accompany the poem. Made by Mosaic Films with animation by Xin Li, itself inspired by the painting. 

Drawing by David Jones inscribed ‘November 1916 / Rats shot during the pulling down of an old dugout in Ploegsteert Wood’. By kind permission of the Trustees of the David Jones Estate and the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
Drawing by David Jones inscribed ‘November 1916 / Rats shot during the pulling
down of an old dugout in Ploegsteert Wood’. By kind permission of the Trustees of the
David Jones Estate and the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Also published this month is an essay by Tom Sleigh in the latest issue of The Poetry Review, in which the poet David Jones’s drawings made in the trenches at the Somme are reproduced. You can read the essay on the website, or in the summer 2016 issue of the Review.

The Poetry Society is marking the centenary of the First World War from 2014-2018 in many ways, which you can explore further on our website

 

Published 30 June 2016