Great War at Sea Poetry Project

The Great War at Sea Poetry Project was established by Hove based researcher Michael Bully, and now has fellow researchers in the USA, Scotland and Australia.

The Great War at Sea Poetry aims to encourage research into the sea as a setting for war poetry of this era written by combatants and non-combatants alike. Looking at contemporary anthologies, ‘war at sea’ poetry was published during the Great War but became marginalised and neglected in later years.

Whether this was due to the sea becoming less of a source of inspiration for poetry, or how categories such as ‘war poets’ and ‘war poetry’ have been constructed, remains an open question. Wider connections between ‘Great War at Sea Poetry’ with ballads and other verse forms have become apparent, particularly in the work of such poets as Cicely Fox Smith.

There is no attempt to create a category of ‘Sailor Poets’ or to claim that sea poetry reveals some hidden historical truth about the nature of Naval conflict. Reading poetry is not a viewed as a substitute for historical research into the ‘Great War at Sea’. In fact a good starting point to studying Great War at Sea Poetry is to read a basic history of the Royal Navy.

The poets researched so far include Ronald Hopwood. Rudyard Kipling, Constance Renshaw, Cicely Fox Smith, Editha Jenkinson, WIlfrid Gibson, Edward Hilton Young.

It is hoped to get an anthology of ‘Great War at Sea Poetry ‘ published to commemorate the centenary of Jutland in 2016.

Anyone interested is welcome to contact Michael Bully at [email protected]