A long overdue anthology of women's poetry from a time that seemed for along while, to belong exclusively to the more famous and tragic male war poets. This collection is a poignant answer to Wilfred Owen's condemnation of women as almost extraneous to the horror taking place around them. There are poems which reflect loss and the fear of loss. Poems by nurses and VAD's about the terrible injuries they treat and witness. Poems which are valid social statements by women working in munitions factories and as clippies. Poems by mothers, sisters, sweethearts and wives. The overwhelming feeling of being part of Vera Britain's 'lost generation', and the bitterness of losing their own claim on the future through the loss of their menfolk. Most of these poems are moving, some of them truly heart-wrenching. This book is a treasured member of my library and the inspiration for hours of searching through dusty poetry sections of second-hand bookshops for the forgotten women poets of this time.
This anthology is the result of the bibliographical work of its editor, Catherine Reilly, who discovered no less than 532 published women war poets existed for the FWW period. Here we have an attempt to make up for the incredible lack of women's war poetry in the majority of the mainstream anthologies (most of which are edited by men). For those interested in women's poetry, or poetry of the FWW period this anthology is worth having - it conveys some of the range of poetic expressions of the FWW experience by women, and shows that some women poets at least (such as Rose Macaulay and Carola Oman) did have a good idea of what the FWW was like for those on active service, contrary to the accusations levelled at women by 'trench' poets such as Owen, Sassoon and Rosenberg. I recommend it strongly.
You get a real sense of what the War was like through Womens eyes from this anthology. I brought it for my A-Level in English Literature and whilst only a few of the poems were of any use to me, i enjoyed reading all of them. Honestly,i found poetry quite difficult so it took me a while to 'figure out' some of them but it was useful to be able to reference different types of Women's poetry for essay writing, annoyingly it never came up in the real exam!
Although some of the poems are quite florid, they are a product of the Victorian and Edwardian age which they represented; there are some gems among the poems which are more concise and appeal more because they aren't wordy.
A wonderful collection featuring a whole range of different poetry. From the naive to the angry and to the propaganda, the reader can get a real sense of how the First World War was seen through the eyes of so many different women. If you are interested in the poetry of the First World War, then you will not be disappointed by this!