And You, Helen
Poet Deryn Rees-Jones and artist Charlotte Hodes have created a unique approach to the life of Helen Thomas, and through her to the women, and children, left behind by the fatalities of war. Helen Thomas was widowed when her husband the war poet Edward Thomas was killed at the battle of Arras in 1917.
On the centenary of the First World War this specially commissioned collaboration explores Helen’s loss, and the loss of all war widows, through poetry, prose and art. Rees-Jones’s sequence takes as its starting point Thomas’s only poem addressed directly to his wife , ‘And you, Helen’. Rees-Jones’s poem imagines Helen after Edward’s death, and is complemented by a meditative essay on the complexities of the relationship between the poet and his family, and on war, grief, marriage and bereavement more generally: a critical exploration through a personal lens.
Charlotte Hodes takes Rees-Jones’s touchstone for her own exploration of these themes through thirteen of her distinctive collages and prints, which extend her body of work about the changing position of women since the eighteenth century.