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The Dymock Poets

Sean Street
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 1998
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Shortly before the First World War a group of poets gathered in the small village of Dymock, in rural Gloucestershire, forming an interacting colony of talent. Their number included Lascelles Abercrombie, Wilfrid Gibson, Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Edward Thomas and Eleanor Farjeon. Among their visitors were W.H. Davies, Ivor Gurney and Edward Marsh, the influential literary person. Their move to Dymock was a conscious decision to work in and respond to the English countryside, to seek a literary idyll. They produced their own journal, New Numbers, to promote their writing, read to each other and discussed literature and its practice in each other’s houses.

The results were far reaching. At the encouragement of Frost, in particular, Edward Thomas turned from literary journalism, to become one of the great English poets of the century. Frost himself gained a new impetus, while Rupert Brooke found Dymock and its occupants a fixed artistic centre during his world-wide travelling.

Sean Street has written a narrative of this brief gathering which is a persuasive and, at times, moving story. His thorough understanding of the poetry, period and area make a valuable and informative contribution to our understanding of a key period into British and American poetry. This new study of the Georgian poets will provoke further and long-overdue reassessment of their writing.

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