Proposed monument would recognise Scotland’s contribution to Great War poetry
A ‘SCOTTISH POETS CORNER’, which would memorialise Scotland’s contribution to poetry during the First World War, has received backing from Edinburgh West MP and Liberal Democrat Scottish spokesperson Christine Jardine and the Scottish Poetry Library.
The monument, initially proposed by Neil McLennan of Aberdeen University, would highlight the city of Edinburgh’s connection to a number of poets associated with the Great War, including Wilfred Owen and Sigfreid Sasson, who underwent recovery from shellshock in Edinburgh.
“A permanent memorial would be another feather in Scotland’s literary cap.” Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine
Jardine said of the proposal: “I was delighted to be approached by the campaign for a permanent memorial to our great war poets and hope that the motion I have made to parliament will draw cross party support. A permanent memorial would be another feather in Scotland’s literary cap.
“With the end of the war’s centenary rapidly approaching, this is a major milestone. Through their work, poets brought the horror of war to life and questioned the romanticism of conflict. It is important we never forget the sacrifice of those who fought for our country.
“We hope it will recognise poets whose words of warning about war came from all nations and are still powerful words to this day.” Neil McLennan of Aberdeen University
McLennan elaborated on his proposal, saying: “The idea of a memorial has been well received by many people since I made the proposal in a Royal Society of Edinburgh lecture.
“We hope it will recognise poets whose words of warning about war came from all nations and are still powerful words to this day.”
“The legacy of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon’s time in Edinburgh is one that changed how we view and value both the inhumanity and compassionate experiences of war.” Asif Khan, director of the Scottish Poetry Library
Speaking to CommonSpace, Asif Khan, director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said: “The Scottish Poetry Library supports initiatives such as Scots Poet Corner that recognise poetry in the public realm.
“In 2015, we produced with Birlinn/Polygon publishers the anthology ‘Beneath Troubled Skies: Poems of Scotland at War’ edited by Lizzie MacGregor. The anthology highlighted often unrepresented poets written in English, Scots and Gaelic, and also women poets. The book contains poems by Charles Hamilton Sorley, E.A. Mackintosh, R.Watson Kerr, Joseph Lee, Charles Murray, May Wedderburn Cannan and Mary Symon.
“The legacy of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon’s time in Edinburgh is one that changed how we view and value both the inhumanity and compassionate experiences of war through the prism of poetry.”
Picture courtesy of Patrick Franzis
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