A festival of English poetry during war-time attracted lively audiences to Padiham Unitarian Chapel (in Lancashire) on the first three Saturdays of June 2017, with numbers averaging around 50 each evening. This third annual poetry festival at the Padiham Chapel was entitled ‘Edward Thomas and the English War Poets’, and marked the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas at the Front in April 1917.
In the first lecture (on 3rd June), the poet Theresa Sowerby explored First World War poetry, particularly that of Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, against the wider culture of the time. She was supported by readings from David Rushton.
Then on 10th June, Rev Jim Corrigall, minister at Padiham, concentrated on Edward Thomas, asking whether he is best described as a nature poet or war poet, with support from Rev Gillian Peel as reader. Finally (17th June), the poet Edmund Prestwich examined the brutally-honest writings of the Second World War poet Keith Douglas, who was killed in the Normandy landings at the early age of 24.
Lively discussion followed the lectures. Several audience members said afterwards they’d greatly enjoyed the festival, which they described as ‘brilliant’. The Festival was organised by the Lancashire Collaborative Ministry.