The Works of Sydney Fowler Wright 1874 - 1965

The County Series of Contemporary Poetry No. V

Edited by S. Fowler Wright
Preface by S. Fowler Wright, (Editor of Poetry and The Play)

Published by Fowler Wright Ltd., London.
Printed in Great Britain by Burleigh Ltd., at The Burleigh Press, Bristol.


        This volume is one of a series of County Anthologies of Contemporary Poetry, issued in connection with the work of the Empire Poetry League, but the contributions included are not in any way confined to members of that organisation, though it may naturally be the case that the majority of the authors concerned are among its supporters.

        They are not all equally expert or experienced in craftsmanship. One - and not the least worthy - of the contributors to the first volume of the series, Warwickshire Poetry, is a girl of fourteen. Many others are of established reputation in contemporary literature. All are united in a common artistic purpose, and in the pursuit of ideality in an age which is tragic in some aspects of its materialism.

        So compiled, this series is not intended to be comprehensive, though it is representative, and especially of the younger writers, from among whom must come the makers of English poetry for the next half-century.

        But this claim of 'representative' will almost certainly be challenged by the 'modernist' fraternity, and their supporters.

        The very impartiality with which I have edited these and earlier, anthologies has caused me to be accused of hostility to vers libre, and more broadly to experimental as opposed to traditional forms of poetic expression. But the fact is, as anyone may discover who will make sufficient enquiry, that the bulk of such work is negligible, outside the very narrow circle of the clique which cultivates it in a form which it would be outside the purpose of this introduction to consider in detail

        Where it exists, and wherever its content is anything more than despicable, I have never failed to recognise it, as in the highly experimental work of Mr. Olaf Stapledon in Poets of Merseyside, or the very 'modern' art of Mrs. Dawson Scott, which found its first recognition in the pages of Poetry, and afterwards in the first series of Voices on the Wind, - to the preface of which volume I recommend any who are sufficiently interested, where these aspects of modern poetry is discussed more fully.

        So compiled, what the poetry of to-day actually is, rather than that which any of us would wish it to be, this series can hardly fail to be of some permanent interest and importance.

        It may be said that the poems vary greatly in quality. That is true. I have endeavoured to judge broadly and tolerantly, choosing different poems for different and some times opposite excellencies. Only, and always, requiring that they shall be sincere in expression, and in the worship however humble, of that beauty which all art is born to serve.

        Those of us who are neither deaf to the music of words; nor ignorant of the technique of poetic construction, may yet realise that as 'the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment,' so poetry is degraded from its highest function if it be first regarded as an esoteric art producing curiously-patterned words as subjects for the admiration of the scholar, or the dissecting knife of the critic, rather than a vitalising force, which should be welcomed in any garb, however lowly.

        It has been suggested that each volume of this series should (contain some biographical or other data of the authors concerned, but that would be outside the purpose of the work in which we are interested, which is to extend the love and cultivation of English poetry, rather than the knowledge of those who write it. Besides, the revelation of individuality is contained more certainly in the work of any artist than in the records of his ancestry or occupation. Soldiers and mechanics, peers and butchers, bankers and labourers, men and women of wealth and poverty, of toil and leisure, literate and illiterate, united in the love and practice of poetry, have contributed to make these pages representative of the interests and aspirations of their time and race.

        Poetry is the one art in which the British race is supreme, and by which it will be remembered when its material power may be no more than a legend of history. It is so widely read, and so readily appreciated, because we are a nation of poets. For among poets must be the only audience that poetry can ever win.

        Gathered from such diverse sources, there are yet certain broad deviations observable in the poetry of different counties, which are brought into unusual relief by this method of publication. They are rather variations in subject and outlook, than in any more technical qualities. Where they occur, they throw occasional unexpected lights upon the influences of environment, and the racial characteristics of the localities in which they originate. But it may be largely accidental that some counties appear to be much richer than others in their poetic output. Experience has shown that the response is universal, wherever an intelligent effort be made to organise the lovers of poetry even in areas which have appeared the most hopeless and apathetic at the first enquiry.

        In conclusion, a word of thanks is due to the many lovers of literature, editors, librarians, and members of the E.P.L., in all parts of the country through whose generous enthusiasm and unselfish help the production of these books has been made possible. They are too numerous for individual mention, and it would be invidious to make a selection among the names of those who have shared in a common enterprise.


(Editor of Poetry and the Play).


L. Alick
Sydney Jean Barnes
Alfred Gordon Bennett
Arthur Bennett
        The Earthly Paradise
        Other Worlds Than Ours
        The City Of My Dreams
        A Song For England
William N. Carter
        An Old House
        White Magic
Alice E. Collinge
        My Friend
        I Would Not Be
James Wilfred Cryer
        The Pleasure House Of Gold
William Cryer
        On Blackstone Edge
Helena Derezinska
        Written On A Beautiful Day
        The Visitation
Norman Donnelly
        Fool Moon And Tempest
        The Modeller
        End Of April
        The Gentle Jesus
Agnes E. Drey
        Spring In Town
W. G. Farrell
        Mountain Fever
J. V. Ingram
        The Return
P. Hoole Jackson
        Three Pedlars
        Three Riders
        The Eternal Quest
        The Conquerors
        Gallipoli: A Memory
        Scarlet And Gold
        The Alien
        The Flower Legend
        A Lullaby
Sydney Jeffery
        Death, When You Come
        Ballade of Surrender
Edith M. Johnes
        The Dying Confession of Abigail Johnson
Enda A. Kahla
        In Syria
N. J. Kessler
        The Sea
        A Portrait
        A Song of Chile
Annie L. Knowles
        A Linnet's Song
        Realism And Idealism: A Retort
H. Lejeune
        The Pageant of Live
        John The Baptist
        Sweet, Cold Evenings of Spring
        St. Michael And All Angels: A Cry
        A Northern Town Garden
        A Late Spring In Sussex
Geraldine E. Lyster
Russell Markland
        The Bath
Sophia Miller
        Night's Slumber Loom
        God's Freight
Frances Evelyn Millett
P. Nowell
        My Heart
        Be Still, O Thought
Henry Nuttall
        The Village Tavern
        The Village Pastor
        The Village Wedding
        The Village Fete
Florence Overton
        Shepherd Of The Hill
Irene R. Potter
Mary Prall
        A Desert Song
        To L. Raven Hill
O.D. Rudkin
        One Michaelmas
Edith Hope-Scott
        The Fruit-Grower In Spring
        The Poet's Outlook
        The Cat
Suzanne Stone
J.M. Stuart-Young
        For This Hour
        From Your Window
        My Bonny, Bonny Lass
        One Thing Thou Lackest
        Uncle Jim
        Son Of Shem
        An Inscription
Emily Howson Taylor
        Russia And England, 1917
        The Visitor
Gwen Taylor
        The Devil's Bridge
Ruth Taylor
        A Summer Thought
        Six Beautiful Things
        A Garden
Judith Brundrett-Tweedale
        The Harbour Of Polperro
        To Sicily
        My Darling Sleeps
S. Wilson
        The Anger of The Sea
Maurice J. Wrigley
        The Wreck

Publisher's Announcements.

Some Scottish Verse: Chosen & Edited by S. Fowler Wright. Crown 8vo. Cloth 5s. net

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