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Remembrance Poems and Readings

Edited by
David Roberts

More information about this collection of poems and readings for Remembrance Day and Peace Events



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French Poems of the Great War 

102 poems by 27 poets

Translated by Ian Higgins

The first substantial collection of French poetry of the First World War translated into English.

It is astonishing that for almost a century the English-speaking world has been unaware of the huge, varied and powerful body of French poetry of the First World War. The poets, men and many women, mainly unknown to British readers, reveal the varied but highly charged responses of French soldiers and civilians to the ordeal of the war.

This moving and wide-ranging record of France's tragic endurance and ultimate victory will stand as a fitting memorial alongside the great British poetry of the First World War.

Published by Saxon Books

190 Pages paperback

9”x 6”

ISBN 978-0-9528969-9-9        £11-95

Cockerels and Vultures - The discovery of a major poet of the First World War

The chance finding of a 90-year-old slim and musty little volume of poetry at a jumble sale in France led to the discovery of a major poet of the First World War. For almost 90 years Albert-Paul Granier was unknown in his own country. The poetry was a revelation to the finder. Granier was soon republished in France and astonished French readers. Granier stands comparison with the best of British war poets.

Now English-speaking readers can encounter this exceptional talent through Ian Higgins’ fine translation.

Cockerels and Vultures is a book for everyone interested in the poetry of the First World War.

Published 2013 by Saxon Books in paperback at £9-95.

ISBN  978-0-9528969-7-5

About Albert-Paul Granier

Albert-Paul Granier was born in 1888 in Le Croisic, on the Atlantic coast of Brittany. He was a talented sportsman, musician and poet. He qualified as a solicitor, but, from 1911 to 1913, he was required by compulsory national service to serve in the army, where he trained as an artillery officer. He was recalled to the army in August 1914 and served on the Western Front. He became an airborne artillery observer and was shot down and killed over the battlefields of Verdun on 17 August 1917.

His volume of war poetry, Les Coqs et les Vautours, had just been published in Paris. It was singled out for praise by the Académie Française in 1918 before falling, unaccountably, into obscurity.


The Translator

 Since the dramatic rediscovery of Albert-Paul Granier the translator, Ian Higgins, has been in close contact with the poet’s surviving relatives, and is uniquely placed to introduce this remarkable writer to English-speaking readers.


Cockerels and Vultures

“By 1914 French poetry had come much further along the path of modernism than British poetry. Where many of the British combatant war poets struggled at first to find the language and forms through which to convey their experience of modern industrial warfare, a young poet like Granier could employ a rhythmic free verse with ease and animate his battle scenes and war-torn landscapes with bold original imagery.

These are the poems of a Frenchman in another sense too: they vividly depict a landscape and culture that have been destroyed and their mood varies from pathos to horror as Granier observes processions of refugees, abandoned dogs, burnt-out hamlets and wrecked churches. There is a demonic power in the forces of war that shatter nature and a deadly calm in the war-torn landscapes that result.

They are also the poems of a soldier and an artilleryman. The big guns are portrayed animalistically, in dramatic but fine detail, as they blunder through tiny villages at night, a ‘deadweight cortege of death’ (‘The Mortars’), or in battle ‘rear their black necks like snakes striking,/Spewing

hatred by the mouthful’ (‘The Battle’). And yet, as they ‘stop for breath’, the battle over, the poet cannot refrain from ‘lovingly, gently’ patting ‘the weary guns’. In ‘The Fort’, the determination with which Fort Troyon at Verdun was held in September 1914 is celebrated. The paradoxes of war are here, as well as all its deadly and surreal power.”   -  Vivien Whelpton.

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We Are The Dead, A book of First World War poems which contains some of Ian Higgins’ translations.

Also translated by Ian Higgins, a book discovered after 90 years of obscurity: