While places such as Broadway, Charlton Farm, Kirkudbright and Ditchling might ring a bell as artists’ colonies at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, Dymock, as a centre for a small group of poets is less well known. To this village near Ledbury in Worcestershire came Lascelles Abercrombie in 1911. He quickly persuaded friends to join him and so The Dymock Group was formed. It consisted of Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost (plus his friend and occasional visitor Edward Thomas), and Wilfred William Gibson. They rented cottages in close proximity to each other where they thrived on discussion and the exchange of ideas until the proclamation of WW1 tore them apart.
Of the four poets we chose to look at Gibson proved to be the most popular with a wide range of poems covering many topics including a white whippet and a dancing seal as well as his famous ice cart. We heard two favourites by Drinkwater –“ Moonlit Apples” and “The Snail” – while his “Politics” and “The Common Lot” spoke of his wider interests. “These we have Loved” by Brooke touched the heart as ever, but sadly Abercrombie, though popular in his day, proved less attractive to our ears. It was interesting to ponder on what gives poets and poetry staying power.
Christine and Jane (Sharp) announced their forthcoming performance of their own poems written on theme of love: 7th February, Beckenham Methodist Church, 7.30p.m.