Cadet, vets and war poets: creative writing with the armed forces

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For ‘Cadets, Vets and War Poets’, I produced a gala event of First World War poetry with armed forces cadets and veterans, civic dignitaries and university creative writing students. We workshopped a range of famous and unfamiliar poems and performed them, with drills and bugle calls, at a local theatre for the centenary in 2014. Highlights included the Lord Lieutenant’s reading of ‘The Soldier’, the air cadets’ group performance of Woodbine Willie’s ‘The Spirit’, and my women undergraduates giving voice to the war poems written by mothers, wives and sisters. Then I accompanied air cadets and vets on a tour of the war graves of Belgium where their commemorations included poetry performances at key sites around Ypres and Flanders. As scribe on this trip I collected their verbatim reactions, and collated these with my research and reading of WWI literature, to compile a piece of poetry, a war poem of my own. The project is part of Ink:Well, a study of the beneficial effects of creative writing, to consider the therepeutic possiblities of poetic form and mythic structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-221
JournalNew Writing: the International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Poetry, Performance, Armed Forces, Veterans, Therapeutic


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