03/11/2016
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Sir Daniel Day Lewis helps launch war poetry collection in Edinburgh

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Stars including Sir Daniel Day-Lewis and Nathaniel Parker have helped relaunch a special collection of books and other items celebrating the work of war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

Five high profile faces from the arts and creative world have lent their voices to Edinburgh Napier’s relaunched War Poets Collection:

  • Oscar-winning actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Olivier-winning stage and screen actor Nathaniel Parker
  • poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan
  • journalist and broadcaster Allan Little
  • award-winning author Dr Pat Barker

Housed within the University’s Craiglockhart campus, the revamped space has been unveiled to mark 100 years since the Craiglockhart Hydropathic was first used as a military hospital to treat shell shocked officers during the First World War. A newly created bronze sculpture of Wilfred Owen, the first of its kind, has also been installed in the enhanced Collection.

Sir Daniel Day Lewis has recited seven of Wilfred Owen’s most famous works specifically for the Collection, recording versions of The Send-Off, Sonnet, Dulce et Decorum Est, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Greater Love, Soldier’s Dream and Futility. 

His association with Wilfred Owen’s work stems back to his father, Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, who edited Owen’s poetry in the 1960s. Sir Daniel’s mother, Jill Balcon, was a vice-president of the Wilfred Owen Association.

The works of Owen’s friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon have been captured by actor Nathaniel Parker. Nathaniel played Wilfred Owen in Derek Jarman’s War Requiem, a 1989 film adaptation of Benjamin Britten’s film of the same name.

A selection of Robert Graves’ poetry has been recited by the journalist and broadcaster, Allan Little with Yorkshireman Ian McMillan adding his own unique interpretation to a selection of anonymous poetry from The Hydra; journal of Craiglockhart War Hospital

Dr Pat Barker, author of the novel, Regeneration, set in Craiglockhart War Hospital, has recorded a further six poems by officers who were treated there, including The Somme Valley 1917 by Canadian poet Frank Prewett.

The playlist of recorded poetry, which can be listened to through two handsets within the space, will conclude with a haunting version of The Lads of Quintinshill 1915 composed and played by musician Thoren Ferguson. Thoren plays the Wilfred Owen violin which is made from a branch of a sycamore tree from the grounds of Craiglockhart campus itself.

For more infomation on the project, visit the website.

Back to "Scotland and World War One" Category

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