Poetry Please - 06/06/2010
On Sunday 6th June, Roger McGough presents a special edition of Poetry Please exploring the work of the eminent First World War war poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Recorded on location at Cambridge University Library, Roger meets manuscript librarian John Wells who shows him the highlights of their recently augmented Sassoon collection. The reader is David Bamber.
Seven crates of Sassoon's trench notebooks and diaries were bought by the library after a successful fundraising drive - helped by a Ã‚Â£550,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. We hear a draft of Sassoon's powerful denunciation of the war being read, in which the decorated officer refused to return to duty after being wounded. Written in 1917, read out in the House of Commons, and published in The Times, 'A Soldier's Declaration' prompted a widespread debate.
The poet, whose work captured the futility of war, died in 1967. In the programme Roger introduces requests for Sassoon's uncompromising poems such as 'Suicide in the Trenches', 'Glory of Women', and his friend Robert Graves' powerful poem, 'Dead Boche'.