New Programme for Autumn/Winter 2017

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  1. Professor Tony Curtis

    Professor Tony Curtis D.Litt FRSL
    Pentwyn, 55,Colcot Road
    Barry, Wales, U.K.
    CF62 8HL
    01446 740046

    Your group may be interested in my 2018 tour. It would be a pleasure to come to you.


    Tony Curtis

    Wales: a Century at War 1914 -2018
    Talks and readings by Tony Curtis in 2018

    2018 will be a special year of remembrance as the War to End All Wars is commemorated. All families suffered loss and from the writer’s Pembrokeshire family there was James Charles Thomas who went to war with the Pembrokeshire and Glamorganshire Yeomanry died in the battle of Cambrai; two months later his body was recovered and he was buried in northern France in 1918 where “Some corner of the village of Caudray is forever Tallyhoo Farm, Llangwm.”
    In 2018 Professor Tony Curtis will be undertaking a schedule of talks and readings from his work. Tony has produced three books on the subject of war and is the only poet from Wales to have published a collection dedicated entirely to the subject. War Voices (Seren 1995) brought together poems from the American Civil War, through the two world wars to the Balkans conflict and the nuclear threat.
    The Front
    He took a bullet
    and fell.
    I went down to him
    ducked under their fire.

    I have you.
    It’s alright
    I said.

    Pulling his arms around my neck
    I carried him back
    to the safety of our line.
    His face was wet against my neck.

    They did not let up
    the whole way.

    Taking bullets all the while
    he died against me
    and I wore him like a pelt
    my shield
    my brother
    my other skin.

    His 2016 selected poems From the Fortunate Isles: New & Selected Poems include many of those poems as well as more recent responses to the consequences of war following visits to Berlin, Budapest, Gettysburg and the former RAF airfields of Berkshire. He researched, with very surprising revelations, his father’s Second World War record, then wrote the poem “Pro Patria” .
    He is currently researching Bonny Lewis, a character from his childhood in Carmarthen, who enlisted in 1914. Bonny later became the “Mock Mayor” of Llansteffan and died in mysterious circumstances.

    From William Orpen and Yvonne Aubicq in the rue Dannon

    …Last August baked the mud of the Somme
    into a pure dazzling white. And there
    were daisies, blood-red poppies
    and a blue flower, for miles it seemed,
    great masses of blue that were,
    close to, particular delicacies.
    The sky a pure, dark blue and the whole air
    for thirty feet up or more quivered
    with white butterflies. I brushed them – I was gentle – from
    my uniform as I returned to the car.
    We drove on through fields of white crosses,
    the butterflies slamming against my driver’s glass,
    as if those crosses lurched out of the unsettled earth…

    In 2007 Wales at War: Critical Essays on Literature and Art had contributions by many of the leading critics in Wales with Tony himself writing on Art in Wales during and from the Second World War, Dannie Abse and the Twentieth Century Wars and a chapter on those who chose to conscientiously object to bearing arms in both world wars. This was the companion volume to his After the First Death: An Anthology of Wales and War in the Twentieth Century in which he chose work by Wilfred Owen, Dylan Thomas, Alun Lewis, Raymond Williams, Kate Roberts, Leslie Thomas, Sian James, Siegfried Sassoon and many others.

    From Friedhof
    …Turning the wet earth, Flemish farmers
    still find wire and bones
    tangled with the potatoes and beet.
    And, occasionally, the local paper
    carries at the bottom of a page –
    Farmer blinded by shell.
    It happens when they remove the detonator
    from the rusty casing. The trade is well
    established. The explosive is tired
    but has a pedigree right enough for the men
    of Armagh, Fermanagh, Crossmaglen.

    In 2017 his selected stories Some Kind of Immortality was published by Cinnamon including the 1940s Bevin Boy story “Throwing the Punch” which has been variously published and was originally broadcast on the BBC.

    From the experiences of an Englishwoman serving in the Russian Red Cross in 1917, Augustus John as an official war artist, the German mass graves at Langemark, two young soldiers taking a bath in a lull on the Western Front, the USAF bomber cemetery in Cambridge and a remarkable Queen Alexandra’s nurse in Calcutta, these writings give a broad and humane responses to the century of conflict, loss and bravery.
    Further biographical details, publications, awards and prizes:

    To book a talk or reading by Tony Curtis: contact:

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