New edition of Blunden's poems coming soon
Later in 2018, as a final commemoration of Blunden's war, a new edition of his poems edited by Robyn Marsack will be published by Carcanet. This edition includes a number of poems which to date have been unavailable and is a fresh look at Blunden's body of poetry highlighting his themes of nature and war. It gives readers the chance to assess Blunden anew and understand his place in the 20th century as a poet who spoke with an individual voice which came from his deep sense of what he felt to be true and important in life.
Robyn Marsack has long been associated with Blunden and his work. She first edited his poems in 1982 for Carcanet and in 2014 edited and provided an introduction to Carcanet's Edmund Blunden - Fall In, Ghosts, Selected War Prose. She has recently retired as Director of the Scottish Poetry Library and has co-edited several poetry anthologies including Oxford Poets 2013 with Iain Galbraith.
Fall in Ghosts is an invaluable selection of Blunden's war prose, much of it new to the modern reader as it has been out of print for some time. Apart from essays, a battalion history and a timeline of Blunden's war, it contains the very first attempt Blunden made to record his war experience : De Bello Germanico. This was written straight after the war and so has an immediacy and freshness which Undertones of War, written years afterwards, has by its nature to yield. Here is the opening paragraph from De Bello:
"BETHUNE. The long and slatternly train, scarcely in motion for the past twelve hours, stopped dead and the carriages in succession gave that sudden backward mule-kick which gives troop-trains one of their unique charms, jolting us out of our slightly horrible counterfeit sleep. Yawning and rusty, we collected our trappings and jumped out on the track. I had no more idea than the man in the moon how far we were from the line - from one to thirty miles I decided!"