I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
During the First World War and its immediate aftermath, hundreds of women wrote thousands of poems on multiple themes and for many different purposes. Women s poetry was published, sold (sometimes to raise funds for charities as diverse as Beef Tea for Troops or The Blue Cross Fund for Warhorses ), read, preserved, awarded prizes and often critically acclaimed. Tumult and Tears will demonstrate how women s war poetry, like that of their male counterparts, was largely based upon their day-to-day lives and contemporary beliefs. Poems are placed within their wartime context. From war worker to parent; from serving daughter to grieving mother, sweetheart, wife; from writing whilst within earshot of the guns, whilst making the munitions of war, or whilst sitting in relative safety at home, these predominantly amateur, middle-class poets explore, with a few tantalising gaps, nearly every aspect of women s wartime lives, from their newly public often uniformed roles to their sexuality.
Poetry was the language of the people (men, women, and children) during the wars, helping them express their sadness, joy, concerns, confusion, and so much more in ways that are so openly honest. Tumult & Tears is a book that focuses singly on the women who wrote poetry during World War One, breaking down and explaining the desire, meaning, and emotion each poet may have had when writing.
The layout of the book is very organized and flows wonderfully in and out of each transition to the next section. The descriptions of the poems are brief and to the point, but also informative and enjoyable to read.
The way the poetry is listed (and written by the poets) is engaging and will bring a whole new view of the war to the reader, because, personally, I think poetry is more raw and heartfelt than a story. If you are a fan of poetry, especially older poetry, then you may very well need Tumult & Tears because some of the poems stick out with intensity and I was a bit sad when the book ended.
I give Tumult & Tears: An Anthology of Women’s First World War Poetry by Vivien Newman 5 out of 5 stars and will look forward to reading more books from this author.