Literature Links to Ledbury – Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke, born 3rd August 1887, was known as a war-poet and (in the words of W.B.Yeats) “the handsomest young man in England”. He grew up in Warwickshire, studied Classics at King’s College in Cambridge, and lived in Gloucestershire in Dymock with other poets known as “the Dymock Poets”. The First World War resulted in his death in Skyros, Greece, in April 1915 due to septicaemia. As a soldier in the First World War, Brooke wrote several sonnets about his experiences that earned him fame, some of which were included in the works of the Dymock Poets’ “New Numbers”. An emotional crisis in 1912, a consequence of a failure in his first heterosexual relationship in 1911, led to his travels cross  the world and the creation of his travel diaries, published in the Westminster Gazette. However, in his earlier life, there are several accounts of Brooke having romantic relations with his fellow male school pupils. In September of 1912, Brooke met John Drinkwater in London, thus his connection to the Dymock Poets began. He met with the other Dymock Poets several times in London, and continued sending them his poetry even when abroad. After Brooke’s death, the Dymock Poet Lascelles Abercrombie wrote a poem about him, describing him as a “golden fire” with a “glowing mind”.

The Dymock Collection is held at Ledbury Library in The Master’s House and is open for visitors. At Ledbury Poetry Festival, on 5th July, you can join us to explore the collection with a glass of local cider! Book tickets: www.ledburypoetry.org.uk

Collected Poems (New Official Brooke Society Introduction Included) Paperback – by Rupert Brooke ISBN10 0900891807  ISBN13 978-0900891809

Researched by Alice Drury

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