Literature Links to Ledbury – John Drinkwater

John Drinkwater, an English poet, dramatist, and (post-First World War) playwright, was born in Leytonstone on 1st June 1882 and died 25th March 1937 in London. Drinkwater had a love for poetry and often wrote upon themes of natural beauty, self-reflection and growth, and war. However, the pervading passion of his as a playwright, and in 1911 he became manager of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. In the same year, he met Lascelles Abercrombie, and the two poets became friends, travelling frequently to Dymock together where Drinkwater found himself “enchanted by it and by my first sight of Gloucestershire landscape”. The beauty of Gloucester, specifically Dymock near Ledbury, inspired many of his poems, such as ‘Immortality’ and ‘Blackbird’. In the enrapturing village of Dymock, Drinkwater and Abercrombie became part of a group of poets known as the “Dymock Poets”, and Drinkwater became close friends with Rupert Brooke, a Dymock poet who also shared his love for theatre. The two men spent time discussing plays together, yet when the First World War took Brooke’s life, their kindred union was ended. Deeply affected by the loss of his friend, Drinkwater wrote a 22 page essay about Brooke as well as the poem “Rupert Brooke”. Although the war ended their poetical sanctuary of safety, the lives of the Dymock Poets are captured through John Drinkwater’s writing, especially through the poem ‘Daffodils’ which reminisces over the plethora of daffodils and his fellow friends who make rhymes.


Selected Poems of John Drinkwater – 27 Oct. 2022 by John Drinkwater (Author)
Available from all good book shops or from

You might be interested in the Dymock Poets Collection held in Ledbury Library. On Saturday 8th of July, Hereford Chamber Choir present the PREMIERE of new compositions and commissions of reinterpretations of the Dymock Poets’ work. Join us for readings and music! Book tickets at

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