Remembering Edward Thomas

First published in News

WALKING country paths known to the Dymock Poets has proved to be an inspiration for Ledbury-based artist, Valerie McLean.

Mrs McLean, who lives in The Garth, has just published a lavishly illustrated book of Edward Thomas's poetry and prose, after taking her sketchbooks on walks in the Dymock area.

She said: "Edward Thomas walked and talked with his great friend, Robert Frost around countryside near Ledbury, when he stayed for a summer with the artist's colony known as the Dymock Poets, in 1914, just before the First World War.

"Sadly, Edward Thomas, and other great poets, including Rupert Brooke did not come back but we have their poetry some of which was composed locally."

Where possible Mrs McLean, a member of the Friends of the Dymock Poets, has attempted to match poems with scenes that may have inspired the words.

Mrs McLean said: "My paintings relate to the aspect of memory, which is a theme which runs through all of Thomas's poetry, such as in the famous line, 'I remember Adlestrop'."

The new book, Edward Thomas - Paintings and Drawings by Valerie McLean, comes out in time for both the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and the official centenary celebrations of the Dymock Poets, a band of writers who were active in the local area, prior to the outbreak of the Great War.

Edward Thomas was to die during the Battle of Arras, in 1917, at a time when his reputation as a poet was beginning, but was still barely established.

The book launch will take place at Ledbury Books and Maps on Saturday, June 21, from 2pm to 4pm where a section of the Mrs McLean's original artwork will be on show.

The book is also available now from the website www.valeriemclean.com

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