Saturday, June 6, 2015

Poems in Local Newspapers

One of the most valuable historical sources is local newspapers. While researching the history of the 1912-1923 period in Sligo I read a lot of local newspapers, the hard copies in the early years, and more recently, on microfilm.

I paid little heed to the poetry which regularly appeared in those newspapers. Recently I have returned to the same newspapers without the pressure of a publisher's deadline and have begun to appreciate the volume and variety of such poetry.

I have set up a website to record, correlate, comment on poems published in Sligo Newspapers 1912-1923. I am especially interested in poems written by Sligo authors.

It is interesting to see how the poetry published will reflect the political upheavals of those years which saw the outbreak of World War 1, the change in attitude among the people, the 1916 Rising, the rise of Sinn Féin and the IRA and the War of Independence, the Treaty and the Civil War.

The war poetry published in 1915 is especially interesting and I have an article, War Poems in Sligo Newspapers, 1915, published in The Spark, North-West Local History and Arts Review, Issue 28, 2015. It especially deals with a poet from Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, Louisa Stockdale.

I also hope to have an article in this year's Corran Herald dealing with 1915 war poems from some Sligo poets.

It is a hobby rather than a task and will be done slowly as time and humour allows. I hope to keep in step with centenaries, 1915 is online and I am working on 1916.

Below: First stanza of a poem encouraging enlistment by South Sligo MP, John O'Dowd from Sligo Champion 4 September 1915.

No comments: