Voices of 1919

mike alma voices

Celebrate National Poetry Day in Worcestershire.

Voices of 1919

Autumn in Malvern Festival 

Elmslie House, 8 Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AG

Tickets £8.00 available from Malvern Theatres 

The Box Office, Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern WR14 3HB – telephone 01684 892 277


The Great War is over. In the Spring of 1919 the village of Oakby awaits the return of survivors. Each household has its own story. Through the words of 20 contemporary poets, we hear the voices of villagers struggling to recall their past, to understand the present and to imagine the future.

The Armistice, signed on 11th November 1918, signalled the end of The Great War, but most involved in the fighting would not be returning for months.

This poetry is not about the trenches and battles but is, in the main, the thoughts of those who didn’t go to war – the ‘war to end all wars’ – those who fought their own private battles, from their own village – their own homes.

Voices of 1919 captures a time 6 months after Armistice, in the imagined village of Oakby, in ‘middle England’. The full anthology covers 52 addresses, from Acleaf  Manor and its estates, to the poorest dwellings you would expect to find in a small, rural village. The book contains 190 named, aged and characterised individuals (including those unfortunates who would not be coming back), and 81 poems.

The performance, on National Poetry Day, 28th September (doors open 7.00 for 7.30 start), is a selection of 20 addresses, the poems read by distinguished local actors. Each of the 20 poets’ work is represented. With 16 of the 20 contributors being women much of the content is seen from a woman’s perspective – not, perhaps, the norm when dealing with this terrible conflict.

A narrator will take the audience through the village, introducing various dwellings, before poems are read by the locals living at each address. This is a moment in time rarely shown by either poetry or prose in covering the Great War. The full anthology, Voices of 1919, will be on sale at £10.00, for those who would like to meet all the characters in the book, and discover what has happened to them, 20 years on in May 1939


Sponsored by Peter & Angela Sutton and supported by Worcestershire Literary Festival

elmslie house

© Elmsie House


This year for the first time, organising a NPD event is not the Poet Laureate’s remit because a performance of Voices of 1919 the work of local poet Mike Alma, has been organised for the 28th September and as Worcestershire Poets will be supporting this event (many of them appear in the anthology) we want to encourage our county to this performance for National Poetry Day.

Keep your diaries free for March 21st World Poetry Day, when I will organise an event in lieu of NPD.


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