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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Pocket poetry, diary size, were they produced as I remember?


T8HANTS

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Years ago, when I was at school one of our regular teachers was away so an elderly gentleman came in to take the class.

With him he brought a little pile of about a dozen or so small, diary sized books, which were he said, 'pocket poets' designed to be taken into the trenches and they did look exactly like diaries.

He showed how most had khaki or brown cloth covers and were printed on very thin but strong paper by the  diary publisher Letts, (I think) because sales of diaries had plummeted due to war time restrictions. 

The rest of the class probably comprised of readings from the little books and discussions about the work.

I remember soon afterwards hunting in our local second-hand book shops to try and find some, so I must have found it motivating at the time.

Sadly I never have found a single example and fifty years later I am beginning to doubt the memory.

So can anybody confirm that the little diary size books were produced?

Looking back I suspect the teacher was possibly old enough to have bought and used them himself, as they were intended.

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Was it possibly a Palgrave's Golden Treasury?  I have a copy by me, as I type, which was gifted to a nurse in September 1916?  It is definitely pocket sized and has a reddish brown cover?  I believe it was an extremely popular anthology at the time and being capable of fitting in a tunic pocket, was frequently to be found in the possession of many officers and men.  

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