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This article is taken from PN Review 102, Volume 21 Number 4, March - April 1995.

Unpublished Poems by Ivor Gurney (II) George Walter

II 'An unsuccessful and angry poet': unpublished poems by Ivor Gurney, 1922

My poems are pretty well ready for the publishers by now - of which I have said little to you, and some of them aren't bad at all. Sort of 'Young Thomas' many of the things.
(Letters, p.531)


Writing to Marion Scott in April 1922, Ivor Gurney must have reflected on his change of circumstances in the three years since he had last toyed with the idea of a 'Book three'. His move to High Wycombe in September 1919 had been an attempt to balance his commitments at the Royal College of Music with his dislike of 'the grey waste of London' (Letters, p.472), but he had found little relief there. Unable to settle in anyone place for too long, he began to commute between London, Gloucestershire and High Wycombe as his fancy took him. What evidence there is suggests that this restlessness was as much a product of his slowly burgeoning schizophrenia as his desire for the right kind of surroundings: even as early as October 1919 he was suffering once more from 'nerves and an inability to think or write at all clearly' (Letters, p.497). His instability led to the termination of his scholarship in April 1921 and, finding himself unable to keep any job for more than a few weeks, he eventually returned to Gloucester to live with his aunt. Seemingly unemployable, desperately short of money and increasingly disturbed ...


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