Ivor Gurney is perhaps best known as a musician and First World War poet but he also wrote vividly and prolifically about his native Gloucestershire, finding inspiration and joy in walking the countryside and expressing its different moods.
This book explores the particular Gloucestershire landscapes - the Cotswolds, the Severn Meadows and the city of Gloucester - that stimulated his creativity in poetry and music, but the relationship went much deeper. Gurney became increasingly dependent on `being-in' these Gloucestershire places as the source of his identity and well-being. Confined to a mental asylum in Kent for the last fifteen years of his life, he still drew on his memories of Gloucestershire, but it was a poetry of absence and loss.
This book contains a wealth of Gurney's poetry with many pieces being published here for the first time. Other features aim to clarify the poetry/place dialogue and include an illustrated colour map, in which Ivor Gurney's Gloucestershire has been interpreted by a map artist working closely with the author; a layered model of Gurney's relationship with these places; and four walking routes, with accompanying commentaries and poetry extracts.
The author is a geographer, literary researcher and walker. Having been born and brought up in Gloucestershire, she has a passion for its landscapes and places.
Eleanor M. Rawling is a consultant in geographical education, a research fellow at Oxford University and an established author, having written several books with geographical or educational themes. She is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a former president of the Geographical Association. She currently edits the GA's journal Geography and writes articles for academic journals.