Letters to Frank Noble Wood

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains several poems written to Frank Noble Wood by other poets and relate to each other's works, particularly to the praise and critique of their verse. The correspondents include J Redwood Anderson, William Watson and Edmund Blunden.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frank Noble Wood was a poet and member of the Hull Literary Club for fifty years, acting as President between 1918 and 1931. He published two books of verse: Songs and Strife: A Selection of poems written during the Great War (1917) and Lines written on a visit to Wilberforce House, Hull and other verses (1912). He died on 11 November 1962, aged 84.

Edmund Charles Blunden, born on 1 November 1896, was an English poet, author and critic. Blunden was educated at Queen's College, Oxford and entered the army as a second lieutenant of the Royal Sussex Regiment in August 1915. He saw action in Ypres and the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross. Blunden wrote about his experiences during the First World War in both his poetry and his prose. In 1919, he left the army and began studying at Oxford until he left in 1920 to pursue a literary career. His first book of poems was published in 1920 to be followed by many other books. In 1920 he also helped edit the poems of John Clare, mostly from Clare's manuscripts. Blunden was a prolific writer and he published numerous works between 1914 and 1967.

Initially unable to support himself as a full-time writer, in 1924 he accepted the post of Professor of English at the University of Tokyo. In 1931, he became a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford and in 1944 became assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement. He returned to Japan in 1947 as part of the British liasion mission in Tokyo and in 1953 he took the post of Professor of English Literature at the University of Hong Kong. His last position was the Oxford Professorship of Poetry which he accepted in 1966 but resigned two years later. Blunden was married three times and was awarded a CBE (1951) and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry (1956). He is also commemorated as one of the 16 Great War poets on a stone memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. He died on 20 January 1974.

Sir William Watson was born 2 August 1858 and died 13 August 1935. He was born in Burley, Yorkshire and was a poet, particularly known for the political content of his poetry. He published several works between 1880 and 1919 and was also a contributor to The Yellow Book. He was a strong candidate for the post of Poet Laureate on two occasions. He was given a knighthood in exchange for writing a panegyric of Lloyd George (1917). After the First World War his work fell into obscurity. In 1935 a public appeal was made to produce a fund to support him in his old age, however, after his death that year his widow was forced to seek employment in domestic service.

John Redwood Anderson was born in Salford in 1883; he was educated on the Continent and later studied for a year at Oxford University. He took several teaching positions in different parts of the country before he settled in Hull where he taught at Hymers College from 1916 to 1942. He was the English master for the Junior School. During and after his time in Hull he wrote a considerable amount of poetry. He was a member of the Hull Literary Club, the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society and he also acted as president of the Hull Chamber Music Society.

When he retired from teaching he moved to Wales and then to London in 1953. Over his poetry career he wrote more than 20 books. He left two unfinished books, one which was on philosophy. His last book of poetry, published in 1962, was 'While the Fates Allow'. He also wrote the play 'Babel' which was produced several times. He was known as one of the leading modern English poets. He died in Sible Hedingham, Essex on 29th March 1964.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by J.B. Wood, 30 Nov 1962 (U DX45/1-2) and 26 May 1964 (U DX45/3)

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