Borders poets capture the Great War in verse

Toni Parks, Alasdair Hutton, Thomas Clark, Robert Leach winners of  poetry competition run as part of the Saving and Sharing Sottish Borders Stories from WWI Project which is commemorating the impact of the Great War on the Borders 100 years on from the conflict.
Toni Parks, Alasdair Hutton, Thomas Clark, Robert Leach winners of poetry competition run as part of the Saving and Sharing Sottish Borders Stories from WWI Project which is commemorating the impact of the Great War on the Borders 100 years on from the conflict.

Three Borders poets are to have their works displayed at Live Borders libraries around the region as well as the Heritage Hub in Hawick.

Thomas James Clark, Hawick, Robert Leach, Selkirk, and Toni Parks from Lanton were the winners of a poetry competition run as part of the Saving and Sharing Sottish Borders Stories from WWI Project which is commemorating the impact of the Great War on the Borders 100 years on from the conflict.

The two-year project was inspired by the sheer volume of poetry found in old newspapers, letters and diaries while the competition engaged people creatively with the subject of the War and encouraged members of the public to reflect on and be inspired by the experience of the local community.

Local poet Tom Murray, who judged the anonymised entries, said: “The quality and wide range of subject made the choosing of the three winners a challenge.

“A rewarding and always enjoyable challenge, the perspective of the poems entered ranged from the soldier at the front, the home front, to the continuing effect of the war into the present day.

“They were thoughtful, questioning, and demonstrated imagination and empathy with this important and still relevant experience.”

As part of the project Tom Murray held two poetry writing workshops while Live Borders Trustee Alasdair Hutton, who made presentations to the winners at Hawick Library last Tuesday, gave an interesting and thought-provoking talk on the Scottish War Poets.

For many during WWI, both at home and on the front line, poetry provided a means of expressing the extreme experiences of war and indeed the poetry of, among others, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Charles Sorley is now part of the national consciousness.

The Saving and Sharing project are exhibiting a selection of Borders WWI poetry in libraries, including the three winning entries of the competition, at Hawick Library February 7-18, Kelso Library February 20-March 4, Duns Library March 6-18, Peebles Library March 21-April 3, Galashiels Library April 4-17, Heritage Hub, Hawick April 18-May 6.