2017 – December 7th: First Thursday at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff 7.30.
2018 – Tony is undertaking a tour of his illustrated talk “The Great War: Pembrokeshire to Passchendaele and Perth”, which will weave stories about his family at war and some of the most notable writings and art of the conflict.
TBC – June – The Llansteffan Festival.
September – Tenby Festival
November for The Friends of the National Museum of Wales.
November Arts Central, Barry. to accompany the Charles Burton exhibition of Great War drawings and paintings.
From Pembrokeshire to Passchendaele and Perth: my family in the Great War
Professor Tony Curtis
An illustrated talk.
2018 will be a special year of remembrance as the War to End All Wars is commemorated after one hundred years. Tony Curtis will be undertaking a schedule of Powerpoint illustrated talks and readings from his work and from the classic World War One poets and art.
He will trace some of the stories of the Curtis and Barrah families from Tallyhoo Farm in Llangwm to the Battle of Jutland, the Battle of Cambrai and a grave alongside those of Chinese labourers; to Perth, Australia and the ancient kingdoms in Mesopotamia. He will read from the work of amongst others Siegfried Sassoon, Kate Roberts, Hedd Wyn, David Jones, Wyn Griffiths, R.S.Thomas and Bertrand Russell. He will illustrate his talk with the art of Paul Nash, David Jones, E.H. Shepherd, Lucy Kemp-Welsh and Frank Brangwyn.
Tony has produced three books on the subject of war and is the only poet from Wales to have published a collection dedicated entirely to the subject. War Voices (Seren 1995) brought together poems from the American Civil War, through the two world wars to the Balkans conflict and the nuclear threat. And his anthology After the First Death is a definitive collection of the Welsh experience of War. Seren published a companion volume of essays: Wales at War: Critical Essays on Literature and Art.
Tony has researched the Great War experiences of both his Pembrokeshire and Berkshire families. Every region and nation in Britain and its empire served in the war and suffered huge losses. Remarkably though, three of the most significant Great War writers served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers: Robert Graves, David Jones and Siegfried Sassoon and there is a particular Wales contribution to the fighting and to those objectors of conscience. There will be readings from these writers and others from Tony’s Seren anthology After the First Death as well as his own poetry and recent research. The Barrahs from Pembrokeshire and the Curtises from Berkshire served and died in conflicts from South Africa and Mesopotamia through the Western Front to the North Sea. Tony will weave together untold, remarkable stories and some of the most memorable writing of the century in a tour that already takes in three festivals and National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales.
To book this talk, contact profcurtis.
He took a bullet
I went down to him
ducked under their fire.
I have you.
Pulling his arms around my neck
I carried him back
to the safety of our line.
His face was wet against my neck.
They did not let up
the whole way.
Taking bullets all the while
he died against me
and I wore him like a pelt
my other skin.
James Charles Thomas, the writer’s Gran’s cousin who died Nov. 1917 in the Battle of Cambrai. In the twelfth century the Llangwm area was settled by Flemings brought over by Henry I; James by dying in Flanders was completing a circle.