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University saves unique Dymock Poet letters

Special Collections and Archives at the university has secured important letters written by the famous American poet Robert Frost for their Dymock Poets Special Collection.

The university, with the aid of grants from Friends of the National Libraries and Friends of the Dymock Poets, was able to purchase two lots of letters written by Frost while staying at his cottage, Little Iddens, in the county during 1914. The letters, which appeared unexpectedly in a sale at a major auction house, offer a fascinating insight into Frost’s opinions of his fellow Dymock Poets.

The Dymock Poets were a group of six writers: Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson and Edward Thomas who lived and visited the Gloucestershire village of Dymock in the months leading up to the First World War. Their time in the village was poignant as two of the poets (Brooke and Thomas) went on to lose their lives during the conflict.

The Dymock Poets Special Collection was established in 1995 and is the only collection focused on the poets in the country which contains unique letters, photographs and manuscripts. The university will also honour the poets by naming the six new student accommodation blocks at Blackfriars in Gloucester after them when they open this September.

Louise Hughes, Archivist at the University of Gloucestershire, said:

“Not only are the letters back in the county where they were written, but they’re here for anyone with an interest in the poets to come and view. We’re very grateful to the Friends of the National Libraries and Friends of the Dymock Poets for helping us to secure the future of these documents, which help to paint a picture of these fascinating writers who are part of Gloucestershire’s literary heritage”.

Richard Simkin, Chair of the Friends of the Dymock Poets, said:
“It is significant that 25 years after the founding of this literary society we are contributing in a small way to the nation’s literary heritage. I must thank the Friends of the National Libraries who helped us to react quickly and save the letters that will now, rightly, stay in Gloucestershire to commemorate 100 years since the Dymock poets walked and talked here”.

For more information on the Robert Frost letters and the Dymock Poets Special Collection, visit the university’s archive page.