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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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Memoration (Susie Campbell)

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susie campbell

The starting point for my poems ‘Memoration’, ‘Hush’ and ‘Traces’ (the latter two of which can be found in Part III of this book) was a couple of visits I made to the site of the Battle of Hastings. One was a recent visit to research the events of the Bayeux Tapestry, the other an earlier visit made with my mother who died just before I started work on these poems. The similarity of the landscape to northern France, once the site of military conflict and now of a contemporary refugee crisis, was a significant influence on these poems. The gaps, unfinished syntax and obstructions to easy reading gesture towards the challenges of representing war in all its complications, as a deliberate contrast to what may be seen as misleadingly simple or straightforward representations.

The first of the three poems, ‘Memoration’, combines my walk down the hill of the battlefield with a delving into the etymological history of the word commemoration.

 

 

 

 

Māmor, Old English (deep thought, deep inwards) as a tree gives way, or the side of a hill from beneath. To leave this behind, each of us going back far enough

 

 

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