Ivor Gurney: A Gloucestershire poet and composer by Sheila Johnson


 This beautiful window in Gloucester Cathedral is one part of the window commemorating the work of poet and music composer, Ivor Gurney. The window has eight panels in total, designed by local stain glass window artist, Tom Denny, and erected in the Cathedral in March 2014. Each panel is based on one of Gurney's poems. 

Although, Ivor Gurney's work, "is brimming over with his fervent love of Gloucestershire, his intense feeling of his Gloucestershire identity", according to Tom Denny, this poet and composer was little recognised until recently. 

Born in 1890, one of the First World War poets whose music was likened to the genius of Schubert by the Royal College of Music, this seems astonishing. He was also a great admirer of the Dymock poets work (mentioned in my last blog) and set some of their poems to music.

A genius who served in the First World War and was gassed, he sadly ended his days in an asylum far away from his beloved Gloucestershire, the theme of most of his work. But his music is still played at classical music events and his poetry has inspired other great poetic voices, such as Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who felt that Gurney's problem was that his poetry was just, 'out of place' and perhaps time. 

But for all that, Gurney is one of the Great War Poets commemorated in Westminster Abbey's Poets Corner. I think he would also be very proud of the window dedicated to his poetry in Gloucester Cathedral.

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