The Poet Who Loved the War Ivor Gurney


A charismatic original, Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating, for a while his mental health improved. He wrote about the absurdity of war, boredom and the fickle hand of fate. Ivor Gurney however wasn’t just a poet, he was also an accomplished composer who wrote four widely regarded masterpieces while under artillery fire in the trenches. Unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn’t a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front line soldier. A private. He joined up in the hope that the ordered army life would help ease a mental health condition. Initially this shock therapy worked, but he was eventually shot and gassed and spent the last 15 years of his life in an asylum. Yet the poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful, capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier, and the this documentary argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well known soldier poets of WWI. In dramatized sequences Ivor Gurney is played by Robin Willingham. Filming took place in France, Belgium, Gloucestershire & Wales during the summer 2013. The film was scripted and directed by Clive Flowers. Presented by Professor Tim Kendall from the University of Exeter. BAFTA Cymru Awards 2014 Winner.