World War One Bridges Project & the Bath Poetry Cafe

World War I Bridges is the name of a brilliant international  web project run from Maserada sul Piave, an Italian village on the River Piave .  The Poetry Café’s recent entry,  “The Darkness and the Thunder and the Rain” shares a page with posts on Georg Trakl, poet of the Eastern Front, an introduction to a study from the University of North Carolina on “The Great War and the Modernist Imagination in Italy”, and a report on a recent international convention in Trentino on”The displacement of civilian populations in Europe during the First World War”, a topic which has a tragic new poignancy today as the migrant civilians of countries south of the Mediterranean look to Europe to give them shelter from new wars. The welcome message on  the World War I Bridges site borrows its title from Ernest Hemingway’s Venetian novel Across the River and Into the Trees. Hemingway, a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, was stationed north-east of Venice at Fossalta di Piave, where he was badly wounded by mortar fire in 1918.


Dear Visitor,
welcome to World War I Bridges, the Italy-based radar of First World War legacy and initiatives in the pipeline for the Centenary. Our interests are in the “units” here below and military equipment is not on the top of our minds. You can surf this site also starting from these “units”.
Why Bridges? The armies used to explode the bridges in war operations. We now try to build new bridges during the WWI Centenary from Maserada sul Piave, a small Italian village along the Piave River.
Your WWI Bridges curators

The World War I Bridges site is a wonderful resource for us. My contact, artist and poet  Alberto Cellotto, has very kindly offered to help us with the Italian ‘thread’ in our next evening of readings to commemorate the Great War.


The Darkness and The Thunder and The Rain

On Tuesday 10th November, poets from the Bath Poetry Cafe and their friends gave an evening of readings from the second year of the Great War.  An audience of sixty gathered in the Elwin Room at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square to hear English and European pieces composed during 1915.  The poems were accompanied by a slide show of archival photographs.  Andrew Lawrence led the singing of It’s a Long Way to Tipperary  and Keep the Home Fires Burning and  Cafe organiser Sue Boyle composed the linking narrative. Directed by Zanna Beswick, Cafe poets Ama Bolton, Stephanie Boxall, Ray Fussell, Caroline Heaton, Nikki Kenna, Sue Sims and Shirley Wright were joined by friends Martin Elphick, Luke Hardy, Andy Paterson and Patrick Shervington who between them held the audience spellbound as they brought back to poignant life the voices from the war.

George Leroux pdf

The evening was given both to commemorate the lives lost in the Great War and to raise funds for a range of service charities.  Major Roger Evans of the Royal British Legion spoke about the work of the different service charities and collected the donations.  The Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Ian Gilchrist spent the evening with us.  We were also very fortunate to have the company of Ann Cullis, B&NES Senior Arts Development Officer, Betty Suchar, Chair of the BRLSI Management Committee, members of the Friendship Circle from Larkhall and Mrs Roma Tomkins whose family photographs allowed us to trace the fortunes of our local regiment, the Somerset Light Infantry, during that second dreadful year on the Western Front.