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Latest News 17 May 2020

Noel Harrower- The Blitz in Retrospect

Blesma Member and acclaimed writer Noel Harrower has been included in an anthology of poetry created by veterans, for his poem, ‘The Blitz – in retrospect’.

In 2019, Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre began a series of poetry workshops for US and UK military veterans. Drawing on the expertise of the Poetry Centre – a home for research into poetry and advocacy of its value in society – these workshops, designed and led by poets, veterans and academics, seek to explore how poetry can enable veterans to think through their experiences. In particular, they consider:

  • how poetry might be read and used by military veterans
  • how far 'war poetry' represents – or fails to represent – military service
  • how poetry can help to bridge the military/civilian divide
  • the role that poetry can play in post-war commemorative events.

As a result of the workshops they have created an anthology, 'My teeth don't chew on shrapnel': an anthology of poetry by military veterans, that is free to download and share. It features poetry written by eight workshop participants and associates: Jo Young, Tom Laaser, Claire Hughes, Noel Harrower, John Thampi, Jamie Broady, Andrew Fassett, and Maggs Vibo. The anthology also includes an introduction by Niall Munro, an explanation of the workshop process by Susie Campbell, an essay about women veteran writers by Jane Potter, and reflections on her research into the perceptions of veterans in the UK and the US by Rita Phillips. Susie Campbell has also provided helpful writing prompts linked to the poems for those readers who are - or would like to be - writers.

This anthology is free to download and free to share, and we are encouraged to share it widely. You can read Noel's poem on page 40.

Please note that a few of the poems contain material that some people might find upsetting.

Oxford Brookes Poetry centre very much welcome your thoughts about the poems and other writings in the anthology. Please send them to Niall Munro ( or fill out a short feedback form here.

There are three different versions of the anthology available: one with accompanying audio recordings of each piece in the anthology; one which includes audio recordings of the poems and interview excerpts only; and one which contains only the text. Please note that the larger files will take longer to download and you will have to download the file to your computer/device (not just view it in your web browser) for the audio to work. If you have any questions about the anthology or difficulties accessing it, do get in touch.

Download the first enhanced version of the anthology (a pdf file that includes audio recordings of each piece in the anthology - 105.5 MB)

Download the second enhanced version of the anthology (a pdf file that includes audio recordings of the poems only - 61.9 MB)

Download the text-only version of the anthology (a pdf file that does not include audio recordings - 5.1 MB)

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