Raymond Hobbs - "Oh God, What Poems We Will Write! [Robert Graves": Canadian Poetry and the Shaping of Memory of the First World War

There is an almost forgotten treasure of reactions to the First World in Canada. It is found in the large amount of poetry, from both home and at the front, by both men and women poets. This talk looks at the various reactions to the war found in this material. They range from frustration, even joy, anti-war expressions and enthusiastic support of the conflict. The poetry, like life's experiences, is often morally ambiguous, and does not allow for neat classification. Much of it expresses hope for the future, but one important question is, What kind of Canada do the poets hope for?


Ray Hobbs is a former Professor at McMaster University [1969-1996], and at an International Seminary related to Charles University in Prague [1996-1998]. His passionate interests are ancient and modern History with a special fascination for the role of Religion in Warfare. He is the author of one book [A Time for War] and dozens of articles on that topic. At present he writing a second, major work on the subject. He has lectured widely in Canada, the US and Europe. He served on the Board of the Dundas Valley Historical Society, and was its President for three years. He has received awards for his contribution to local history from the Hamilton Wentworth Heritage Association, and the Provincial Government of Ontario.

He holds a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of London, UK, and a Magister Degree [ITS Ruschlikon, Switzerland]. In another life he has been active in the Living History movement as a member, and CO of the 41st Regiment of Foot, and since his retirement from that role has been their Honorary Colonel. He is also a member of the Regimental Council of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, one of Canada's senior reserve regiments, and serves as Chair of the Bursary Committee.