Generally, I dislike poetry anthologies which have too many authors represented by too few poems. One job of a good editor is to be discriminating enough to leave people out. Another is to give a sense of what the best poets sound like. Better to make brave choices by including just a few well-represented poets.
However, now that I am an anthologist-in-the-making, this principle is being challenged. I've stated a case in previous blogposts for various one-poem poets, such as Patrick Shaw Stewart, Julian Grenfell, T. P. Cameron Wilson and Fredegond Shove. The first three of those belong in any authoritative anthology of First World War poetry.
Next up is May Sinclair, better known as a novelist, and still better known---to me anyway---as the unwilling object of the great Charlotte Mew's affections. (Sinclair cruelly reported that on one occasion she 'leapt the bed five times' in order to escape Mew's clutches.) In 1914, Sinclair joined an ambulance unit which went to Belgium to assist the injured and the homeless. She stayed for a month, and her journal, of which there are extracts here, gives a lively description of her experiences. As Suzanne Raitt reveals in this enjoyable article, Sinclair's account may not have been entirely accurate, to say the very least.
May Sinclair remains unknown to First World War poetry anthologies, with one exception. Her poem 'Field Ambulance in Retreat' is included by Andrew Motion in his First World War Poems. That book neatly epitomises everything I don't like about poetry anthologies, but I suppose I ought to be grateful that it introduced me to Sinclair's poem. Here is the poem. Please let me know if you think that it is worth preserving.