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Wendy Klein studied Drama and English at the University of Utah and San Francisco State University. She left the USA in 1964 to come to Europe, living in Sweden, France and Germany, before coming to England in 1971. Since beginning to write seriously in 1998, she has published 4 collections of poetry, including a recent ‘Selected’: ‘Out of the Blue, from The High Window Press, and a pamphlet: Let Battle Commence from Dempsey & Windle. Winner of numerous competitions, she is widely published in magazines and journals.
Wendy's website is at http://www.wendyklein.co.uk/
LET BATTLE COMMENCE by Wendy Klein
This short film created by Stephen and Wendy Klein, featuring Charles Lauder and Wendy, is a fascinating and valuable introduction to the poems in 'Let Battle Commence' and their context.
Wendy Klein comments on her pamphlet, which is based on letters from her great-grandfather to his wife during the American Civil War:
'Writing my great-grandfather:
'Just over five years ago, my cousin, the artist Ippy Patterson, sent me 175 pages of letters written by my great-grandfather, Robert Melvin Tarleton Jr, to his mother and to his fiancée, later his wife, Sallie Lightfoot while he was serving as a Confederate soldier. Although I’ve never been much interested in genealogy, I was intrigued with this slave-owning gentleman who had the same name as my paternal grandfather and my own father. As I browsed through the many pages of typewritten text, painstakingly copied from the handwritten originals, I brooded over whether there might be some poems from them. Little did I know how difficult it would be to extract them, to do justice to the many passionate, articulate letters written by my ancestor over that time period, whose beliefs could not have been more different from my own.'
‘Wendy Klein's very personal response to the American Civil War offers us a multitude of viewpoints; honest, brutal even, but always laced with an understanding of the frailty of mankind when in combat. A brilliant piece of work.’ — Jonathan Davidson
'Let Battle Commence is as much Klein’s battle with her own ambivalent feelings. In the final poem of the book, ‘Epitaph 2020’ she recounts her southern cousin’s futile battle “to break some cotton off close to the root”, cutting herself in the effort, thus feeling you had stolen something and that you were right to cut yourself in the process, feeling that you, or any of us could ever know the whisper of the pain inflicted in that troubled time, and suffered from still. Klein’s humility and generosity of spirit suffuse this fine account.'
— Norbert Hirschhorn (London Grip, August 2020)
‘Family history is a subject well used by poets, but Klein succeeds in “making it new.” ‘
--Emily Wills. Artemis Journal
'A no-punches-pulled account of the American Civil War ... The poems are penned around perceptions from our own everyday, films, books, and more recent weaponry, later wars. ...this is desperate reading. As it must be when telling of what becomes part of all wars, famine and disease. No pride or manufactured shame in this ancestry, just a steady recounting of where we have arrived.'
— Sam Smith, The Journal #61
LET BATTLE COMMENCE by Wendy Klein
Published 1st April 2020
Paperback, 15 x 21 cm
(UK p&p free on orders up to £12.00)