Myers Literary Guide:
The North-East

LILIAN BOWES-LYON (1895 - 1949)

A cousin of the late Queen Mother, Lilian Bowes Lyon was born and grew up at Ridley Hall, near Riding Mill, where Augustus Hare (q.v.) stayed and described the haunting beauty of the grounds. Her observations of the country she loved form the subject of her early poems, but after her removal to the East End of London in 1942, her poetry is concentrated on the war. Her verse appeared in many periodicals and her Collected Poems came out in 1948, when C. Day-Lewis (q.v.) who dedicated a poem to her, noted the influences of Emily Dickinson, Hopkins and Christina Rossetti. Lilian Bowes Lyon wrote much of Northumberland, and poem titles include 'Allendale Dog' and 'Northumbrian farm'.

Her Uncollected Poems (1981) were written after she had lost both legs and the use of her hands through arthritis. They include powerfully direct accounts of the pain she suffered. Her papers are in the William Plomer collection at the University of Durham.

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