And You, Helen

and you, helenPoet Deryn Rees-Jones and artist Charlotte Hodes have created a unique approach to the life of Helen Thomas, and through her to the women, and children, left behind by the fatalities of war. Helen Thomas was widowed when her husband the war poet Edward Thomas was killed at the battle of Arras in 1917, and was left to bring up their three young children. On the centenary of the First World War And You, Helen explores her loss, and the loss of all war widows, through poetry, prose and art. In Rees-Jones’s long poem, takes as it’s starting point Thomas’s only poem addressed directly to his wife – ‘And you, Helen’ – and which reflects on their troubled relationship. Rees-Jones’s poem imagines Helen after Edward’s death, and is complemented by a meditative essay on the complexities of the relationship between the poet and his family, and on war, grief, marriage and bereavement more generally: a critical exploration through a personal lens. Charlotte Hodes takes Rees-Jones’s touchstone for her own exploration of these themes through thirteen of her distinctive collages and print, which extend her body of work about the changing position of women since the eighteenth century.