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Wheels

Wheels, Georgian Poetry

sometimes poetry anthologies evident

a series of poetry anthologies edited by Edith Sitwell which appeared annually from 1916 to 1921. The narrowness of range evident in Wheels resulted largely from the marked preponderance of work by the three Sitwells and members of their immediate circle. The prevailing tone of the early editions was compounded of fatalistic gloom in response to the First World War and bitter rejection of the social order which contributors perceived as prolonging the conflict. David Daiches has stated that the poets associated with the anthologies ‘sublimated their own sense of decay into verses sometimes bizarre, sometimes satirical’; the unorthodox and sometimes macabre modes cultivated by Wheels were intended as shocking repudiations of the characteristic gentility of the contemporaneous Georgian Poetry series, to which hostile references were eventually made with increasing explicitness. The second volume featured poetry by Aldous Huxley, whose work was included in each subsequent issue. Seven poems by Wilfred Owen, who had met Osbert Sitwell in London shortly before his death in 1918, were published in the fourth edition. After 1920, Wheels declined through its failure to attract new authors. As a platform for the Sitwells it served its purpose well: marked improvements in their verse became evident in the course of its five-year existence; from being almost unknown in 1916, by 1921 they were famous as exponents of extravagantly experimental verse.

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