Some of the most interesting poems from the First World War period are not those that reference the war in an obvious way at all, but which highlight how the rhetoric of war imbued all daily life. In these works, the violence of war seeps into poets' descriptions, imagery and metaphors. This permeation of war vocabulary into every day life is seen in the work of Brisbane-based poet Alice Gore-Jones.
Born in Toowong in 1887 Alice made her living as a journalist, writing primarily for the social pages of the Brisbane newspaper The Telegraph. She also wrote and published poetry beginning in 1904.
Some of Alice's best works engage with a sense of place. Her poems about Brisbane evoke the languid, tropical quality of the city that became popular with later writers. Alice wrote poems explicitly about the war, some of which were included in her only published volume of poetry, Troop Trains, in 1917. In these, bubbles of doubt and scepticism about the value of war are evident. But the best of her poems were those were a sense of place was mixed with war vocabulary and imagery. The poem 'Brisbane', for example, evokes the quiet sense of dread that settled over the city by 1917, without ever making mention of war.
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland