John Drinkwater was an English poet and dramatist. He was known before World War I as one of the Dymock poets, and his poetry was included in all five volumes of Georgian Poetry (edited by Edward Marsh, 1912-1922). After World War I, he achieved fame as a playwright and became closely associated with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Drinkwater was born in Leytonstone, Essex (now Greater London), to actor/author Albert Edwin Drinkwater (1851–1923) and Annie Beck (née Brown), and worked as an insurance clerk. In the period immediately before the First World War, he was one of the group of poets associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock, along with Rupert Brooke and others.
In 1918 he had his first major success with his play Abraham Lincoln. He followed it with others in a similar vein, including Mary Stuart and Oliver Cromwell. In 1924, his Lincoln play was adapted for a two-reel short film made by Lee de Forest and J. Searle Dawley featuring Frank McGlynn Sr. as Lincoln, and made in de Forest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process.
He had published poetry since The Death of Leander in 1906; the first volume of his Collected Poems was published in 1923. He also compiled anthologies and wrote literary criticism (e.g. Swinburne: an estimate (1913)), and later became manager of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
He was married to Daisy Kennedy, the ex-wife of Benno Moiseiwitsch, with whom he had a daughter named Penny.
John Drinkwater made recordings in Columbia Records' International Educational Society Lecture series. They include Lecture 10 – a lecture on The Speaking of Verse (four 78rpm sides, Cat no. D 40018-40019), and Lecture 70 John Drinkwater reading his own poems (four 78rpm sides, Cat no. D 40140-40141).
Drinkwater died in London in 1937. He is buried at Piddington, Oxfordshire, where he had spent summer holidays as a child.
A road in Leytonstone, formerly a 1960s council estate, is named after Drinkwater, as is a small development of modern houses in Piddington.
Books by John Drinkwater
John Drinkwater was an English poet and dramatist.
It is a captivating collection of poetry. Filled with lyrical beauty and heartfelt emotions, these poems will enchant young readers and transport them to a world of imagination and introspection. John Drinkwater, an English poet and playwright, wrote...