Dare-Gale is a small, not-for-profit press founded in 2015, with an initial focus on poetry, history and memoir. The first title to be published was Mary Borden’s Poems of Love and War, launched at the Wimbledon Book Fest in October 2015. This is the first of an inaugural series of collections by poets who saw active service in the First World War, but not with a gun in their hand. Their role was to save life, not to take it. Other poets in the series include Laurence Binyon, who served as a medical orderly at a hospital for French soldiers near Verdun.
Dare-Gale Press takes its name from the opening lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem, ‘The Caged Skylark’:
As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage
Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells…
Since at least the time of the great Troubadour poet Bernart de Ventadorn, the skylark has been a symbol of both lyric poetry and what Hopkins calls ‘man’s mounting spirit’, and its desire for freedom. For Shelley, the skylark is a ‘blythe spirit’ who teaches the poet to sing, while Isaac Rosenberg found ‘strange joy’ at hearing larks in the trenches, their song dropping from the sky ‘like a blind man’s dreams on the sand’. Coleridge translated the skylark’s exuberant song as: ‘I love my Love, and my Love loves me!’.