Other Literary Forms
Gordon Bottomley wrote nondramatic poetry, much of it published privately, in anthologies and in the small literary magazines of his time. Bottomley also favored minor dramatic poetry that appears in the form of monologues, “duologues” (his term), and preludes. He also wrote many one-act plays, a form fashionable in small theaters and theater festivals, religious and secular, in the early part of the twentieth century. Examples of such miniatures of dramatic experimentation include Ardvorlich’s Wife, in Scenes and Plays, and the short plays with Celtic themes in Lyric Plays and Choric Plays and a Comedy.
In addition to his lyric poetry and poetic drama, Bottomley took an active interest in visual arts and the careers of colleagues in a wide range of the arts. Therefore, he introduced works by Sir James Guthrie, the graphic artist, and poetry by William Morris and Isaac Rosenberg, prominent poets of his time. He also left a lengthy correspondence with the painter and illustrator Paul Nash. It was Bottomley’s conviction that serious drama must embrace music and the visual arts.
Bottomley also practiced the art of the dedicatory poem or prologue. Nearly every one of his theatrical works is dedicated in verse to a prominent artistic friend or colleague, including those mentioned above. In this practice, the playwright followed and enlivened a long-standing tradition. Often Bottomley’s prologue poems contain not only the standard praise for their recipient but also a brief apologia for his work.