Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > First World War Poets

First World War Poets by Alan Judd
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Oct 31, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

Look at him, that guy in the book's cover. Inside the book, on page four, is a more complete copy of the photo. On top of it is a handwritten dedication which says: "Kind regards, Rosenberg 1917." Within months after this photo was taken at the London Art Studios the guy, Private Isaac Rosenberg, age 28, would be dead, killed in action during the last German offensive of 1918.

He was one of several poets who fought during the First World War. Some survived the war, many didn't but their poems did. The photos of those who didn't, printed in glossy, smooth paper, are quite haunting, especially when you look at them and see how young they were when their lives were wasted senselessly and how brilliant and promising they were.

Second Lieutenant Ford Maddox Ford, who survived, was the ugliest dude among the batch (IMHO, he he) while the handsomest was Sub-Lieutenant Rupert Brooke who didn't survive, killed in 1915, at 27.
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Thanks Pia!

Honestly, however, I don't write what you call literary critiques because I can't. It takes a lot of study to write one and I believe those who write these are mostly people who get paid writing them (and they should get paid because it's no joke writing them). I am lazy, sometimes after reading a book I just want to give it a rating without bothering to write anything by way of a "review." However, I tend to easily forget what i've read so I thought it's better to write something about it so when I go back to it I'll have something to remind me that I've read it already and what it is all about.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly and, may I add, those reviews with some personal touches are generally more fun to read!

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly "The young, tall English poet--soon to die, soon to sail on his small boat into the blue haze and then the storm and then under the gray waves' spinning threshold--went over to Pisa to meet a friend; met him; spent with him a sunny afternoon. I love this poet, which means nothing here or there, but is like a garden in my heart. So my love is a gift to myself. And I think of him, on that July afternoon in Pisa, while his friend Hunt told him stories pithy and humorous, of their friends in England, so that he began to laugh, so that his tall, lean body shook, and his long legs couldn't hold him, and he had to lean up against the building, seized with laughter, abundant and unstoppable; and so he leaned in the wild sun, against the stones of the building, with the tears flying from his eyes--full of foolishness, howling, hanging on to the stones, crawling with laughter, clasping his own body as it began to fly apart in nonsense, the sweetness, the intelligence, the bright happiness falling, like tiny gold flowers, like the sunlight itself, the lilt of Hunt's voice, on this simple afternoon, with a friend, in Pisa."

--Mary Oliver

I thought of copying this poem, on a piece of paper, but I remember it belongs here, with a book about a lot of young, dead English poets.

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