Reading the 20th Century discussion

Poetry > War Poets - WWI

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9078 comments Mod
This is a thread to discuss the work of the war poets, such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Ivor Gurney.

message 2: by Pages (new)

Pages | 112 comments We went to see Not about Heroes a few years ago and through that I learnt about Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

message 3: by Pip (new)

Pip | 15 comments We studied some of the 'War Poets' when I was about 14 - just before 'O' Levels, for those old enough to remember them. I'm sure they were the same poems which resurface in any UK school curriculum when looking at the 1st World War, that supreme exercise in futility. Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and others made me a pacifist from a fairly early age.

Here's an interesting resource for War Poetry with a selection of poems, poets' biographies and other information: I've posted it on the page featuring one of the most famous of all War Poems, 'Dulce et Decorum Est', because it's the one which most devastated me, especially when I learnt that Owen died just a few days before the war ended.

message 4: by Judy (last edited Oct 30, 2017 02:59PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4283 comments Mod
Thanks for the resource, Pip. I'm just reading Letters from a Lost Generation: First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends at the moment, and one of the friends, Vera's fiance Roland Leighton, wrote a few beautiful poems - makes you wonder what he could have done if he had lived.

Here are a couple of links for Roland Leighton:

message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4283 comments Mod
I've always loved this poem by Sassoon which is perhaps more in Owen's style:

The Dug-Out

WHY do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
And one arm bent across your sullen, cold,
Exhausted face? It hurts my heart to watch you,
Deep-shadow’d from the candle’s guttering gold;
And you wonder why I shake you by the shoulder; 5
Drowsy, you mumble and sigh and turn your head...
You are too young to fall asleep for ever;
And when you sleep you remind me of the dead.

St Venant, July 1918.

message 6: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) There is nothing more poignant than the works of the young poets, many of whom died in the Great War. It is odd that WWII did not produce that type of quality (or maybe it did and I just am unaware of it). And like most people, one of my favorite poems is In Flanders Fields by Col John McCrae, especially this last stanza:

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

message 7: by Cordelia (new)

Cordelia (anne21) Jill wrote: "There is nothing more poignant than the works of the young poets, many of whom died in the Great War. It is odd that WWII did not produce that type of quality (or maybe it did and I just am unaware..."

There are some WWII poets. One that comes to mind is Auden with "1 September 1939" and "Spain".

message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Cordelia. I didn't mean to sell short any of the WWII is just that the WWI poets have gotten more attention. It may be because so many died either in the war or as a result of the war (illness, wounds, psychological damage).

message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4283 comments Mod
It is 100 years ago today since Wilfred Owen died, just a week before the end of the war. A ceremony has been held at his graveside:

Broadcaster Dan Snow sent this tweet:

100 yrs ago today Wilfred Owen was killed. Almost exactly a week before the Armistice. His last letter to his mum said, "there is no danger down here". She received the news of his death a week later, while the church bells of Shrewsbury rung for victory.

message 10: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1033 comments I read something about the centenary coming up and realized it is just over 100 years since my uncle was killed. I think he was October 6.

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