First world war poetry 39′ faris-slm Web definitions A war poet iS a poet written at that time and on the subject of war. This term, at the beginning applied especially to those in military service during World War I. then, documented as early as IS4B in reference to German revolutionary poet, Georg Herwegh The main figures in the first world war Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)-1 Siegfried Sassoon was perhaps the most innocent of the war poets. John Hildebdle has called Sassoon the “accidental hero. Born Into a wealthy Jewish family In 1886, Sassoon lived the pastoral life of a young squire: fox-hunting, playing cricket, golfing nd writing romantic verses. Being an Innocent, Sassoon’s reaction to the realities of the war were all the more bitter and vlolent both his reaction Trough his poetry and his reaction on the battlefield (after the death ot fellow officer David Thomas and has brother Hamo at Gallipoli). Sassoon sadness, he believed that the Germans were entirely to blame.
Sassoon showed innocence by gong public to protest against the war. Luckily. his friend and fellow poet Robert Graves convinced the review board that Sassoon was suffering from shell-shock and he was sent instead to the military ospital at Craig Lockhart where he met and influenced Wilfred Owen. Sassoon is a key figure in the study of the poetry of the Great War: he brought with him to the war the ideal pastoral background. he began by writing war poetry reminiscent of Rupert Brooke. he wrote with such war poets as Robert Graves and Edmund Blunden. e spoke out publicly against the war. he spent thirty years reflecting on the war through his memoirs, and at last he found peace in his religious faith. Some critics found his later poetry lacking in comparison to his war poems. How to Die” ‘ Dark clouds are smouldering into red While down the Craters morning burns The dying soldier shifts his head TO watch the glory that returns He lifts his fingers toward the skies Where holy brightness breaks in name: Radiance reflected in his eyes, And on his lips a whispered name.
You’d think, to hear some people talk, That lads go West with sobs and curses, And sullen faces white as chalk, Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses. But they’ve been taught the way to do it Like Christian soldiers: not with haste And shuddering groans: but passing through it With due regard for decent taste. From the age of nineteen Owen wanted to be a poet and immersed himself in poetry, eing especially impressed by Keats and Shelley. He wrote almost no poetry of importance until he saw action in France in 1917.
He was deeply attached to his mother to whom most of his 664 letters are addressed. (She saved everyone. ) He was a committed Christian and became lay assistant to the vicar of Dunsden near Reading 1911-1913 – teaching Bible classes and leading prayer meetings as well as visiting parishioners and helping in other ways. He escaped bullets until the last week of the war, but he saw a good deal of front-line action: he was blown up, concussed and suffered shell-shock. At Craig Lockhart, the psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh, he met Siegfried Sassoon who inspired him to develop his war poetry.
He was sent back to the trenches in September, 1918 and in October won the Military Cross. by seizing a German machine-gun and using it to kill a number of Germans. On 4th November he was shot and killed near the village of Ors. The news of his death reached his parents’ home as the Armistice bells were ringing on 11 November. Wilfred Owen is the greatest writer of war poetry in the English language. He wrote out of his intense personal experience as a soldier and wrote with matchless power of the physical, moral and psychological impact of the First World
War. All of his great war poems about his reputation rests were written only in a fifteen months. Anthem for Doomed Youth BY WILFRED OWEN What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,” The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes. The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds In England For the first time, am essential number of important English poets were soldiers, writing about their experiences of war. A number of them died on the battlefield, most famously Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, and Wilfred Owen.
Siegfried Sassoon survived but were scarred by their experiences, and this was reflected in their poetry. Wilfred Gibson (1878-1962) -3 Wilfred Wilson Gibson was born in Hexham, England in 1878. Gibson worked for a time as a social worker in London’s East End. He published his first verse in 1902, Mountain Lovers. He had several poems included in various Georgian poetry 1910. After the outbreak of war, Gibson served as a private in the infantry on the Western Front.
It was therefore from the perspective of the ordinary soldier that Gibson wrote his war poetry. His active service was brief, but his poetry contradict his lack of experience, “Breakfast” being a prime example of ironic war verse written during the very early stages of the conflict following the armistice, Gibson continued riting poetry and plays. His work was particularly concerned with the poverty of industrial workers and village workers. Back They ask me where I’ve been, And what I’ve done and seen.
But what can I reply Who know it wasn’t l, But someone Just like me, Who went across the sea And with my head and hands Killed men in foreign lands… Though I must bear the blame, Because he bore my name. str Herbert Read (1893-1968) -4 the poet and critic, was born in France, Yorkshire in 1893 His college studies, at Leeds University, were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, in which he served with the Yorkshire Regiment in France and Belgium. During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Military Cross in the same year, 1918.
Read wrote two volumes of poetry based upon his war experiences: Songs of Chaos (1915) and Naked Warriors, published in 1919, along with two volumes of autobiography, In Retreat (1925) and Ambush (1930). He became an outspoken pacifist during the Second World War. He continued to publish poetry for the remainder of his life, his final volume, Collected Poems, being published in 1966. As a literary critic he championed the 19th-century English Romantic authors, for example in “The True Voice of Feeling” Studies in English Romantic Poetry .
Ernest Hemingway -5 Ernest Hemingway, the son of Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, a doctor, was was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on 21st July, 1899. His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, was a music teacher but had always wanted to be an opera singer. According to Carlos Baker, the author of Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story (1969), he began writing stories as a child: “Ernest loved to dramatize everything, continuing his boyhood habit of aking up stories in which he was invariably the swashbuckling hero”.
When the United States entered the First World War in 1917 Hemingway attempted to sign up for the army but was rejected because of a defective eye. He therefore Joined the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. He later wrote: “One becomes so accustomed to all the dead being men that the sight of a dead woman is quite shocking. I first saw inversion of the usual sex of the dead after the explosion of a munition factory which had been situated in the countryside near Milan. We drove to the scene of the disaster in trucks along poplar-shaded roads.
Arriving where the munition plant had been, some of us were put to patrolling about those large stocks of munitions which which had gotten into the grass of an adjacent field, which task being concluded, we were ordered to search the immediate vicinity and surrounding fields for bodies. We found and carried to an improvised mortuary a good number of these and I must admit, frankly, the shock it was to find that those dead were women rather than men”. A Farewell to Arms (1929), Hemingway’s great novel set against the background of the war in Italy, and eclipses the poetry dealing with his war-time experiences.