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Poets Of The First And Second World War.

4403 words - 18 pages

War PoetryThe lives and writings of world war poets.ContentsIntroduction......................................................... Pages 2,3A retrospective view of world war poets: world war two...Pages 4,5Introduction to world war one poets.............................pages 6,7Into Battle.............................................................pages 8-13A poetic vision........................................................pages 14Bibliography..........................................................pages 15Introduction:The last two world wars were unique in our history, not least for the cultural shock inflicted on the whole of our society. Each of them took millions of young men and women away from their families and friends at the most sensitive stage of their lives. It put them into uniform to serve under strict discipline with total strangers in closed communities. It sent them abroad to kill other young men and women hundreds and thousands of miles away in cities, fields and mountains, in deserts and jungles. Finally, it subjected them to long periods of paralysing boredom, punctuated by sharp bursts of extreme excitement in which the prospect of death was always present.For most of these men and women the war was the most intense experience they were ever to know. Thousands, who found the pressure almost too much to bear, turned to poetry as the only way of realising-for the first and often the last time in their lives. So both wars produced a cataract of poetry.However, the poetry of the Second World War is much different from that of the first. Most of the poets that we know of in the First World War were writing in hope of publication. They were nearly all men, and men with university degrees, largely from public schools; Isaac Rosenberg was one of the few exceptions. The patriotic exaltation, which led them to volunteer, stumbled when they came face to face with trench warfare. For the first time they began to ask how the war came about. It was the old champion of the ordinary soldier, Rudyard Kipling, who gave them the answer: "If any man question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied."So the poems, plays and novels of the First World War expressed a mood of bitter contempt for the politicians and brasshats, together with a profound pity for their victims. The pacifism they engendered came to dominate the feelings of the next generation. In the middle nineteen thirties, the news of the concentration camps turned the pacifism in to anti-fascism.So the poetry of the Second World War was far more diverse than that of the First World War. Most of its poets came from ordinary homes and wrote their ordinary poems with no thought of publication. Some of the best were from the dominions such as the South African Uys Krige, the Australian infantry man J.E.Brooks and the New Zealander Les Cleveland. A few of the Scots decided to write in Gaelic, making them even less acceptable to a literary establishment based in London.For all...

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