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Poetry Magnum Opus

War poetry World War 2


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Due to my work with the Great War at Sea Poetry Project have got to move on to World War 2 war poetry, especially those connected to the war at sea.


Have realised that there is some great work which is overlooked : Keith Douglas, Vernon Scanell, Charles Causley, Alun Lewis, Vera Bax, Alan Ross, Valentine Ackland Norman Hampson are some of the British poets who did some magnificent work. So far have only looked at British poets but intend to go further afield.


Anyone else have an interest in World War 2 poetry ?

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  • 2 weeks later...


I'm familiar with Keith Douglas as one of the Cairo Poets, (poets in WWII serving in North Africa). I love his almost sympathetic view of the enemy soldier. I know he died in the D-Day invasion but was Calvary I believe, not Navy. I don't really know much about other poet soldiers of WWII, but I am a big fan of Wilfred Owens, WWI poet who also died in battle the day before the end of the war.


I would be interested in learning more.



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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  • 3 weeks later...
David W. Parsley

Agreed. WWI poets like Owens, Sassoon, Brooks, etc. have achieved an enduring reputation. Likewise there are poems that have emerged from campaigns in India, the American Civil War, etc. I have always wondered why there is not an equally arresting legacy from WWII. I have never heard of any of the poets mentioned by MichaelBully and Tinker, and maybe it's time for that to change.


On the American side, I can cite at this moment only Richard Eberhart, among prominent American poets. Though not usually considered a "war poet", here are a few fine examples of his work related to experiences in WWII:


Night Watch on the Pacific

The Fury of Aerial Bombardment

A Young Greek, Killed in the Wars


I will also proffer the following poem from The Deep Song by J. A. Christensen. The poem reflects a memory from his childhood in Gunnison, Utah, USA, in which he witnessed a celebration parade for the ending of the war. Though it contains a few stock phrases and mannerisms from a previous generation of poets, it represents one of the early voices in war protest poetry of the 1960s.


A Crown of Thorns


Count me among those who would like to see the topic explored here.


- Dave

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