World War One poetry

Discussion in 'Poetry Corner' started by racheyblubird, Apr 29, 2008.

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  1. Hello there,

    I'm hoping that one or two responces to my question may contain a 'gem' and help me through my mental block!

    I'm a student, and at the moment am writting a discourse analysis on World War One poetry. I have pretty much completed it all, but am now at the stage where I have to say if the poetry of that time is, or isn't relevant to today.

    I've had one theory put to me, that 'no it doesn't because the emotion back then was a lot softer. Today it's a lot more angry.' Avery definate answer which I was happy to go along with. However, I've had a decent nights sleep and thinking about it this morning I got to thinking about Sassoon. He seemed (to me at least), to be very angry, and especially disparaging and bitter(?) towards the government, the establishment and the general public!

    As I am using one of Sassoons poems I don't feel I can really use the 'its not as angry as now' arguement.

    Any views or opinions on if the poetry of 1914-1918 can be applied and or is relevant to the situations of the past twenty to twenty-five years would be much appreciated!

    Cheers in advance!

    Rachey
     
  2. I think you would receive much more feedback if you go to this site

    www.1914-1918.invisionzone.com

    it is also known as The Great War Forum. There loads of knowledgable people on there and is a very good research site.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Cheers, you're a star!
     
  4. If you don't have any luck on the suggested site, you can PM me. I spent a reasonable amount of time scribbling away at University on all manner of things, including similar subjects...

    ...terribly dedicated, I was! :wink:
     
  5. Have PM'd you.
     
  6. Well why does being angry make your poetry any more or less relevant? On that basis Jonathan Cooper Clarke would be poet laureate and nobody would read Wordsworth!

    Surely the measures of poetry are "technical", "observational" and "emotional". So if one takes somebody like Sassoon writing about the Great War, his work is technically competent - tick - accurately observational - tick - and both expresses his feelings and engages ours - tick, three out of three.

    Now take a different stance, what makes something "relevant". Well does it relate to current contexts and experiences? Can we infer things about, in this case "war" today from Sassoon's works of 1914-1918? Yes, I think it is safe to say we can. Moreover perhaps we can infer things which are equally relevant, in that they are unchanging and of an eternal verity.

    Reading "War Poetry" of the great War is very dangerous if you don't cross reference it to poetry of the pre- and post-war eras, written by "war-poets" and other poets too. Look at Thomas Hardy's stuff from the war years, then look at Sassoon's post war oeuvre...Also if you think "emotions" were softer in the poetry of WW!, then you must have apparently not been exposed to Sorley, McCrae, Owen, Rosenberg, Wilson Gibson and Blunden! I recommend "Men who march away" an anthology edited by I M Parsons (Chatto & Windus).It's chapters run from Visions of Glory, via The Bitter Truth and No more jokes, to The Wounded and The Dead until it reaches The Aftermath.

    Hope that is helpful, PM me if you have any queries or points to discuss. Good luck.