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War Poetry The lives and writings of world war poets Contents Introduction Pages 23 A retrospective view of world war poets world war twoPages 45 Introduction to world war one poetspages 67 Into Battlepages 8-13 A poetic visionpages 14 Bibliographypages 15 Introduction 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
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