Tim Kendall's study offers the fullest account to date of a tradition of modern English war poetry. Stretching from the Boer War to the present day, it focuses on many of the twentieth-century's finest poets - combatants and non-combatants alike - and considers how they address the ethical challenges of making art out of violence. Poetry, we are often told, makes nothing happen. But war makes poetry happen: the war poet cannot regret, and must exalt at, even the most appalling experiences. Modern English War Poetry not only assesses the problematic relationship between war and its poets, it also encourages an urgent reconsideration of the modern poetry canon and the (too often marginalised) position of war poetry within it. The aesthetic and ethical values on which canonical judgements have been based are carefully scrutinized via a detailed analysis of individual poets. The poets discussed include Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Wilfred Owen, Charlotte Mew, Edward Thomas, Ivor Gurney, W. H. Auden, Keith Douglas, Ted Hughes, and Geoffrey Hill.
Tim Kendall was born in Plymouth in 1970. After graduating from Christ Church, Oxford, he studied for a D.Phil on Northern Irish poetry, then held posts in Oxford, Newcastle and Bristol. He joined Exeter as Professor of English Literature in 2006, and became Head of Department in 2009.
His principal area of research is twentieth-century poetry, on which he has published a number of monographs. His latest book is Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford University Press, October 2013), and he will be presenting an hour-long documentary for BBC 4 to be broadcast in 2014 titled Ivor Gurney: The Poet Who Loved the War.