8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An excellent modern anthology of WW1 poetry,
This review is from: Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Hardcover)
With the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war next year, there are multitudes of books already being published about that conflict. The poetry of the war is available in many anthologies but what makes this one different and worth reading is its modern and inclusive take on the canon of WW1 poetry, and its brief but intelligent introduction.
The cover which eschews all those poppies and silhouetted officers in sepia tints announces its contemporary stance: while the canonical Sassoon, Owen, Graves et al. are here, this also offers selections from women who also, of course, served in France. The women poets here are especially interesting for the ambiguity of their responses to war: they experienced both the trauma of conflict and the secret excitement of adventure, liberated from the gendered confines of Edwardian England.
The last section adds in trench-songs and music-hall ballads, giving us a sense of the way in which popular culture responded to the war alongside some of the more literary reactions.
Kendall's introduction is succinct and sadly too brief, but opens up some of the ways in which modern scholars have nuanced readings of WW1 poetry, interrogating some of the well-worn myths about it. So this is an excellent new anthology that approaches this body of literature with some freshness without losing what is valuable in the `traditional' - highly recommended, even if you've read other collections of this verse.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)