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My Favourite War Poet,
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This review is from: The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon (Paperback)
Siegfried Sassoon was a gentleman of leisure who wanted to be a poet, and indeed he did have a limited success before the outbreak of World War 1. It is however his war poetry that made him become noticed and has gained him legions of fans since. Nowadays we are all accustomed to the horrors of war, after all we can see it virtually any day on the news, but back in World War 1 the propaganda machine was in heavy use. The war would all be over by Christmas, we were winning, indeed people may have been led into believing that it was all a slightly dangerous game of football, where you may get killed. Sassoon upset the Establishment by depicting the real horrors of war and they tried to supress what he wrote. Sassoon started out quite optimistic but over the war period he obviously became disillusioned, and you see that subtle shift coming through in what he wrote.
Sassoon was a great friend of Robert Graves, who did have an influence on what Sassoon wrote, rather like how Sassoon had an effect on Wilfred Owen. Although Sassoon wrote in a more traditional style, indeed this is probably better than a more modernist approach and is more powerful when it comes to war he did have an influence on the Modernist Movement in that he described the gritty and hard truth.
To me Sassoon brings the life in the trenches to life, and he writes to the common man, no arty-farty nonsense here. He writes what we can all feel and understand and to my mind is a great help if you are studying that period in history. And lest we forget, the man was a hero himself, after all he was awarded the Military Cross. So, even if you don't normally read poetry but are interested in the First World War then I would strongly urge you to read this book.