Poetry of the First World War An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) Hardcover – 10 Oct 2013
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What makes this anthology invaluable is the attention to detail. Not only is there an acutely perceptive general introduction, but all the poets - including the often misunderstood Rupert Brooke - receive a sympathetic and well judge individual introduction, together with a wealth of biographical and bibliographical information. (Agenda, N. S. Thompson)
Kendall's introductory essay is a thoughtful contribution to the history of the war poetry. With the political point scoring that will dominate the major part of the media and political debate [during] the centenary, Kendall's collection reminds us of the human cost of that conflict, and of any conflict. (The Use of English, Anil Malhotra)
Kendall's judicious selections, and his concise and useful introductions to each of the chosen poets, suggest that his anthology will become a standard work (Sean O'Brien, The Times Literary Supplement)
The Oxford University Press anthology The Poetry of the First World War, edited by Tim Kendall, offers a counterweight to this year's public commemorations and it is a superb selection. (David Collard, Times Literary Supplement)
Superb anthology. (Mail on Sunday)
A superb, unbeatable collection (Bel Mooney, Daily Mail)
The best poetry collection I read brilliantly edited, with illuminating notes. (Jerard Bretts, the guardian)
This is a thoroughly well produced anthology of powerful and fascinating poems. (Sheenagh Pugh)
This is much the best selection yet made ... Kendall selects brilliantly. (Peter McDonald, Times Literary Supplement)
As a student-friendly definition of the Great War canon, and as a piece of meticulous scholarship, this one will be hard to beat. (George Simmers, Great War Fiction)
This is a book worthy of any bookshelf. (Evil Cyclist's Blog)
Superb. (Weekly Standard)
This is a wonderful resource, with a useful critical introduction and many poems by both canonical and non-canonical writers that are not commonly included. I particularly like the fact that the volume is structured by author rather than thematically or chronologically, as it takes student readers in particular away from a simplistic perception of First World War poetry as evolving from naive patriotism to disillusionment. (Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus, Northumbria University)
About the Author
Tim Kendall has taught at the universities of Oxford, Newcastle, and Bristol before becoming Professor and Head of English at the University of Exeter. His publications include Modern English War Poetry (OUP, 2006), and The Oxford Handbook of British and Irish War Poetry (ed.) (OUP, 2007), and he is writing the VSI on War Poetry (forthcoming, 2014). He is also co-editor of the Complete Literary Works of Ivor Gurney, (forthcoming, OUP).
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Top Customer Reviews
This is because, as Kendall states in the introduction, he has concentrated on the "most important" poets who come within his remit of "poetry related to the War by poets from Britain and Ireland who lived through part or all of it". ("Most important", of course, is a judgement open to debate, but we'll come to that later.) This is almost the polar opposite of the approach taken by Vivien Noakes's "Voices of Silence" anthology, which concentrated on lesser-known voices to give a wider overview of the response to the war than might emerge from the well-known Sassoon-Owen-Rosenberg axis. Nonetheless the two have some principles in common. Noakes's anthology included several women; Kendall's prioritising of poetic quality does not, commendably, lead him to ignore, as some anthologists have done, the contribution of female poets who did after all live through the war as much as men did (indeed sometimes serving as nurses at the front) and whose take on it is both equally relevant and, in several cases, badly underrated by critics.
The real difference between the two seems to me that Noakes is primarily interested in what poetry of the time reveals about people's experience of, and response to, the war, while Kendall is more concerned with what effect the war had on English poetry.Read more ›
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)
There are a number of reasons:
1. Tim Kendall provides an illuminating introduction, biographical information on each poet and excellent notes on the poems themselves, which are presented in authoritative versions. Without being overwhelming and academic the notes really help explain some of the references that might be lost on today's reader.
2. All the major poets are well represented but there are less known women and civilian poets included as well.
3. Some other anthologies only include poems written during the war. This one goes further , finding space for some moving post-war reflections by Edmund Blunden and others.
4. There are some wonderfully poignant music hall song lyrics as well.
Our A level set text was 'Up the Line to Death' - which for many years has been the go-to anthology for the subject. It is a very thorough and well-structured but this new collection rivals it - and, to my mind, surpasses it.
It is more selective in the verse presented - with many lesser-known writers getting some welcome attention. This is particularly the case for the female poets who were very often overlooked at this time.
I particularly enjoyed the section of popular songs (a good number of which will be familiar to anyone who knows 'Oh What a Lovely War') but what really sets this apart is the excellent biographically essays that accompany the poems.
This really is a book that anyone with an interest in poetry of the early 20th Century should own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The collection is extremely well chosen and the commentary both scholarly and full of of interest. This book was the perfect choice for a recent trip to the Somme Battlefield. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mr J.R.Chappelow
That so much sadness, melancholia, hope for better times, despair, humour, regret - can come out of the horror of war drives home what a terrible mistake it is to think that the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by bal of balham
I missed the First World poets at school and have often thought about filling in the gaps. This book was a great way of doing exactly that, featuring all the names I associated... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Supertzar
This book of First World War poetry reminds us, in a way that no other medium could, what a searing and life-changing cataclysm WW1 was for all those involved, both on the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Basement Cat
This collection of WW1 poetry features work from a range of people - from well-known poets and soldiers like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, to civilian and female poets. Read morePublished 16 months ago by AR
Tim Kendall's 2013 Poetry of the First World War is certainly a useful anthology, but more as an introductory volume rather than for those more well versed in its subject. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Trevor Willsmer
I found the anthology interesting (I'd not heard of many of the poems) and incredibly moving giving a very vivid image of the war. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ren
This is a splendid anthology of poetry and lyric born of the experience of war: the selection covers those who participated as soldiers, officers and enlisted men, those who... Read morePublished 16 months ago by J.K. Currie
Timed no doubt to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 this is an excellent collection of World War One poetry. Read morePublished 16 months ago by hiljean