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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 15 January 2011
The title of the book refers to real and imagined meetings of poets of the First World War and is taken from Wilfrid Owen`s poem of the same name. By using the device of the meetings the author has been able to create a narrative which combines history with imagination with literary insight and,perhaps most importantly, raise questions about the poetry itself. I`ve been a reader of poetry of this period for many years and it was rewarding to sometimes put a new perspective on some of the work.
In the first chapter a meeting is described between two poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke. From here on the influence, for good or bad, of Rupert Brooke is established. Time and again poets are seen to position themselves consciously or unconsciously to Brooke`s poetry or to the man himself. Early on Vera Brittain wrote to Roland Leighton `Somehow I feel that Rupert Brooke must have been rather like you`. Then the author makes the perceptive insight about Vera Brittain and Roland Leighton`s relationship that they used books as the `touchstone of authentic feelings and thought`. The idea that amongst such horror such feelings could exist makes the observation so much more poignant.
I was particularly pleased to see that Ivor Gurney was given due consideratio. Too often this poet`s work is overlooked.
For anyone interested in this period, whether it be historical or poetic, I think the book should be read. For anyone who has never read any poetry from this period it might well be worth a read and act as a spur to reading the actual poems themselves.
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