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By: Anouk de Laferrere, Juana Zufriategui, Bianca Ieraci &
War poetry is a literary genre originated during war time when hundreds
of soldiers, and also civilians caught up in conflict, started to write poetry
as a way of striving to express extreme emotion at the very edge of
experience. This type of poetry is almost “anti-war”, however it include the
very large questions of life as: identity, innocence, humanity, compassion,
guilt, loyalty, desire and death. This poems have a relation of immediate
personal experience to moments of national and international crisis what
gives war poetry an extra-literary importance. Later on, the work of a
handful of these writers became a “sacred national text”.
What is war poetry?
Name some war poets and famous poems.
Rupert brooke was an english poet who studied in
the university of cambridge and Between his
graduation in 1909 and the start of World War I in
1914, Brooke spent most of his time writing and
traveling. His poetry during this period, still
emphasized the themes of love and nature. Brooke
found happiness in Tahiti, but he decided to return
to England in 1914. Within a few months of his return,
World War I began. Brooke volunteered for service
in the war and He joined the Royal Navy Volunteer
Reserve; the group's first destination was Antwerp,
Belgium. The lull in fighting turned into a fruitful
period for Brooke, for it was then that he produced
his best-known poetry, the group of five war sonnets
titled "Nineteen Fourteen”. these sonnets express
the hopeful idealism and enthusiasm with which
Britain entered the war
McCrae was a canadian poet, soldier and physician
who was Born in Guelph, Ontario. As a physician, he
worked at Toronto General Hospital, Johns Hopkins
Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Infectious
Diseases and many others. He served in the Boer War
in South Africa as an artillery subaltern in the
Canadian Contingent from 1899 to 1900, was
promoted to the rank of major in 1904, and reenlisted
in the First Canadian Contingent soon after the start of
McCrae’s well-known poem “In Flanders Fields”
memorializes the April 1915 battle in Belgium’s Ypres
salient. For 17 days, McCrae tended those injured in
the battle and wrote the poem after the death of a
André Breton was born in 1896 in France. He
studied medicine and psychiatry, displaying a
special interest in mental illness. Though he
never qualified as a psychoanalyst, he worked
in neurological wards in Nantes during World
War I. In 1916, Breton joined a Dadaist group in
Paris. By 1919, when he co-founded the review
Littérature with Louis Aragon and Philippe
Soupault, his ideas had started to diverge with
He wrote L’Amour Fou (Mad Love, 1937,
poetry), which attempts to eliminate, in writing,
the boundary between dreaming and waking
Joyce Kilmer was a journalist and a poet born
in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886. He is
Known for his poetry that celebrated the
common beauty of the natural world as well as
his religious faith. After graduating from
Rutgers College and Columbia University,
Kilmer served as the literary editor for the
religious newspaper The Churchman, and
later, was on staff at the New York Times. he
was killed after enlisting in the United States
Army during World War I.
Best known for his poem “Trees,” published in
1914, Kilmer enlisted in the New York National
Guard in 1917 when the United States entered
World War I.
Soldiers are usually dressed with a uniform that is used at battlefields. This
pattern is similar in most countries, using the typical forest or pixel
camouflage, although the color of camouflage and other elements vary
according to the geography in which a country would use its soldiers.
Leaving aside the superficial, I think that what the soldiers of all the
countries share at poems are the feelings. Adrenaline, fear, sadness and
impotence could be good adjectives that are used in this war poems and
don't vary depending on the nationality of the soldiers. Also they are
portrayed as heroes for the people because of their courage.
How are soldiers typically portrayed? Is there a common theme which
unites the various countries? What do these representations tell us
about the society which produced such an image?
What was the role played by women in war times?
By the 18th century, the role of women was accompanied armies assigned
combat missions, usually they have roles such as cooking and laundry.
Also, women worked in munitions factories and Nursing became a major
role starting in the middle 19th century. The main role in World War I was
employment in munitions factories, farming, and other roles to replace men
drafted for the army. Finally, women played an important role in making the
system of food rationing work and they have also been recognized for their
medical services to wounded soldiers since Clara Barton nursed soldiers
during the Civil War.
What are the roles which children
played in wartime propaganda”
Why were children “essential
victims” in the war?
The roles that children played in
ww1 were to work in ammunition
factories, work in Farms to provide
food for the soldiers in the front
and scouting, that gave them a
little military instruction. In wartime
propaganda they were used to
victimize themselves and
demoralize the enemy.
They were essential victims of war
because they suffered the loss of
their parents, the loss of their
house caused by the bombings
and the loss of their friends or
relatives who thought on the war.
What is the typical
message/imagery in war poems?
The typical messages in war poems
are of the destructions that cause
them, families lose loved ones,
houses, etc; Your daily routines are
forced to change drastically.
Another of the typical messages is
that there should not be wars again
or that the same mistakes that
occurred at the time of the outbreak
of the conflict are not committed.
What are Sassoon‘s views of the war, of the soldier, and of death created
in his poems?
In Sassoon's early years as a poet, he passionately referred to the
patriotism of fighting for his country in the War against the Central Powers.
He eagerly enlisted himself as a trooper in 1915. However, wasn't it after
one of his brothers’ death and living the experience of such obscene
images for two years, that his viewpoint underwent a complete shift. In his
posterior poems of 1917, it can be clearly seen a development of hatred
towards War itself. He adapted a more satiric style, expressing his extreme
criticism towards war as a suicidal decision, which stupidized soldiers,
leading them to the development of a vice to fight, triggered by their
patriotism towards their homeland.
Some literary historians have argued that of the war poets, Wilfred Owen is the better poet. Do
you agree or disagree, and why?
I do agree regarding to the fact that Wilfred Owen was one of the greatest poets dedicated to the
poetry that the atrocious experiences of World War One aroused in the trenches. Among his most
famous pieces is Dulce et Decorum Est. However, not only was Owen who vividly expressed the
feelings of war by also did non-combatants, including women, and civilians, among others who may
not have fought in the Western Front but it Eastern Europe, Turkey or India. Wilfred Owen’s pieces
can be aligned to Rupert Brooke's magnificent writing as well as with Siegfried Sassoon's satire
representations of war. Equally can the poems of women be compared to him. Texts expressing their
difficulties in a harder job at industries and their terror of losing their loved ones at any moment. Even
civilians, who did not technically participate from the physical fighting, but struggled against the
Each and one of these war poet's ought to receive immeasurable merit, for they wrote, exceptionally,
how World War One could be lived in several ways and places.
What value does poetry have for the history of war? Can poetry be used to examine the nature
of the war experience, and if so, how? Are there other sources which are “better” for the study
of war, and if so what/why?
Half of the historians devoted to the analyzation of the First World War concur that war poetry from
that period of time (1914-1918) is useless for the understanding of war as a definite subject. On the
contrary, war poets give the possibility to go further into the experience of war from the very point of
view of the ones who saw it by providing deep descriptions of certain situations that cannot be
studied by only the examination of events. War poetry allows the reader to meet with the
extraordinary intensity of the situation that each of the writers underwent. Poets make use of
specific language that attempts to transmit the raw, natural reality that is almost impossible to
capture. Their pieces may become representative figures/symbols of war that not necessarily match
with every war experience. Nevertheless, it surely does not distort the understanding of the combat.
Moreover, war poetry complements the studying of events, facts and sources of the First World War
with the feelings and emotions of the soldiers, civilians and women during that period and how each
of them had a different experience Hence, providing a full comprehension of war as a whole.