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Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, and more


Writing War Poetry

Some of the classic war poems from the past contains some of the most moving imagery in the history of literature. To write war poetry, you don't need to be have experienced war in the flesh, but you do need to write with compassion and have an empathic feeling for war's victims.

The Emotional Aspect of Writing War Poetry

Writing poetry about war can obviously be an emotional business, so prepare to rein yourself in when you write. War, unfortunately, is still everywhere in the world, and a poet can't fail to be moved by some of the images on the news, in newspapers and on the net, and also by detailed descriptions of hardship by some of war's survivors on the radio.

When writing about war it can be surprising as regards to what can move an individual. It can be something quite simple. A town or city could have been heavily bombed in a war, and a famous building could remain untouched. Just that one building could be seen as a symbolic message of hope, and a good poet will soon pick up on powerful images such as this.

War poetry normally, along with love poetry, sees the writing of poetry at its most emotional, but sometimes it can be a paradox. On the one hand, there can be a tribute to the brave fallen, but on the other hand there can be a rapier taken to the sheer stupidity of war and all the misery it causes. War poetry can be judgmental and attack just war, or a particular atrocity, but it's subject matter can be quite complex.

The Power of War Poetry

Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier' are two classic examples of war poetry to study. They are fairly simple and moving, and describe what happens and what can happen to victims of war, specifically soldiers. Both young men were killed in World War One, which obviously gives these two poems a special poignancy.

The power of poetry is never more redolent than with war poetry. A poem can be immensely powerful on the subject of war and can move people on some occasions more than a moving image or still photograph. A strong sense of humanity is required to write war poetry successfully, and there are still many wars worldwide which can provoke a response from a sensitive poet. The poet should really be seeing war from a slightly different perspective to the media, and seeing war more on an emotional level.

Copyright © Paul Rance/ War Poetry Books

Search : The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (Penguin Classics)
The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (Penguin Classics)
by: Various contributors
October 26, 2006
Search : The War Poets: A Selection of World War I Poetry (2nd Edition)
The War Poets: A Selection of World War I Poetry (2nd Edition)
by: Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Thomas, Isaac Rosenberg, Ivor Gurney, Wilfred Owen
July 14, 2014 War Poetry Books

The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry
Jon Silkin; Paperback
World War One British Poets : Brooke, Owen, Sassoon, Rosenberg and Others
Candace Ward; Paperback
The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon; Paperback
The English Poets of the First World War
John Lehmann; Hardcover
Not Without Glory: Poets of the Second World War
Vernon Scannell; Textbook Binding
Poets of World War II (The American Poets Project, 2)
Harvey Shapiro; Hardcover

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