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Poets of World War I book cover
Poets of World War I, by Rupert Smith.

Pockets Full of Poetry: War Poets

The poetry of war might have a variety of focuses, including the idealization of war, the effects of war on civilians, and of course the struggle of the combatants, as well as the effects soldiers undergo due to their time in a war zone. Check out Richland Library's selection of poetry that deal with war, most of which are from the numerous conflicts that took place in the 20th century. There are also some articles and websites linked below if you would like to learn more about the poetry of war.

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
by Wilfred Owen
Celebrate National Poetry Month at Richland Library this April. Scattered around the Main Library you’ll find “pockets” filled with poems for you to take and share with others. You can also try your hand at writing your own poems with our magnetic poetry boards. Get creative and discover you inner poet!

Amazon Says: As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, more...
Amazon Says: As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade. The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today. With New York Times bestselling editor Chris Duffy (Nursery Rhyme Comics, Fairy Tale Comics) at the helm, Above the Dreamless Dead is a moving and illuminating tribute to those who fought and died in World War I. Twenty poems are interpreted in comics form by twenty of today's leading cartoonists, including Eddie Campbell, Kevin Huizenga, George Pratt, and many others. less...
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Amazon Says: The First World War produced an extraordinary flowering of poetic talent. Its poets mark the conflict in ways that are both intensely personal and as enduring as any monument. more...
Amazon Says: The First World War produced an extraordinary flowering of poetic talent. Its poets mark the conflict in ways that are both intensely personal and as enduring as any monument. Their lines have come to express the feelings of a nation about the horrors and consequences of war. This new anthology provides a definitive record of the achievements of the Great War poets and offers a fresh assessment of the work on the centenary of the Great War's outbreak. Focusing on the poets themselves, the book is organized by writer, not theme or chronology. It offers generous selections from the celebrated soldier-poets, including Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke, whilst also incorporating less well-known writing by civilian and women poets. It also includes two previously unpublished poems by Ivor Gurney. A general introduction charts the history of the war poets' reception and challenges prevailing myths about the war poets' progress from idealism to bitterness. The work of each poet is prefaced with a biographical account that sets the poems in their historical context. Although the War has now passed out of living memory, its haunting of our language and culture has not been exorcised. Its poetry survives because it continues to speak to and about us. less...
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Amazon Says: For the first time, in one volume, the rich canon of American war poems, from "Yankee Doodle" to Robert Creeley's "Ground Zero." This unique, comprehensive anthology ga more...
Amazon Says: For the first time, in one volume, the rich canon of American war poems, from "Yankee Doodle" to Robert Creeley's "Ground Zero." This unique, comprehensive anthology gathers together more than two hundred poems about the American experience of warnarratives, meditations, elegies, lamentations, odes, tributes, and battle hymnsmany of them classics. Written by soldier-poets as well as poets on the home front, they are deeply personal, reflecting love of country, sacrifice, tragedy, glory, and sometimes disillusionment or dissent. Arranged chronologically, virtually every conflict is included: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Indian War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, September 11, and the present war in Iraq. Among the 140 poets are Longfellow, Wheatley, Dunbar, Bryant, Emerson, Thoreau, Crane, Dickinson, Melville, Whitman, Whittier, Masters, Bogan, Lindsay, Cummings, Eliot, Frost, Lowell, Pound, Sandburg, Bishop, Hughes, Levertov, Stevens, Williams, Bly, Creeley, Ginsberg, Harper, Paley, Rich, Warren, Komunyakaa, Weigl, and Collins. A major historical, cultural, and literary volume, Old Glory speaks from the depth of time as well as from the immediacy of our own moment. less...
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Amazon Says: In times of war and national calamity—writes Jon Stallworthy in his illuminating survey of the lives and work of twelve celebrated war poets—large numbers of people seldom more...
Amazon Says: In times of war and national calamity—writes Jon Stallworthy in his illuminating survey of the lives and work of twelve celebrated war poets—large numbers of people seldom seen in church or bookshop will turn for consolation and inspiration to religion and poetry. Never more so than in World War I did the poignant poetry of hundreds of young men scarred by battle reach so large and eager an audience. Among the most famous and memorable of these youthful voices were those of the strikingly handsome, golden-haired, nobly patriotic Rupert Brooke, dead at twenty-eight; the serious-minded, poignantly truthful Wilfred Owen, who was shot down, at twenty-five; and the defiant Siegfried Sassoon whose gallantry in the Somme Offensive earned him the Military Cross and nickname Mad Jack. Profiled in this volume, too, and illustrated throughout with photographs of the action they saw and manuscripts of the poems they wrote are Edmund Blunden, whose work is haunted by the war until his death in 1974; Isaac Rosenberg, the painter who captured the absurdity and horror of war in words; along with Julian Grenfell, Edward Thomas, Charles Hamilton Sorley, Frances Ledwidge, Ivor Gurney, David Jones, and Robert Graves. With access to the archives of the Imperial War Museum and its wide collection of rare color and black-and-white photographs, this volume beautifully combines art, poetry, biography, and the tragic, noble, bleak, and confounding experience that was the Great War. less...
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Amazon Says: This anthology brings together 120 poems about World War II by sixty-two American poets, chosen, as editor Harvey Shapiro writes in his introduction, “with a purpose: to dem more...
Amazon Says: This anthology brings together 120 poems about World War II by sixty-two American poets, chosen, as editor Harvey Shapiro writes in his introduction, “with a purpose: to demonstrate that the American poets of this war produced a body of work that has not yet been recognized for its clean and powerful eloquence.” The poets are generally unsentimental, ironic, and often astonished by what they have experienced, and their insights still have the power to shake up our perceptions of that war and of war in general.   Most of the poets included in the volume served in the armed forces; some—Louis Simpson, Anthony Hecht, Kenneth Koch—saw combat in the infantry, while others—James Dickey, Howard Nemerov, Richard Hugo, John Ciardi—fought in the air. Also included: poets who experienced the war as civilians, including Robinson Jeffers, Marianne Moore, and Conrad Aiken; poems by conscientious objectors and draft resisters, including William Stafford and Robert Lowell; and an elegy by James Tate for his father, who was killed in action when Tate was an infant. less...
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Amazon Says: Including the classics of the genre as well as rare period pieces by African Americans and women, and northern and southern patriotic verse and songs, The Columbia Book of Civ more...
Amazon Says: Including the classics of the genre as well as rare period pieces by African Americans and women, and northern and southern patriotic verse and songs, The Columbia Book of Civil War Poetry paints the background of the conflict and its literature in Richard Marius's renowned prose, with each poem introduced by a compelling vignette. What emerges is an unparalleled pageant of the war in all its power and sentimentality; the anger of its participants and their yearning for peace. less...
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Amazon Says: Presenting 250 selections, the author has arranged the poems chronologically by conflict to produce a literary history of warfare as seen by the most eloquent observers of its more...
Amazon Says: Presenting 250 selections, the author has arranged the poems chronologically by conflict to produce a literary history of warfare as seen by the most eloquent observers of its effects, and consequences less...
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Amazon Says: “The very content of Owen’s poems was, and still is, pertinent to the feelings of young men facing death and the terrors of war.” ―The New York Times Book Review Wilfr more...
Amazon Says: “The very content of Owen’s poems was, and still is, pertinent to the feelings of young men facing death and the terrors of war.” ―The New York Times Book Review Wilfred Owen was twenty-two when he enlisted in the Artists’ Rifle Corps during World War I. By the time Owen was killed at the age of 25 at the Battle of Sambre, he had written what are considered the most important British poems of WWI. This definitive edition is based on manuscripts of Owen’s papers in the British Museum and other archives. less...
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Amazon Says: One of the oldest extant works of Western literature, the Iliad is a timeless epic poem of great warriors trapped between their own heroic pride and the arbitrary, often vici more...
Amazon Says: One of the oldest extant works of Western literature, the Iliad is a timeless epic poem of great warriors trapped between their own heroic pride and the arbitrary, often vicious decisions of fate and the gods. Renowned scholar and acclaimed translator Peter Green captures the Iliad in all its surging thunder for a new generation of readers. Featuring an enticingly personal introduction, a detailed synopsis of each book, a wide-ranging glossary, and explanatory notes for the few puzzling in-text items, the book also includes a select bibliography for those who want to learn more about Homer and the Greek epic. This landmark translation—specifically designed, like the oral original, to be read aloud—will soon be required reading for every student of Greek antiquity, and the great traditions of history and literature to which it gave birth. less...
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Amazon Says: Provocative and sobering, this collection of poems reflects the timeless nature of courage and barbarity in war, full of raw emotion that paints a vivid new picture of war and more...
Amazon Says: Provocative and sobering, this collection of poems reflects the timeless nature of courage and barbarity in war, full of raw emotion that paints a vivid new picture of war and conflict. less...
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Native Guard: Poems by Natasha Trethewey
Amazon Says: Through elegiac verse that honors her mother and tells of her own fraught childhood, Natasha Trethewey confronts the racial legacy of her native Deep South -- where one of the more...
Amazon Says: Through elegiac verse that honors her mother and tells of her own fraught childhood, Natasha Trethewey confronts the racial legacy of her native Deep South -- where one of the first black regiments, the Louisiana Native Guards, was called into service during the Civil War. Trethewey's resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history. less...
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