from The Water's Edge

TWE Remembers: World War I Poetry

World War I Cemetery Soldier

July 31, 2014

World War I Cemetery Soldier
Blog Post
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I think that I shall never see / A poem as lovely as a tree.” Most Americans know the opening lines of the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. What they probably don’t know is that Kilmer was a war hero—the French government awarded him the Croix de Guerre for bravery—or that he was killed by a German sniper at the Second Battle of the Marne on July 30, 1918. Sadly, Kilmer was far from the only accomplished poet to die while serving during the Great War. Rupert Brooke, John McCrae, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Charles Sorely, and Edward Thomas were among the poets who did not live to see the war’s end.

World War I was in some ways the poet’s war. Not only did many poets, and especially British poets, sign up to fight, they wrote prolifically about what they saw and felt on the battlefield. As good as histories and novels are in helping us understand the Great War, they may not match the emotional power of war poetry. Here is a sampling of World War I poems worth reading:

More on:

Wars and Conflict

Austria

Europe and Eurasia

Germany

Serbia

Not all of the significant poems about World War I were written by men who fought it in. Here are four that weren’t:

Have I missed any of your favorites? Please mention them in the comments below.

For more suggested resources on World War I, check out the other posts in this series:

More on:

Wars and Conflict

Austria

Europe and Eurasia

Germany

Serbia

World War I on the World Wide Web

World War I Histories

World War I Novels

Top Ten World War I Films

 

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