Poem Sampler

World War I Poets

From Apollinaire to Rilke, and from Brooke to Sassoon: a sampling of war poets

World War I Poets
Detail from pencil drawing self-portrait by Isaac Rosenberg

 

To commemorate the centennial of World War I, we present a selection of poets who served as soldiers, medical staff, journalists, or volunteers. 

Some poets glorified the cause patriotically—trumpeting the older, traditional notions of duty and honor, while mourning the millions of dead. Meanwhile, many younger soldier-poets shirked the platitudes and flowery language of the past and infused their work with war’s gruesome realities to strip modern war of its old-fashioned glory.

Our list—sorted by country, then alphabetically—is not comprehensive, but it serves as a starting point for readers interested in exploring the Great War from many perspectives. We'll be adding more poets to this list periodically. Also be sure to take a look at our new sampler of the Poetry of World War I.

 

Originally Published: August 1, 2014

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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