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Modern English War Poetry$
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Tim Kendall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562022.001.0001

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The Vision of Keith Douglas

The Vision of Keith Douglas

(p.146) 8 The Vision of Keith Douglas
Modern English War Poetry

Tim Kendall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the war poetry of Keith Douglas. Like the Great War poets before him, Douglas — an Alamein veteran — derived an authority from his experiences which led him to dismiss the work of poets back in England. He informed fellow poet J. C. Hall: ‘[Your poetry] is getting too involved and precious, chiefly because you now find yourself in a backwater and have nothing to write about that is relevant. The same applied to me in pre-Alamein days.’ Douglas repeated the charge in his essay ‘Poets in This War’, sardonically complaining that poets currently springing up ‘among the horrors of War Time Oxford…are technically quite competent but have no experiences worth writing of’.

Keywords:   war poetry, Keith Douglas, Great War, English poets

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