Few people alive today had direct experience of the First World War, and yet it seems embedded in the collective consciousness of the combatant nations as a warning to future generations of the futility of military conflict. Our awareness of the terror, loneliness and desperate hope endured by the men who fought this war we owe to the quality of the art that came out of it, not least the poetry. Despite the passage of time, its ability to move and inspire us remains undimmed, as this superb new compilation richly demonstrates.
Selected from the work of soldiers killed in action – starting with Rupert Brooke in 1915 and ending with the tragic loss of Wilfred Owen seven days before the Armistice – the poems capture a broad range of emotions, contemplations and states of mind, ranging from anthems about the brutality of war to wistful evocations of home and loved ones left behind.
This collection showcases some of the best poetry to emerge from the conflict and stands as a worthy memorial to the collective talent and sacrifice of those who gave their lives.