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The War Poems

The War Poems Sassoon who lived through World War One and who died in was as the introduction to this book tells us irritated in his later years at always being thought of as a war poet Understandable perh

  • Title: The War Poems
  • Author: Siegfried Sassoon
  • ISBN: 9780571202652
  • Page: 438
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sassoon, who lived through World War One and who died in 1967, was, as the introduction to this book tells us, irritated in his later years at always being thought of as a war poet Understandable perhaps from the point of view of the poet readers on the other hand might wish to demur The poems gathered here and chronologically ordered, thereby tracing the course of thSassoon, who lived through World War One and who died in 1967, was, as the introduction to this book tells us, irritated in his later years at always being thought of as a war poet Understandable perhaps from the point of view of the poet readers on the other hand might wish to demur The poems gathered here and chronologically ordered, thereby tracing the course of the war, are an extraordinary testimony to the almost unimaginable experiences of a combatant in that bitter conflict Moving from the patriotic optimism of the first few poems fighting for our freedom, we are free to the anguish and anger of the later work where hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists Flounders in mud , there comes a point when the reality of trench warfare and its aftershocks move beyond comprehension Sassoon knows this, and it becomes a powerful element in his art As a book, the images have a cumulative relentlessness that make it almost impossible to read than a few poems in one sitting Unlike the avant garde experiments developing in Europe in the first decades of this century, Sassoon s verse is formally conservative but this was perhaps necessary, for as one reads the poems, one feels that the form, the classically inflected tropes, the metre and rhyme, apart from ironising the rhetoric of glory and battle were necessary techniques for containing the emotion and indeed, a tone of barely controlled irony may have been the only means by which these angry observations would have been considered publishable at the time When Sassoon s line begins to fragment, as it does in several of the later poems, it is under the extreme pressure to express the inexpressible Compassion and sympathy are omnipresent here, in their full etymological sense of suffering with or alongside others something the higher echelons of command those old men who died Slow, natural deaths old men with ugly souls were never able or willing to contemplate But Sassoon intuited the future of warfare, could sense that this was not the war to end all wars the mock religious invocation of the final poem prefigures the vicious euphemisms of recent conflicts Grant us the power to prove, by poison gases, The needlessness of shedding human blood Sassoon s bile black irony signals a deep felt pessimism it was with good reason Burhan Tufail

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    1 thought on “The War Poems

    1. As noted in my Wilfred Owen review – I am by no means a great poetry reader*: and as such, not best placed to provide a review of a collection of poetry. We were force fed the War Poets of the Great War whilst at school – a process which was both counter-productive and alienating (from the poems). Only now have I felt able to revisit these poets with a clear, open and comparatively unsullied mind.Sassoon is forever defined by his poems of the Great War and as a ’War Poet’ due to his lite [...]

    2. This letter, "A Soldier's Declaration," explains why Siegfried Sassoon is a great poet of WWI, and it contains all of why I love him. Enjoy.I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defense and liberation, has now become a war of aggress [...]

    3. Sassoon knew both Graves and Owen. These poems written during, or after, the Great War are at once dark, forbidding, cynical, and beautiful. Some poems are addressed to men Sassoon knew, such as Graves; while others address those who stay at home - from women, to the old men, to the boycotts. Some are addressed to the nameless dead. If you are interested in the Great War, you should add this to your reading list.

    4. I almost forgot about this book. Until a discussion here made me remind my favourite poem from this collection (Suicide In the Trenches). So today I spent about an hour (!) trying to find the book in one of the boxes underneath my bed (yes, I have to keep boxes full of books there). After finally finding it, I thought I'd read one or two poems but I couldn't stop.Siegfried Sassoon lived from 1886 until 1967 which means he personally witnessed both World Wars. After some pretty casual years livin [...]


    6. gutenberg/ebooks/45199As we mark the centeniary of the beginning of WW1, a war that I refuse to call 'Great, I shall dip into some Sassoon over the next four years even though I have marked it 'read'.ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an eminent English poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches, [...]

    7. I really enjoyed this collection. No surprise here. Sassoon is one of the most widely read poets of the 20th century. Here he uses direct rhyme schemes in a modernist style. I found a 1/3 of the poems to be quite beautiful and image provoking. The only drawback is that he rarely uses anything other than direct rhyming conventions. A lot of Sassoon's poems here ooze resentment both towards British families back home with little understanding of the horrors of the war and towards an establishment [...]

    8. Sassoon is a surgeon of a poet. He can cut out your heart in ten lines. He should have lived in the twitter era. If anyone could make 140 characters sting or sing it would be Sassoon.He sucks you in with banality (the happy young soldier, the troops marching past a general) and then smacks you with a harsh reality (happy soldier commits suicide, the general gets these jovial troops slaughtered). Or he does the opposite when he describes a heart broken man mourning his brother's loss and then end [...]

    9. I saved this up specially for Anzac Day, as a the-personal-is-political gesture. I mean no disrespect to those who have fought in wars for the New Zealand government (I hesitate to say 'for New Zealand' here) and to those who lost friends and family to the war, but there's a maudlin sentimentality to the way we approach the two Word Wars in this country that makes my gut churn.I think this is only going to get worse as we approach the 100th anniversary of the First World War. If I was in charge [...]

    10. "You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops “retire”
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpse [...]

    11. Sassoon's poetry has long been a favorite of mine. He ably captures the horrific experiences of a WWI soldier. "Dreamers" was a new poem for me; I kept returning to this brief glimpse of soldiers lined up, ready to battle. These soldiers aren't noble fighting machines; they are just ordinary guys dreaming of the mundane simplicities of life.Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,Drawing no dividend from time's tomorrows.In the great hour of destiny they stand,Each with his feuds, and jealous [...]

    12. Loved it - Sassoon is surgical in the precision with which he characterises human feelings and emotions, the futility of the war, its blind cruelty, and how in the end soldiers keep fighting because of the loyalty they feel to their companions also thrown in what is perceived quite clearly as a senseless butchery.There are so many verses to quote, so many striking poems that the only thing which makes sense is to read them all - however I found the one below incredibly prescient, and think it sh [...]

    13. This was in insight into a world so foreign to me and that was the reason I read it all. I am just not a poetry person but found it insteresting in regards to the subject.

    14. I feel a little guilty rating this 3 stars when I consider where and when these poems were written. They are beautiful, and I enjoyed them. In particular, I enjoyed 'Suicide in Trenches', 'Base Details', 'Does It Matter?', 'Survivors', 'The Tombstone-Maker', 'Repression of War Experience' and 'The Hawthorn Tree'.

    15. AMAZING. ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS EVER. Seigfried Sassoon is da man for poems. His collection was a true eye-opener into how it was like in the trenches and the feeling of despair that was constantly in the air. His writing was beautiful and powerful yet simple and easy to read and follow along. Reading his work is like drinking metaphorical liquid gems.Currently re-reading this. My teacher saw me with the book and asked why I read it when it was so depressing (and apparently they make J1 stude [...]

    16. "The Redeemer"Darkness: the rain sluiced down; the mire was deep;It was past twelve on a mid-winter night,When peaceful folk in beds lay snug asleep;There, with much work to do before the light,We lugged our clay-sucked boots as best we mightAlong the trench; sometimes a bullet sang,And droning shells burst with a hollow bang;We were soaked, chilled and wretched, every one;Darkness; the distant wink of a huge gun.I turned in the black ditch, loathing the storm;A rocket fizzed and burned with bla [...]

    17. Because the first World War began 100 years ago this year, I decided to pull out my (boxed) copy of a first edition of Siegried Sassoon's War Poems (London: William Heinemann, 1919) which I had never read. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. I don't know much about World War I, but reading Sassoon's poetry of the war gave me a chilling "experience" of something of what it must have been like. Clearly, he is angry (at the "old men" who send boys out to die) and his poems are full of anguish and bitterness. They [...]

    18. Sassoon is one of those names one remembers because it sounds vaguely funny. When first introduced to him, probably in high school, I recall there being a joke about a bassoon. Still we knew he wasn't a really great poet becausewell because he didn't sound like more than a relative to a hairdresser.Then again his portrayal of war, and that is all we knew of him at the time, was disturbing. He described war in such stark detail that one could feel the rumble, smell the death and decay and wonder [...]

    19. I saw this on a stand in Foyles when I was christmas shopping last year, the main reason I picked it up was because I'm a sucker for these Faber poetry editions. I had always thought that Sassoon's poems would be too formal and stuffy for me, after reading a couple I decided - yeah they are formal, but they are certainly not stuffy, and I bought it there and then which is not something I often do - well done Foyles. It's not just the anger that I find so exciting about these poems, it's the thou [...]

    20. I am always reticent to write about poetry as technical knowledge of the craft never found its way into my education. So I will stick to the simple understanding of this collection. The work represents a cross section of Sassoon's stark and vivid poems from the beginning of the First World War to its end.The first collection of poems detail the characters and terrible sights he saw as an officer in Belgium and France. The soldiers after awhile transcend class and rank and come across simply as m [...]

    21. Siegfried Sassoon was so much more than the work he is best remembered for even though that work, this collection of near genius poetry, is the sort most aspiring poets would love to claim as theirs. The Great War, the war to end all wars, was one of the most singularly stupid wars my country ever fought. It was a war that destroyed an empire so perhaps that is a positive but it also laid waste to a nations prosperity but worse than that a generation of men: English, Welsh, Scott 19s, Irish, Fre [...]

    22. I have very little knowledge of what makes good poetry, and very little experience reading it, so I will keep this brief.Sassoon is to the point, with minimal vagueness or room for ambiguous interpretation. While I could imagine a more seasoned poetry reader could find this dull, it made it a perfectly accessible volume for me to start reading poetry.One can see Sassoon evolving over the years, both in writing style and in his views on the war. That, perhaps more than the individual poems, gives [...]

    23. It struck me how Siegfried Sassoon always uses the right closing sentences. These make his poems great. They leave you with something to think about. "and when the war is done and youth stone deathI'd toddle safely home and die- in bed." (Base details)"I thought, 'How cheery the brave troops would beif Sergeant-Majors thaught Theosophy!' " (Supreme Sacrifice)"Yesd the war won't end for at least two years;but we've got stacks of menI'm blind with tears,Staring in the dark. Cheero!I wish they'd ki [...]

    24. I don't know how he does it, we are worlds apart in just about every respect but his poetry (and his prose) speaks to me like few others. Auden is often described as a lazy poet, famed for his first lines. Sassoon is the opposite, he writes highly accessible verse and then concludes with a two line stanza that eviscerates the reader. His time spent in Craiglockhart gave us not just an outpouring of poetry from him but also helped Wilfred Owen to mature into one of the most memorable of the War p [...]

    25. Aware of the courage and strength of character of Siegfried Sassoon, after reading Pat Barker's excellent Regeneration, I wanted to undertake a more comprehensive reading of his work. Several of his poems stood out as raw and emotional depictions of the horror of the war, yet I felt a need to gather a more complete picture of Sassoon. Such an influential writer I wanted to know more and, hopefully, hear the voices of those who went to war.Supplementing poetry that I read 5 or 6 years ago on the [...]

    26. I've never been very interested in reading war novels and have never read any war poetry. I've had this book as part of a collection I bought five or so years ago but hadn't picked it up. I sat in the corner booth of the bar in my neighborhood and read the poems for an hour and a half. Sassoon's poetry depicts his evolution from an idealistic young army recruit in WWI to a disillusioned veteran. In an early poem he writes, "War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise/And, fighting for our freed [...]

    27. I wish someone could write something that would affect people on the Iraq war like this affected people during WWI. Although I don't like Sasson's poetry as much as Wilfred Owen (Owen is less literary and more gut-punching)the focus in these poems comes down hard on the war. They are not difficult to read as much poetry is because they are not trying to do anything but let people know what experiencing the war was really like. Sassoon did write other poetry as well as these war poems.

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