War Poetry

Dublin Core


War Poetry


Poetry of the First World War


During the First World War, writers responded to this international upheaval. While early war poetry lauded values such as bravery, courage, and patriotism, later war poetry dealt with the horrors of war and its lasting impact. This collection reflects later war poetry, though it includes some earlier war poems as well.





Collection Items

The Hydra: Magazine of Craiglockhart War Hospital, December 1917
The Hydra was launched in April 1917 and stopped publication in 1918, serving as a hospital magazine for the soldiers at Craiglockhart Hospital. Wilfred Owen served as one of its editors, while Siegfried Sassoon's poems "Break of Day" and "Base…

Song of the Mud
Published in Current Opinion in 1917, Mary Borden wrote of her experiences as a woman at war in her poem "The Song of the Mud." Throughout the poem, Borden enumerates the various qualities of mud, an environmental threat on the battlefield of war,…

The Rear-Guard
In April 1917, Sassoon’s company with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers supported a French assault on the supposedly secure German defenses, known as the Hindenburg Line. His 1917 poem “The Rear-Guard (Hindenburg Line, April, 1917)” is based upon this…

Strange Meeting
Wilfred Owen’s poem portrays two speakers meeting in “some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped / Through granites which titanic wars had groined” (2-3). This granite tunnel is the aftermath of titanic wars, an image which reflects afterlife as…

Repression of War Experience
In his poem "Repression of War Experience," Siegfried Sassoon uses a metaphor of moths, who "blunder in," only to "scorch their wings with glory, liquid flame," like soldiers who believed that they would prove themselves heroes through war. Like…

As a private on the front lines of the Western Front, Rosenberg was injured before he was reassigned to a works battalion. This experience is reflected in his poem “Dead Man’s Dump,” which is written from the point of view of a soldier going out on a…

Break of Day in the Trenches
This draft of Break of Day In the Trenches was typed and set by Annie Rosenberg, possibly in June, while Isaac Rosenberg created the written annotations, likely in July.
Rosenberg’s earlier poetry betrays his Romantic influences. In “Break of Day…
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