WW1 Poetry as a Genre?

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last week! I have been writing blogs however my internet connection on holiday down south wasn’t letting me upload things *shakes fist* – so unfortunately you’ll probably now get quite a few blogs over this weekend!! Lets begin with discussing whether WW1 poetry is it’s own genre!

To discuss whether WW1 poetry is a genre in itself is very difficult, and would mean that we’d have to compare the techniques with all genres to check that it doesn’t fit in any other genre. Now I don’t have time to do such a thing amongst reading books for next year and such, and thus the easiest way to determine the likelihood of WW1 poetry being a genre is to compare it with other war poetry. A poetic genre is a category of poems that share stylistic devices and techniques! To save the trouble of you guys reading large blocks of text (and to make this more imaginative and exciting!) I’ve compiled a list below of the themes, attitudes and techniques of WW1 poetry compared to war poetry before WW1. I’ve chosen not to compare WW1 poetry with poems from after WW1 for two reasons:

1) The change in attitudes to war (i.e. soldiers are heroes and war is something to be ashamed of) pretty much stay the same!

2) The range of poetry is so diverse it was hard to find a good example to represent them all!

I’ve chosen to compare Wilfred Owen’s WW1 poetry to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Barrack-Room Ballads’ from the late 1800s.

 Genre

As we can see the techniques and attitudes are very different from before and after WW1, however most war poetry after WW1 has the same attitude and similar techniques to the poetry from WW1 (despite changes over the years due to styles of writing changing!) – so I would say that WW1 poetry is a transitional genre of war poetry that has educated and inspired future war poets on what war is like.

Thanks for reading!

 Jack!

 

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Comparing war poems from different eras

VennPoems

I found this a really useful way to compare and contrast poems centred around different conflicts and wars!

Thanks for reading,

Jack

“Over the Top”

Twisted smoke from enemy lines fights through the sky like wire,

Unlike the wisps of smoke from chimneys in our pleasant land.

Knee deep in the mud of the trenches we prepare to fight and fire.

At home we plough and reap and the harvest fills our hands.

At home and here our flesh is soiled with the earth’s wet mud,

Yet here our hands and flesh are also caked in blood.

 

Men keep watch of No-Man’s Land, over the broken earth,

The land almost looking like the ploughed soil of the farm.

However here they scour and aim for movement of such worth

To waste a single bullet and hope out of it comes harm.

“Over the top”, that fateful command that the general cries,

And out of the trenches come the Tommies, the infantry arise.

 

The guns fire and blaze and bullets condemn another soul

The shells send soil flying and flailing limbs fall flat.

Bodies entwine together, thrown into roughly dug holes

And in the trenches blood pumps round bodies entering combat.

Is this what life has come to, the rapid progression of man?

These piles of men are sacrifices for several feet of land.

 

One of our tasks in English over the summer was to write a war poem and this is the result!

Thanks for reading and feedback is appreciated!

Jack